A Starting Point For Change

Running Away from Home - Photo by Laura Corebello

Running Away from Home – Photo by Laura Corebello

“She had discovered early that what we want out of life can change; that the important thing is to learn to recognize or even simply just to admit what we really want, and then to have the courage to reach for it.” 
~ Candice Proctor, Whispers of Heaven

“The question is: how bad do things have to get before you will do something about it? Where is your line in the sand?”
~ Michael Badnarik

 

Today, under this Traveller’s Moon, is a good time to get clear on our starting place for change.

Understand this. You don’t need to know yet where you are headed. You just need to know what it is you really need to leave behind.

You need to get clear about what you DON’T WANT.

This isn’t a list of dislikes. It’s not an agenda of complaints.

Today I want you to spend some time and be totally honest with yourself. Based on all of your life experiences so far, and on a foundation of your values and integrity, what is it that you just can’t do, won’t do, don’t ever want?

Your starting place for change is to simply recognise the energies and styles of relationships that you are no longer prepared to accept in your life.

Think of it as drawing a line in the sand so that the Universe knows where you are at, and so that you can use this as a measuring stick for future situations, choices and relationships.

Image from Papa's Job

Image from Papa’s Job

It might not be a very long list. That’s okay. What’s most important is that you feel it in your heart and know it to be true for you.

 

Here are some examples:

I will never accept a cheating partner again.

I can’t work in a place where I am bullied.

Working twelve hour days for someone else – that’s over!

Never spending time in nature? I can’t do that anymore.

Image by Alegri

Image by Alegri

Once you have that list, turn your back and put those things behind you.

With what you don’t want behind you, you’ll have a starting place and a clear direction forward, even if you don’t know exactly where you’re headed next.

Knowing what we don’t want is ALWAYS the starting point of working out what we DO want.

Bless ♥ Nicole xx

Image from bohemiabowmans

Image from bohemiabowmans

 

Simplicity is a choice…

Life is not complicated, only that we make it so.

♥ Nicole Cody

Yesterday, on my facebook page, someone told me that they longed for more simplicity in their lives. How could they make it so, they asked.

That’s a valid question given that we are surrounded, even bombarded, by media telling us we need this, we have to have that. To be successful our lives need to look a certain way, and we need to be able to measure up to certain expectations. Perhaps that is why shopping has become the number one pastime in so many countries.  And, of course, in order to have those things we need to work harder, and longer. We rack up more debt. We lose our freedom bit by bit, without realising what is happening.

I realised this after living in Palau. My life shrank down to one suitcase, an old but large hotel room, a smaller budget. Access to a car, but needing to go most places on foot. That smaller space, with few possessions was a major readjustment, but I soon found myself happier, freer, and filled with creativity. When I came home to Australia I walked around my house wondering how I had accumulated so much stuff.  There was so much to pay for, so much to keep clean, and I used so little of it!

Simplicity, like happiness, is a choice.

On first appearances that might seem unfair, or even impossible.  But think about where you are now.  Every single choice you made, every decision you took, led you to where you are.

And even if life has forced certain circumstances upon you (Global Financial Crisis, unemployment, illness) you still have power, because you still have the ability to choose your thoughts and actions.

If you’re in a place of complete overwhelm, I suggest you start here – with a post I wrote recently on burn out, how to recognise it and what to do about it.

Reverse Engineering

You could also try a process of reverse engineering.  This is where you pull something apart to figure out how it was made, so that you can copy or rebuild it, or even modify it. We need to reverse engineer your life, so that you can work out where to begin making changes.

Start with these questions:

  1. What is my daily routine?  Do this for each day of the week.  If there is no routine, just write down how much time you spend on the key areas in your life each day for one week by observing yourself honestly and recoding your actions.  It will average out. You can also do this for your partner or children too.
  2. What are my financial commitments? This is a biggie and some people have never taken the time to work this out. If you’re one of them I know it can be scary and confronting, but if you don’t have a true picture of where you are, you won’t be able to make sound decisions about where you go next.
  3. Look over your answers.  This is the critical part.  Is there time left over at the end of each week?  Is there money left over at the end of each week?Spare time is vital for a feeling of well-being, and for having adequate coping mechanisms for life. Being too tightly pinched for money generates great stress, which has a huge negative impact on health, relationships and energy levels.

Life is precious. It’s worth making changes to give you a more satisfying life. From experience I’ve learned that most stuff doesn’t make you happy. Certain stuff can make life easier and more pleasurable though.  Maybe you need a good computer, or a comfy arm chair, or a nice teacup, or a great holiday adventure. But what about the rest of your life?  How much of what you own do you actually use?

