Dare to Change: If Change Is Warranted.

"Dare to change.  All true things must change, and only that which changes remains true." --Nietzsche

I was mindful a while today and learned my theme for this portion of the day was change.  Synchronicity reinforced it with as excellent an article on the topic as you could ever hope to come across in your e-mail.  I will link to it at the end of this post.   Do you think I want you scampering off and not reading my blog post, which I promise to work my best to write?

It started I think with a collage I made for my son Eric who turned 21 yesterday.  I had had the idea several weeks back that I would like to make him a collage, and include lots of his sterling positive traits. I think he needs to work on building self-esteem.  (The whole thing may have backfired when he told me after receiving it that having someone work to build your ego up gives you low self-esteem.  I knew what he was saying.)

But I wasn't aware of this bit of psychology yet, and spent his birthday afternoon making this tribute collage, and serendipity was my friend because the dumb stick-on letters didn't include enough vowels,  so I ended up cutting the positive qualities out of  magazines (I recommend O for plenty of warm fuzzy and descriptive qualities).  He is currently exploring reflexology and I found "body wise" which I thought apt. I also discovered:   lures butterflies, genius for sensitivity, sheer genius, supernova. forgiving, fresh (in big colorful letters), not your average joe, edgy and peppery and sweet (which if you knew him you would agree fits).  

My adult attention deficit disorder negative traits had me leave a huge mess scattered all over the living room floor of cuttings, gluey paper towels, ripped up magazines, family photos and rejected magazine pages.  Eric had just cleared a path in that space the previous day and happened to mention that.  I set about picking up my mess without resentment, although as a disorganized, lazy, chaos dweller who lives with incomplete tasks as a rule, I still found it a boring and rude time-waster.

Then I needed a new box for my family photos because the old one had fallen apart.  I looked and looked but there was no recourse but to empty one of the many filled boxes  stashed with paper clutter still collecting dust and pop cans from weeks ago.  That's when I gave my bedroom to my son and moved all my crap out in less than two hours by shoveling it into boxes.  Naturally, since I am the uncontested Queen of Chaos and Disorder, the box could have been labeled "Miscellaneous Mystery Paper Clutter--Some Vitally Important, Some Sheer Paper Clutter Junk--Gathered Anywhere From Ages 12 through 60."  

So, leaving a small unsorted pile of clutter papers, I decided I had had enough and it was time to go play on the computer. But something nagged at me. I was leaving another mess just as large and scandalous for Eric to forage his way over as before. I decided I needed to journal and have a cup of coffee, and then for sure I'd go back to it. Odds on that by those who know me well were about 20/80 because, as some of you know, everything that happens under the sun is apparently under the 20/80 rule, also known as the Pareto principle, aka the law of the vital few, aka the principle of factor sparsity. This rule states, quite brazenly and without discernible cause if you ask me, that for many events about 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. Some carny huckster invented the rule of science, I'm betting on it. It is pure shuck and jive.  (Freelance writers learn some weird-ass stuff.)

I got my coffee and started to do some of the stack of new journaling exercises I had found.   The first one was titled, "What I really need in my life now is more..."

It didn't say it was a journaling exercise, but it sure worked well as one. I don't make New Year's resolutions.  I used to always break them so I don't trust them.  Besides if I see "Quit Smoking" on that list one more year, I may just take up smoking hash every day all day to spite myself.

I do set goals. I have also written down a sort of outcomes wanted list and sealed it in an envelope with the date on it.   Then I tossed it in the bottom drawer of my desk. What do you know but when I opened that sucker a year or so later most of those intentions have been fulfilled into real actions and accomplishments by osmosis or some other psychic phenomenon I can't pretend to understand--maybe maybe the 80/20 rule, because, come to think of it, about 80 percent were fait accompli. I tried this no effort method for several years, and every year I could check off nearly all (except 20 percent) of the intended desires for change or action.

In case you want to do this in the home audience, here are some of the words:


Now I hope you did more than circle them. Write notes to yourself as to exactly what you need to change and how to get more of it into your life.

I'll tell you a few of mine. This is when I began to realize change was in the wind as surely as if the winter solstice and lunar eclipse had both phoned me of their arrivals and departures, and the rest of the world quitting smoking, going on a fad diet, and trying to cut down on drinking, which never works.

I could see I really needed to make some changes. My idea of a day's structure was to sleep and sit at computer. That's it:  Two daily activities unless you count bathroom trips.  As far as my joy register goes, I haven't experienced that kindly friend since I lost my solitude when Eric moved in.  I truly am meant to be a loner, but I try.  I realized I lost not just solitude but, in my mind a host of things that go with it--contemplation, harmony, opportunities (I didn't write any more, I didn't blog). My accomplishments were down to ashes in the cold fireplace.  My nutrition was an apple fritter a day chased down with chocolate covered Oreos, and  I recommend you stay away from those cookies if you, too, have an addictive nature. Worse, I had stopped going on the "Artist's Dates" recommended by Julia Cameron in several of her books on creativity, especially
(BTW, you can get a used copy of this book that doesn't add "spiritual practice" onto the title for less than four bucks in paperback copies, but this is a very nice book.)

 Julia recommends that to stay fresh, writers, painters, dancers--all artists--need to take themselves off by themselves on what she calls artist's dates. (They can be free or low cost so don't use money as an excuse not to do it.)  They are basically field trips to get you away from the computer,  blowtorch or what have you, and have you get out and be alone with get inspired,  and remember exactly who you are,  and how you view things.  When is the last time you saw something beautiful, captivating or exquisite up close and personal?

Make a list of places to visit/things to do that  you always meant to get around to,  but never quite made it or haven't in a long time. Or go on an adventure and let your wild spirit lead you to tour an unknown, interesting boho or ethnic neighborhood. Be really unfettered and alive and dine at an ethnic restaurant where the food from that particular country is something you've never tasted before, they don't use silverware,  or speak any English, nor have anything on the menu translated so you don't know if you're eating hippopotamus testicles or snake stomachs. Catch yourself by surprise by doing something uncharacteristic like going cosmic bowling. Go on a one-day spiritual retreat. Attend a lecture on something your intrigued with,  but know nothing about except for one article you once saw in Utne Reader.   Go to a book signing by an author you've never read because you like the cover and the brief quotes on the back.    Be very brave, brave as jumping out of a plane, and go tryout for a local theater production.  That should get you started.

So I now know a few things I have to change. I have to make room for solitude, and stop pretending that just because someone else lives here I can't be caught praying, meditating, contemplating, doing my daily spiritual reading, writing daily (my novel would a good place to start), blogging daily, getting out and taking a walk, and for crying out loud,  find something to do besides sleep and sit at the computer all day.  And I have to go back and pick up the messes I make without being begged to do it.  I changed. 

Okay, now here's a great article on change written by Phillip Moffitt.  
The author has studied Raja Meditation since 1972 and Vipassana Meditation since 1983.  The article gives the three questions you need to ask yourself before making a change.  Very mindful stuff.  It also gives the Buddha's  five qualities or spiritual faculties that can be a great help in making changes.


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