A Forever Change

I receive daily emails from several sources that focus on self development, further education and spiritual growth. Some I read religiously. Others I only check out if the excerpt sounds interesting. Many titles begin with promises of renewal and change. Others list a certain number of steps or items for success in whatever they are promising, should you follow them. I know that there are many ways of changing one’s self to achieve greater success and achievement in as many aspects of our lives. But I feel that many of these articles fail in mentioning one important point: in order to take on a “better version of yourself”, you must also be willing to let go of the old version.

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Most of us lead very busy and full lives. We’re working, looking after our children and families, doing household chores, all of which keep us alive, though not always living a life we would like to live. It’s easy to fall under the spell of ‘Three Ways to Simplify Your Day’, or ‘Finding Peace and Contentment in the Fury’. We pick and choose what is offered and try some of these suggestions in our lives. However, a month or so later we’re back doing things the old way because these suggestions just wouldn’t work in our lives. Or so we think.

I have learned over the past years that if I wish to move forward in my life, I have to let go of the old: there just isn’t room for the newer version of ‘Tim’ if the old one is still around. It’s easy to say but not easy to do. You see, I kind of like the old version. I am used to it. I know how I react to things. I know that it takes time to get used to new stuff but I am too entrenched in the old self to really give the 2.0 version of me a chance. As a result I tell myself that this ‘didn’t work’, or it’s ‘not for me.’ But that’s not really true. It like I am trying to implement a new operation system in my computer while still running the old software: it won’t work.

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What does work for me is letting go of the old, trusting in the process of change. I stop trying to put great expectations on the results and just enjoy the journey. When I first got into recovery everything was new, enticing and also overwhelming. I learned that I had to look at myself differently, as a person in recovery. I had to let go of my former version for the newer one in, get used to it, live with it and get comfortable with it. Hanging around in a bar with my old drinking buddies would not have kept me on the straight and narrow. I had to let go of the me I knew to make room for a new me that was emerging. Putting your dirty clothes back on after taking a shower, you’re still going to smell. Recovery wouldn’t work if I was holding onto my old self while trying get comfortable in my new skin. And I had to trust that the process I was going through would work for me as it had for literally millions of other folks, but only if I gave it an honest chance. And to do that, I had to say good-bye to the ‘me’ I was, and welcome the new whoever that might be.

Change is only possible when we make room for it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small thing such as changing your bedtime, or a life shifting change in profession. We have to let go. We must let go. Otherwise we are bound to fail. Ensure a successful transition to the newest version of ‘You’! Move forward and leave the old behind. Say good-bye to who you were to make a ‘forever’ change.

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Creating a New You!

I look back over my time in recovery and I can see that I’ve changed. I am not the same person, thankfully, that walked into a meeting room seven years ago. If I continue to follow the program, then I will be a different person in another seven years. If I want to grow I have to change. If I am going to change I have to be willing to let go of the old me and trust my Higher Power’s plan for the new me.

“Every next level of your life will require a different you.”  Leonardo Dicaprio

This, for me, is the essence of Steps Six and Seven. A willingness to let go of character traits that made me and an acceptance of who I am becoming. It is taking the next step toward life and embracing changes. Everyone in recovery can look back at their lives and be amazed at how they have changed. This change can continue if we allow it but it means a continued willingness to let go of who I am. If a ship changes course only one degree, it won’t be far off its original course the next day. But as time goes on, that course it is further and further from where if might have otherwise been.

When I arrive at a meeting room, I was on course for cell, a sanitorium or cemetery. I know that because I saw it happen to others around me. I know that I am no different than they were, except that I made the slight course correction.  Seven years later I am far away from the iceberg I was heading toward.  And, as a result, I am a different person from who I would otherwise be.

The changes and course corrections are still happening as a result of the program. I am enjoying my journey and I am continuing to change. As I continue to live the program of the Twelve Steps, I am continuing to grow and correct my course. I like who I am today. I like the changes that I have experienced in recovery. However, I want to continue to grow and to do that I have to let go of who I was yesterday to be a new person today.  Letting go of the old me isn’t easy. It means expanding my comfort zone yet again.

The results of who I will become in the next iteration of me can be just as dramatic as the change between who I was seven years ago and today. I trust the process and so I look forward to whatever might come my way.

Step aside Tim, there’s a new you working its way down the production line!

Celebrate EVERYTHING!

I was trolling through the internet, looking for a theme to blog about, when I came across this picture on Facebook:

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It really caught my eye and got me to thinking. Life will always have its ups and down. There will always be things that I absolutely love as well as those things that I would prefer not to happen. I will triumph one day and the next I may want to bury my head in the sand. Regardless of what is happening I can celebrate it.  Acknowledge it and honour it and be grateful for it.

In going over my past with a fine tooth comb I was able to see that the people, the events and the situations of my past have all led me to where I am today.  Those great moments as well as my worst moments all contributed in the making of the “me” I am today. I am a work in progress that will never be perfect or ideal. So whatever is going on around me today is just as important in making the ever evolving “Tim”  as the people, places and things of the past. I can celebrate today’s challenges and successes because they indicate that I am moving, changing, growing. They push me to become a better human being. All I have to do is be willing to take the next step.

You don’t have to have a party to celebrate. Party hats and cakes aren’t necessary. Just a quiet internal moment of gratitude, acknowledgement, and honouring of each moment of time. It’s being mindful of the present. Life is short and changeable. Now is what I have. I can celebrate my screw-ups as well accomplishments.

I live. I learn. I grow. I celebrate!

I am grateful