Can you get by with smaller, fewer or none at all? Are you giving time and energy to what really matters in your life. Maybe it’s time to actively simplify your life, bit by bit. Downsize, divest, say no to extra demands upon your time and energy. Look to places, jobs and people that support a more fulfilling lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be five-star to be enjoyable! Change doesn’t have to happen all at once, but when you have a plan it is far easier to create a new reality.

 

All change requires effort, but change is possible. In the end, imagine the choices and relationships in your life. Imagine removing them.  Is there a sense of loss or panic, or a sense of relief?  Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

The Broken Robot Repair Shop

There is an alarming trend I’m seeing, of broken people wanting to be fixed so that they can keep doing the things that broke them.

I call it Broken Robot Syndrome – people so busy, so stretched, so weighed down by debt and responsibility and complexity that they are deep in fatigue, immersed in exhaustion, and no longer capable of recognising that they have become robots.

Does any of the following definition apply to you?

Definition of ROBOT (from the Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

  1. a : a machine that looks like a human being and performs various complex acts (as walking or talking) of a human being; also : a similar but fictional machine whose lack of capacity for human emotions is often emphasized    b : an efficient insensitive person who functions automatically
  2. : a device that automatically performs complicated often repetitive tasks
  3. : a mechanism guided by automatic controls

Lack of sleep exhausts us. Having a too-busy schedule with no down time, play time or rest time fatigues us. The combination of the two breaks us.

There are warning signs of being in that robotic place:

  • Lack of libido.  Libido is about joy of life, not just sexual drive. But the two go hand in hand.
  • Creative and original thought dries up. We struggle to be innovative and to come up with fresh ideas.  At worst we think through a fog.
  • Health decline. Vague symptoms of weariness, sleep issues, digestive issues, aches and pains that gradually build into definable illnesses and burnout.
  • Inability to make even simple decisions. Suddenly a menu with 50 choices and a need to pick something satisfying becomes an event capable of reducing you to tears because you no longer recognise what you want, let alone what you need.
  • Everything is scheduled. Everything.
  • Tired all the time, and doing the usual things – coffee, sugar, pick-me-ups, naturopath, gym, diet, counselling – make not a jot of difference.
  • Overwhelm, depression and negativity are regular companions.

So, what to do?

First of all, understand that fixing a broken robot so that they can keep functioning as a robot is really not a suitable solution for a human.

Here are some tools from the Robot Repair First Aid Kit that might work for you:

  1. Get more sleep.  Go to bed earlier.  Create days where you can have sleep-in catch ups, or lie in bed all day reading, resting and relaxing.
  2. Simplify. Cut back on your activities, responsibilities and involvements, and make sure that the kids don’t get caught up in the vicious cycle of over-achievement and over-commitment either.
  3. Get help for the things that are stressing you. When we go to bed worried and wake up worried, and are kept up nights by worry then something has to give. If your worries involve money see what you can do to cut down the debt mountain – speak to your lending organisations or the places you owe and get an easier ‘hardship’ repayment scheme. Sell something. Downsize. Simplify. Put your hand up and ask for help. Make sure that your household are all committed to the same plan.
  4. If your worries involve relationships, get some time on your own, even if this is just a cup of coffee at the local cafe. Use that time to think about where you are, how you got there, and what your next move is. Staying in a relationship that is unloving, unsupportive, or where there are serious issues can be enough to bring any sane person to their knees. Find a good counsellor to help you work through your options. If you’re a carer, find a support group.  If you already know what you need to do, then act.  Staying and not doing or saying anything, hoping for change, has seldom proved to be a winning strategy. Only action brings change.
  5. Ask yourself the big question, “Does this relationship/job/choice/decision honour me?” Maybe it’s time to change jobs, move house, stop studying, start studying, have the conversation…
  6. Know that wherever you’ve ended up, it can change.  There is a road ahead of you to lead you back to yourself and to a place of content and security.

Here are some things to help Robots turn back into humans:

  • Time with friends
  • Time alone
  • Time in nature – walking, surfing, cloud busting, playing with pets in the backyard, gardening
  • Time for yourself and your own interests
  • Sleep
  • Relaxation time with NO expectations, goals or objectives
  • Music
  • Making art
  • Good food and good company
  • Emotional connection
  • Hugs
  • Spiritual connection, meditation, prayer or other practices that help you connect to your inner wisdom and to a Higher power.
  • Movement – not going to the gym because you have to – walking in the rain because it’s fun, dancing in the lounge room in your pyjamas because you love the music, playing with the kids or the dogs in some silly run-around game that makes everybody laugh

Life is short.  Life is precious.  When you become a Robot you miss everything good. Don’t fix yourself up to keep doing the thing that broke you. Allow 2012 to be the year where you create real, lasting and positive change.  Bless xx