“I want to change this thing about myself.” I say things like that, maybe you too? We want to change beliefs, behaviors, or attitudes. We “work” on ourselves, we read books, talk to smart friends and therapists, and we get better. But then, it’s still kinds there.
So is there something about the process of change that we’re missing?
I’m in the middle of an intense Yoga Teacher Training. When I signed up I worried about getting hurt—would my body be able to handle it? Would I have enough endurance and flexibility? Well, guess what? It’s not about the body. The center piece and challenge in this Yoga Teacher Program is about being willing to change, and willing to learn.
Here are two things I have learned about change in the past few weeks:
One: Change is betrayal. Yes, betrayal. To make changes in your life you have to betray habits. We are loyal to our habits whether they are physical or mental or emotional, and to make deep, lasting change means we have to betray ourselves, and betray our habits. That’s part of the charge and what gets stirred up when we get close to real change. Now, I can say, “I am willing to betray my habits, to make new ones.”
Two: Here is a metaphor for transformation. If you put paper near a fire the paper will get really hot. But if you put paper directly in a fire it will be transformed. Most of us, when we are attempting an important change, get near the fire, but we don’t get the fire, and then we wonder why we are not transformed. Most of us miss the last 5% of commitment. So we have to go all the way into the change.
Chew on these along with the things you most want to change: your thinking, your diet, beliefs about yourself, your work. And then betray your habits and roll right into that fire.
Read more about recovery and change in my book: "Out of the Woods-A Guide to Long-term Recovery" published by Central Recovery Press