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September 16, 2009

Reflections...

I believe our world is a projection of ourselves. We see what we choose to see; hear what we choose to hear; believe what we choose to believe; but in the end, everything we perceive is simply a reflection of who we really are. If we don't like ourselves, we can't expect anyone else to like us either. However, if we don't like what we see, we have the ability to make it change. But how?

Well, a quick search of the Internet and bookstores will provide us with a zillion ways to afford change and leave us utterly confused as to which one is right! I have spent many hours reading books, websites and emails only to be left feeling change seems to be very complicated and somewhat mysterious. Now, many moons later, I realise change is not complicated...but that it does have an element of mystery to it. Why? Because the more we TRY to change, the less likely we are to succeed.

Allow me to share a personal experience, something people asking this heartfelt question may find helpful, informative or maybe thought provoking.

Some years ago, I reached a point where I decided there was a ton of stuff about me I needed to change in order to improve my life - simplistic, I know, but that's how it was - and I was incredibly motivated to make these changes. However, it wasn't long before I realised I just didn't know where to begin. My shovel wasn't big enough and I wasn't fast enough...as fast as I cleared out one pile of rubbish, another took its place! The whole task was exhausting, emotional and, at times, soul-destroying.

Eventually, the inevitable question "Just how will all this affect me?" came along which, in turn, sparked one of my thoroughly enjoyable self-conversations! At some point during this self-conversation, I realised it had gone completely off track (as conversations often do) and I was now talking to myself about movies and film stars and heart-throbs and so on and so on. For some reason, a line from the film Dirty Dancing popped into my head which goes, "Ask not what your waiter can do for you...but what you can do for your waiter." and I was ranting to myself about how pompous that line was when - *PING* - a penny dropped.

Trying to explain how that line led to a new thought regarding my original topic of self-conversation is nigh-on impossible - I have a mind that runs so fast I struggle to keep up with the stream of thoughts let alone the chance to analyse them - but I've learned to trust it will present me with something interesting once it has completed its spaghetti marathon...in other words, I just go with the flow! The end result of this particular mental eruption was a clever change of one word in the question I began with which, when replaced with a word of similar meaning, created a whole different question. Intriguing, eh?

What my unruly, unconventional and unfettered thoughts came up with was to change the word 'AFFECT' to 'EFFECT' so "How will this AFFECT me?" became "What EFFECT can I have on this?"

Here are the common definitions for these two words:
AFFECT (verb) to influence
EFFECT (noun) the result of something being influenced

Such a small change - such a HUGE change!

Once I grasped the concept of this, I realised just how powerful a simple thing can be - and that change doesn't always require huge amounts of energy or dedication; it doesn't always require great discomfort or suffering; nor does it require a massive loan or bulging bank account! Change is like life - something that happens <em>when we're not wrapped up in the distraction of 'looking for it...'

When I started focussing on LIFE and the effect I could have on LIFE instead of focussing on ME and how life affected ME, incredible things began to happen. Over the last 3 years, the changes have been tiny but the ripples have extended for miles; just changing my viewpoint from 'inward' to 'outward' created changes in my life I could never have achieved in an entire lifetime by TRYING (even if I'd had giants shovels and 20 pairs of arms!) but the real magic is the effect this tiny change has had on other people, too.

No, this is not a 'quick-fix'; no, the results won't come overnight; no, others probably won't notice anything ("When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."); but of all the investments I have made over the years to improve my life, the only one that has always proved successful is TIME!

To gain control you must first let go. Once you can truly do that, control can be yours...though you may find you no longer need it!

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