Day 12 – Finding the Courage to Change
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
To make hope effective in bringing change in our life, we need to take action. But taking action can feel threatening and scary because it stirs up all our fears and anxieties of what that change might bring. In today’s meditation, we learn that the key to releasing these fears and anxieties is bringing self-awareness to them and then consciously recognizing that they no longer help or serve your present reality. As you reclaim the present moment, you are free to act in accord with your deepest motivations, and that is where your courage is.
Welcome to Day 12 – Finding the Courage to Change. It’s human nature to fear change. What I’ve learned from many thought-leaders is that connecting to hope and finding the courage to make change comes down to overcoming the fear of letting go. For me the true meaning of courage is to be afraid and then, with your knees knocking and your heart racing sometimes, step out anyway. Of course that’s not easy, I know that, but taking a leap is often the most powerful way to truly advance toward the grandest vision that the Universe, the Creator, your existence, has for you.
I’ve made two major leaps in my life. The first was in 1983 when I left Baltimore to come to Chicago. I remember the general manager of the TV station I was leaving said to me at the time, “You are going to fall into a landmine you won’t be able to get yourself out.” Then he said, “Right now you’re a big fish in a little pond and my advice for you is, ‘You stay here’.” I said to him, “Well, sir, I’m gonna leave. And if I’m walking into a landmine when I go to Chicago, God will catch me.”
The next big leap for me was creating the O Network. There were challenges that tested my very core. I’d wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and my heart would be pounding. Often I was faced with circumstances that seemed overwhelming. So I went back to the source that has sustained me. My heart told me to get still and to listen.
The message that came back to me was when I learned so many years ago on the Oprah Show was that everyone wants to be seen and validated. So I made a shift in the storytelling on OWN. We focused on reflecting OWN’s viewers back to them with stories that let them see themselves with depth and with pride. I directed my energies to a place of hope and in turn the network began to move forward in the flow that we are in now.
I took some of my own advice. So when I look back I’m grateful I had the hope and the courage to take those leaps in spite of the challenges and the fear. So get still and ask yourself what changes do you need to make to move forward. What’s really keeping you from the life you want and deserve? Deepak is going to guide us toward the courage to change.
For many people change is threatening. They may want a more fulfilling job, relationship or lifestyle, but moving into the unknown is scary. That’s when merely hoping for change is ineffective because it postpones taking the actual steps forward that hope can support. One way or another we are all caught between wanting change and fearing what the unknown might bring. But as we know the only constant in life is change. Clinging to the old and familiar doesn’t stop change; it just keeps you stuck. If change is inevitable, defending against it is futile.
The real question is how to guide change, to create the best outcome without anxiety. Holding onto the past is what prevents us from accepting change. The wounds and traumas of the past cling in memory. The most self-defeating ones are unconscious habits, conditioning, beliefs and traumas that sank in so deep they became part of our everyday self.
To release the grip of the past we must first be aware because you cannot change what you aren’t aware of. Self-awareness means that you consciously witness something from your past that has become ingrained. Without judgment you say, “I no longer need this. I’m a different person now.” The noticing comes first. If you find yourself reacting negatively to any person or situation, stop and look inside. Is this reaction of anxiety, anger, worry, distaste or distress, something you’ve seen before? Are you saying and doing things that keep repeating themselves in a regular pattern?
This is the past coming up to claim the present. When you say inside, “I no longer need this,” you’re reclaiming the present moment. You don’t need to force a new response. Instead let this moment of self-awareness sink in. Be quiet and easy with yourself. By noticing and being aware without judgment you give your mind permission to do what it wants to do which is to settle down into a baseline open, quiet, non-judgmental awareness.
By preferring to remain in the core of your being you release the past and its imprints. Then change happens as part of the flow of life, without threat or anxiety.
Hope tells me anything can be transformed.
Om Hoom Namah
My awareness is aligned with the transformative power of the universe.
Where does all this fear come from? As a wee tot experiencing pain brought upon fear. Touching that hot iron created a feeling that was so not pleasant. Physical pain. Being ridiculed on the playground hurt in a different and emotional way. Was I stupid? Was I different? Was I less than? That kind of pain cuts to the core and is carried internally until we learn how to let it go. Some of us, unfortunately, carry it around forever.
Now that my kids are grown up and have experienced pain of their own, I wish I would have spent the quality time with them reinforcing how special they really are. As a mother I, of course, tried to prevent them from experiencing physical pain. But I did not strengthen them for the emotional pain that they would certainly experience in “the real world.”
Now that I am older (and, hopefully, wiser) and have had the opportunity to take time to contemplate fear and its effects, I realize that a bit of positive reinforcement given not just to our kids but anyone who enters our bubble can change any “real life” situation. By reassuring my kids how special they really are and how they each hold very special gifts of their own could have helped them when confronted by that bully. Having explained that the bully has issues of his own and may be coming from sadness, confusion, or abuse could have put a whole new light on that situation. Teaching them The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, would have helped tremendously (but I hadn’t read it yet) but even, more importantly, taking the quality time to communicate our feelings would have been the key factor.
For me realizing that I lived a fear-based life didn’t come to fruition until I started working the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous with my sponsor. Working those Twelve Steps with a sponsor didn’t come until I got into Alcoholics Anonymous. Getting into Alcoholics Anonymous didn’t come until I was so sick and tired of having to drink every single day. Having to. No choice. My mind made me drink every single day. The allergy my body suffered made my drink every single day. No ifs, ands, or buts. Not drinking was not an option. Thus hiding, lying, extreme usage of energy to keep my behavior under wraps, wore me down. I had no more energy. I experienced incomprehensible demoralization. I was a loser. I had no self-control. I was a waste of space on this planet with no purpose.
By the grace of God (to me, a Higher Power of my own understanding) I finally surrendered. I was taught that alcoholism is a disease and that there is a solution. By taking my own inventory in Step Four of A.A. and sharing it with my sponsor, the fog lifted!!! I discovered what makes Dee tick! Fear. What a weight off my shoulders! Now the work begins to unlearn everything and every experience I ever encountered in the last four decades of my life that made me fear-based.
Believing that there is a Power greater than myself out there somewhere is the key to my new life, my new outlook on life, my new me. Turning my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him has lifted the heavy burden of everything off my shoulders. Being ready and asking my God to remove my fears is the journey I am on today…the journey to living a hope-filled and faith-filled life.
I no longer have to be seen and validated to impress you and reassure myself that I am worthy. Today I know that if I do and am the best I can, that is enough. I AM enough. And I want you to know that, feel that, love that about yourself too. YOU matter. YOU are worthy. YOU have gifts that no one else on this earth has. Run with those gifts! Share those gifts! Love your gifts! Don’t live in fear of change. Live in faith that all is perfect right now at this very moment…especially you and your life!
If you are not an alcoholic like me, know that they are many awesome support groups in your neighborhood understandingly ready to help you out of the fog. It’s so worth it. You’re so worth it!
For those interested in motivational and inspirational gifts, please visit my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com. Mahalo and have an awesome day!
From Oprah Winfrey & Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Challenge “Hope in Uncertain Times”.