Everything’s changing, not only in my life but across the world. If I’m being honest with myself, I used to resist change not because the potential result was wrong, but because it threatened to push me out of my comfortable routine. What I’ve learned, however, is that change also forces me to use gifts and resources that, in a comfortable environment, sit idly by in the ‘I shoulds’ pile.
Sometimes I need a kick in the arse from the universe.
But just because I’ve learned to accept, even embrace, change doesn’t always make it easier. In fact, I think you can measure the importance of your need to change in some area of your life by its degree of difficulty. Of potential discomfort. The harder the change you feel called to make, the more worthwhile – even necessary – it likely is.
As I’ve become a student of change I’ve noticed those who fail to change usually don’t go in understanding that it’s a process. Their expectations are high but their patience is low, so when they don’t get the reward in the time frame they had in mind they give up, comforted by the false rationalization that ‘it just didn’t work’. Once you do understand that change is a process, however, it becomes much more manageable.
For example, during my own attempts of change, I inevitably experience a point of victory where I’ve really made progress, but then somehow return to my old state. That stop-and-retreat, whether immediate or gradual, is probably driven by fear, the avoidance of the origins which is part of our natural survival wiring. Your brain is always working in the background to protect you, but protection is not always to your benefit.
That’s why it is critical to be vigilant of this false victory from the very start: know that this juncture is coming – it is your crossroads – look for it. Be alert and expect this exact moment in your process of change; as soon as you recognize it, you must act immediately to snuff it and keep moving. It is insidious, and even the slightest deferral of immediate action will set you on the path backward.
Recognize it, and decidedly move past it. Again and again…and again if need be, until you’re all the way through to the new.
After noodling around for a few years I’ve recently become a more intentional student of guitar, and find the saying of Tomo Fujita regarding learning to be particularly apt here as well: “Don’t worry. Don’t compare. Don’t expect too fast. Be kind to yourself.” I mention that because Tomo’s a great teacher and, more importantly, I think our expectations for change must be tempered and patient – and I like the way Tomo says it.
Finally, here’s a quick poem about that moment of tension, when you simultaneously glimpse the new, yet feel the pull of the old.
As always, hopefully, it will help someone. Cheers!
_ _ _ _ _ _ _
Do Not Go Back
Don’t crawl back in
To that skin you’ve shed
Beyond its size
Have you forgotten
That mad’ning itch,
‘Til caps fell from
Remember you were ready,
Your outer flesh so taut,
Near claustrophobic terror
As escape from then you sought.
That long discomfort signaled Change,
Yearned birth for something new,
‘Twas not a dalliant wish or want
But need to fulfill You
And so you’re here in gravid now
Old dermis finally shed
Yet still Routine tries pull you back
To animate what’s dead
Choose deafness when Nostalgia’s tale
Of better past You hear;
That Siren’s song to Death-Bed Rocks
Of Regret that All Fear
To Live This Now
As you did Then
When Life Felt
Throw Dirt Upon
Corpse of your Past
And Rise From
Your Own Pit
Do not look back Orphean fool!
You’ll lose your progress fast
This time trust Hades at his word,
Eyes forward from the past!
Move Resolute into the new
Old tethers Break, you’ll see!
Those shackles you forged for yourself
Will only mem’ry be!
© 2022 Larry Mannino