First 30 Days Blog

08 nov

Change—the New and the Old

happier_confidenceAll change involves a delicate combination of the new and the old. Change asks us to allow, accept, embrace and welcome the new. And change asks us to let go, grieve, release and find peace with what has changed. In that light I asked myself what specifically should we focus on and embrace and what can we support ourselves in letting go of.

5 things to focus on:

1. Get back in your body and out of your head. All the struggle and uncertainty we are living with right now, puts us in our heads, in anxiety for many hours of the day. We mistreat our bodies, feed them poorly, don’t give them a way to process emotions. We feel disconnected. We are split. We don’t feel anymore because we don’t feel ourselves first. We need to find anything, dancing, walking, jumping, bodywork, baths, breathwork, that us connect with our bodies again. So ask yourself some questions: Am I breathing deeply? Am I tight/sore? Ask your body how it’s feeling.

2. Allow yourself to be human, feel every emotion fully, including the ones you’ll do anything to avoid. We are all very attached to being perfect, in control. So we don’t get really sad. We don’t feel terror. We don’t express hurt or anger or disappointment or shame. However, the reality is that the emotion we most resist is ruling our lives. What is it for you? Once you realize the grip it has on you, it will start to release. If you are sad, feel totally sad. If you are filled with emptiness, feel that fully. It’s only on the other side of those feelings that you will find relief. It’s never in pretending they don’t exist or you have dealt with them.

3. Focus on you being happy. We should do what we want, really want. This the biggest gift we can give anyone, including our kids, spouse and friends. How easy it is for us to focus on anyone but ourselves? We do more for others guaranteed. It’s actually for a few reasons. We have forgotten what we even want, what would make us happy, and it’s actually much easier to help someone else rather than to start making changes in our own lives. We think we are selfish or will feel guilty if we do things we want. Everyone suffers when we are not happy. So start with remembering the little things that make you happier. Pick three and do them daily.

4. The world needs gentleness. We must start with ourselves. We should do everything with gentleness. In these times of change, we are all craving gentleness. From the guy on the bus, to the woman behind the counter, to our colleagues. Where do we find gentleness? Is there a new website,, where we can get our daily dose? Not necessarily. Start with yourself. You want to change your life, start with your inner dialogue, what you say when you look at yourself in the mirror. Next, treat every communication gently—every email, every phone call. It only takes a few more seconds to write or say something gentle. Create a safe space to land for yourself and then for others when they have any interaction with you.

5. Be completely OK with making mistakes and not being right. Ah, the high standards we have established, in every area of our lives. We have been so hurt by the incredibly high demands we set on ourselves. When we fail, when we try something and it doesn’t work the first time, it’s an attack on our identity. You’re the woman who gets everything done or the man who is only needed to provide. This attitude is what makes us not try something, not reach for a dream, not write that book, not try that class, not leave the bad relationship or destructive job. It’s OK to make mistakes, with honor. If you aren’t making mistakes, you are more concerned with looking good, fitting in, pretending, than you are with learning, living and growing.

Become an example for others. At all times, every choice you make shows you deciding whether to be an inspiration or a warning for someone else. Instead be a reference point. You matter for many more people than you think. To do this, become free of your own “stuff.” Start with the list below. You’ll see there the biggest things that get in the way and create your suffering.

5 things to let go of:

1. Let go of the feeling that you are “missing out.” We all feel that we are missing something in our lives. That if we make one decision, it may hurt our chance at something else. That we may have already taken the wrong path. We are missing out time with our folks, time with our kids, time in the gym and time doing nothing. Let go of this consistent nagging doubt that you should be spending your time doing something else, just in case that other thing is better or brings you a different outcome. Be present for yourself now. You are exactly where you are meant to be. Nothing is missing that won’t eventually come into your life. As one spiritual teacher said, you could sit on the side of the road for five years and your destiny will still find you. You aren’t missing out on anything.

2. Let go of the feeling that you are “behind, late with something that hasn’t happened yet.” We need to forget all those ETAs for the lover, the baby, the home or the perfect job. This feeling rules our life. Somehow, we, our parents, society snuck in and put these giant deadlines in our calendar without our permission! But, things never happen on the timeline we expect. Some things will come early, some things will be late according to our timetables. The energy we put into trying to speed things up is exhausting. Let it go. Focus on what has happened and see yourself with exactly what you want.

3. Let go of the feeling that “your life isn’t working.” It’s easy at this current time to start stacking all our problems and come to the giant conclusion that our lives aren’t working. We pick at ourselves at different parts of our lives. Maybe it’s our health or relationships and that becomes our black hole. Not only does it suck us in, it sucks in all the parts of our lives that are working. Soon enough we’re wondering why we’re impossibly miserable. But, really, our lives are exactly where we want them to be. Otherwise we would change them. If you want to change yours, then do so to have it work even better, not because your life is all wrong. And I promise you, there are times life will do the changing for you. We all get our fair share of the changes life throws at us. They are all for the better eventually.

4. Let go of the feeling that you aren’t “good enough.” Here is that impossibly high standard again that we set for ourselves. When we are most vulnerable is when we are our most attractive. No one wants a perfect partner or friend. Really. No one wants to work with someone who always gets it all right and all done. Give yourself permission to be human, show that to others and you then give permission to everyone around you to be that as well. Your kids need to see your humanity. Your spouse is craving to see your weaknesses, your vulnerability, so s/he can hold you with gentleness. Let others experience the human side of you, not the resume or the totally in-control person.

5. Let go of the feeling that someone else has more than you do. Power, money, love, happiness. Everyone has something we don’t think we have. So, remember this: Compare and despair. Comparison achieves absolutely nothing. What is that one thing you are always triggered by that someone else has? Put a name on it. What does it represent for you? Remember you are whole and complete without this. I promise you, you have things that others would do anything to have. And remember this, your worst day, your worst year is someone else’s biggest dream.

All of these feelings/triggers act like massive brakes in our lives. The only way to lift the brake is to release these feelings. Bring them out of your “blind spot” and become aware of them when one of these has you under its grip. Notice it, become the witness of what is ruling your life. Suffering is so much more familiar to most of us that the consistent feeling of being happy. The second your mind tries to pull you “back down in the basement,” just become aware of that and gently push the elevator button back up.

Take a moment to print out this list. Or to email it to someone. Or maybe re-read it and ask yourself which is the biggest one for you at this time.

Posted by Ariane de Bonvoisin on November 8th, 2009 in Ariane, Global/Social Change | 1 comments Read related posts in

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One Comment

  • this site has been very comforting. I just recently broke up with my boyfriend of 3 years. IT takes TWO. Even if one person is willing to work on the relationship they really need to understand why. Especially if the other in not willing. This site has shown me the difference between compromise and compromising one’s self.

    — Added by terrannm on November 27th, 2009

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