Have you ever heard of the butterfly effect? This theory of inter-relatedness guided my cartoon illustration this week. It says that the flapping wings of a single butterfly impacts the weather patterns of the entire world, that the tiniest change can have a big influence. Is it any wonder we’re scared of metamorphosis and change?
We’re scared that we’ll flap our wing the wrong way and set some horrible typhoon in motion. But by far the greatest fear we have is not being able to change at all, or that we’ll wake up another day, month or year older and be unchanged. We fear the insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting things to be different.
In this big month theme of “getting things done” and embracing change… it’s the perfect time to think of our relationship to change itself and cope with the main obstacles to creating new habits.
CHANGE IS ALWAYS POSSIBLE
Change is always possible because change is always happening. This is the most important rule to remember of all. It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard growing up ( a leopard doesn’t change its spots, people don’t change, etc.) you CAN change. Honestly, I used to believe these negative statements myself, – but I’ve seen the dynamic and mind-blowing changes that I and others underwent through the process of growth for myself. I’ve seen people who are terrified to be communicative and open become fantastic communicators, I’ve seen people who used to be terrified, needy and attached in their relationships emerge as butterflies in solid, long term, trusting bonds with themselves and others. I’ve seen such fantastic changes in myself that it would take months to write them all down.
Phobias, depression, fears, mistakes or errors… are all changeable. Believe it!
It doesn’t matter if a change is small (making a new habit stick) or huge (finding love)…. change is always possible. The next time you doubt this rule, think of an example from your own life of a way in which you have changed already. Chances are, the you you are today is wiser than an old version of you. Once you wore diapers and couldn’t find your feet; now you can use a cell phone and make risotto! See? You’ve already changed … and that’s proof that it is not only possible but MANDATORY in this life.
so how do we get in a better relationship with change?
FIND WHERE CHANGE BEGINS
Change begins with you and depends on you. Most of us get tricked into thinking that change somehow starts OUTSIDE of us. We wait for someone to change, for something to change, for circumstances to finally make something “happen” that we think we want. We think that if that special circumstance were to happen (house will sell, lotto number will hit, hunky guy will call, someone will see things the “right” way ) that THEN we’d have positive changes.
That’s not really how it works though. Change does NOT exist in just in the OUTSIDE world… it begins in the INSIDE WORLD. And that’s the only place it every *can* exist. Woah. What a concept. Don’t believe me? Think of the person who gets all the things that they think they want .. fame, celebrity, money … and yet they’re still miserable. How come? Because change that happens outside of us doesn’t really make an impact on us unless our inside story agrees with that reality. Even if we get the guy, or the nose job, if our inner perception is one of unhappiness, the outside circumstance will never matter.
Always remember that change begins with you. This is true whether your issue is a relationship, or something that involves others. The amount of change you see in the world is equal to your willingness to see things in a different way and to commit to new thoughts and choices to create the kind of life you wish to live.
CHANGE BUILDS UP OVER TIME
We grow up believing that one BIG move changes our lives. Nope! Change energy is the same no matter what form it takes: events can happen quickly (blink of an eye!) but lasting change evolves through lots of cumulative creations and new daily habits and routines. That does NOT mean that positive changes take many years or that there’s always “hard work” to do. In fact, change happens at an equal level to how willing we are. That means that the more we commit to making changes and the more we trust ourselves in that process, the faster we will see results.
Change requires bravery and pushing ourselves for sure, but when we practice and make small steps every day, pretty soon those changes get easier and easier and we see more and more progress. Imagine learning to run a marathon. At first it might seem hard to run more than a few minutes at a time, but as you consistently expand on the plan and make adjustments daily, pretty soon five minutes becomes ten and then the miles themselves start to fly by with ease. Or imagine we meet someone great – then what? Then we have to learn to communicate and connect. There’s always an adventure or lesson to learn – change never ends.
Our fearful ego asks, “When does the good stuff finally arrive?” like somehow magically it all happens at once and we just get all that messy, scary “unknowns” over with. But change happens in an accumulation of habits, choices and actions no matter how fast events transpire.
Remind yourself that all the great works of art, relationships, businesses, and things of beauty in the world were ultimately the products of evolution, persistence and building even when miracles were delivered or inspiration hit like lightning.
1) Don’t give up on making new habits if you don’t get a “Reward” right away or in the way you think you should when you make your first few attempts do do something differently. For example; don’t go to a fun class and then despair because you didn’t meet a new man and then give up and quit the class. Don’t stop taking care of your diet and exercise because you didn’t lose your goal weight in one day.
2) If you are frustrated and meeting obstacles, review your intentions — Are you doing something for YOURSELF or are you doing things in the hopes it will change other people or force an external change? If you are taking that class for YOU, then you don’t care who you meet and if you are changing your diet for your health then you don’t mind if you didn’t lose today’s weight goal because your intention is on the big picture.
3) Don’t wait for other people, places or things to line up and make you happy. Ask yourself what kind of day your soul wants to live out… and get busy doing small steps to make that a reality TODAY. That way, when external circumstances change, you won’t depend on them for your happiness.
4) Change builds up and accumulates, getting bigger and strong and more effective. Small steps lead to BIG changes. You can choose to see small steps and consistent routines your friends. Consistency matters in all human habits and rewiring ourselves to do new routines.
5) Identify the positive changes you wish to make and make SPECIFIC plans to act them out during your day. Don’t wait for something to “Finally arrive” make it arrive. If you feel frustrated, it could be that your intention is about something EXTERNAL instead of internal. Shift your intention and energy to your inner world. For example… if you want loving communication, instead of waiting for someone to communicate kindly to you… how are YOU acting on this in your inner world? Are you speaking lovingly to yourself? Others? Are you communicating with your partner in a loving clear way? What SPECIFIC plans could you make to communicate lovingly today?
6) When it comes to attracting supporters and things to you, those same specific plans are important. Think about ways in which you are watering and nourishing habits and rituals every day that make this possible in practical reality. For example, if you want to create financial success, are you making a specific plan to care for your finances? Are you identifying what you can do better tomorrow? Are you creating generous acts that you can do today? Are you supporting others?
7) The more specific you get, the more you can focus on small steps and goals. The more you feel as though you are acting and committing to small acts of bravery, the more you trust yourself to roll with change.
8) When you change within, and focus on your growth and watering your garden, your faith in Spirit grows and your faith in yourself grows. When that happens, just like in the BUTTERFLY EFFECT, you have a really profound effect on all the people you meet or interact with. Small steps create endless ripples of change for the world!