In my practice as a healing facilitator, clients always ask how they can implement the healing insights they receive in our work together. For many of us the tendency is to either become overwhelmed quickly lose awareness of the insights received and do little or nothing, or to want to implement all the insights received immediately. Do you recognize this “all or nothing” approach? This was my natural tendency for many years, and I found it to be quite ineffective in creating change and healing in my life.
As I’ve gotten older, and hopefully a bit wiser, I’ve tried to adopt instead a “something is better than nothing” approach. A walk around the block that I DO is better than the five mile walk out to the lighthouse and back that I DON’T do. Picking up the phone and CALLING a friend is better than vowing to get together soon, and NOT connecting for another year. Taking 10 minutes to meditate in my favorite chair is better than saying I’ll get to a meditation group for 90 minutes, and not getting there. You get the point.
So, a better approach to implementing change in my life than trying to do everything at once, or all or nothing is to start with one action. Choosing one area on which to put my focus and effort each day. For example, if I’m feeling resentment or anger over some perceived injury, recent or long past, I can focus on forgiving one person. It doesn’t even have to be the person I think has harmed me. I can practice forgiveness of one specific person for one specific injury. Lots of times we find it easier to forgive “in general” than to forgive a particular person for having caused us pain. Yet one specific, concrete action can help us to heal far better than “general” forgiveness. To “forgive my significant other for not remembering and celebrating my birthday this year,” is more healing than a general “I forgive my partner for the times he has not been there for me.”
And with regard to changing a habit or a practice, taking one small achievable step is more likely to move me toward my goal than setting grand plans that may only last a week, or a day. For example, as I mentioned before, walking around the block today, and perhaps two or three more times this week will move me toward my goal of increased exercise more effectively than joining and gym with a mind of going every day, and finding I don’t go after the first few days or weeks. Likewise, I can make ten minutes, or even just three, to meditate, or simply ponder a thought before rushing into my day, or going to sleep, rather than commit to reading a self help book or a devotional for an hour every day.
I know some people have great discipline and can’t even see how getting to the gym, or how taking 15 minutes to relax or meditate would be a challenge. What is it you want to implement in your life? Is it a desire to make the time to enjoy some quality time with your spouse, your kids, or relaxing on your porch? Is it a desire to make opportunities to read, to meditate, or to simply chill out? Is it a wish to get organized, or clean out the garage or even your junk drawer, or learn Spanish? Is it a thought to read a certain book, play the piano, or cook gourmet dinners? Is is a longing to connect with long lost inner child, your soul, or your Higher Power?
Whatever you want to implement in your life, BEGIN. Small steps are fine and more sustainable, and you can build on them. A slow steady burn is better than a flash in the pan. And whether you manage to completely implement the change you wish to make, or simply begin to take steps in that direction, something is better than nothing. And a journey of a thousand steps does begin with one step. BEGIN. One step at a time. One day at a time. One thought at a time. One random act of kindness at a time. I wish you blessings in abundance as you begin this new year, this first day of the rest of your life.