Change is hard. things we already know feel easy. change not only requires more effort than that, the effort is into the unknown. even when the goal is known, the gap between here and there feels too damned hard. and who knows, fate might just blow it into our lap if we sit here long enough.
The truth is, change is the most natural thing in the world, even if uncomfortable sometimes. Everything is changing. it actually takes us a LOT of effort and energy to habituate things and try to make them consistent and repeatable. Mastery is good, but mastery is broader than efficient repeating of something shown to work before. Trying to do all the right things in all the right order, or keep the tried and true as the active way of handling <everything/anything> – these things expend a lot of energy.
Life is going to change in thousands of ways, and even any of our current habits may un-intentionally or intentionally shift, and all of nature works that way, so that’s the good news: life is unfolding. we influence all of it, we control none of it (try as we may).
How do we weild our influence to grow in what we care about and contribute to the wholeness of all? Well, some bits are obvious: work on ourselves first. And noticing what is creating a sense of “i’d prefer it if I <insert complaint or aspiration here>” in the world our just in our own mind. What is the underlying value that represents? Security? Wholeness? Ease? There are lots of wonderful things we’d very much like to feel. Whatever we want to change, we want it so that we can live that value. Sounds noble.
Meditation teachers will rightly suggest tapping into the sense of that value already being complete within you. Soaking in that energetic field of “it is done.” It’s a nice exercise, and the more you do it the happier you’ll be. Will your dreams come true? What’s true? In those moments, they *are* true. Seriously, go soak in that field.
But habits – we have to contend with the literally hundreds of habits that make up our days and lives. Some of them are awesome. Some are neutral. Some might be killing us. Most of them are just automatic. Some of them need to change.
Noticing is the first step. Noticing that you even want it to change is such a huge part of the process.
Noticing when you engage in the behaviour is also a big step. typically this happens hours later at first. but eventually you notice it in the moment it is happening, and not long after that you can begin to exercise choice, even if a limited percentage of the time. That’s fine. It’ll grow. It’s a process. Rush will not help. As Eric Klein at Wisdom Heart says (and probably plenty before him, I don’t know) this all happens “at the pace of integration.” There’s no control in integration – it’s naturally a state of rest, of activity becoming rest. That which was outside and new becoming inside and known. Curiosity to Comfort.
Right now, the habit may feel like there’s no choice. that’s how it has to happen. OK. Now we look for things we can add to it or take away from it that change the game. If the macro-level doesn’t allow choice, the micro-level must (and usually will lead to the macro choice as well. because there is always choice, we just resist it).
Noticing moments of choice and recognizing them as moments of choice, even if you still act in the habitual manner, is a huge step. Don’t be mad at yourself for making the wrong choice! We have directional progress here of a magnitude that’s hard to describe, but some people gve up because they failed the first few times they were tested. Noticing choice points is HUGE.
The next step is to remember that value you identified earlier during the moment of choice. Asking the question at that recognized moment of choice “towards what end?” When you remember what you value, you get some gravity towards the choice that will support it. Physical support, for real. When, at that moment of noticing, you can connect with the value you want to feel, and you listen to your physical response – it’s practically a yellow brick road. The end is sure.