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Monday, June 11, 2012

Tranformation

I just spent a wonderful weekend at our little place on the Colorado River.  We went out there with some friends and were lucky enough to have wonderful sitters for the kids. So for just a minute or two, it felt like we were on Spring Break again, oh the good ole' days.  Would I want to go back there (meaning days without responsibilities like children and a mortgage)?  Not really, but that's what makes the time away well appreciated and the joy of coming home to my kids' smiling faces that much sweeter.

We have been friends with the three people that came with us for almost 20 years, Chris has known them even longer, back to the days of high school. What's so interesting is that one of them is going through an extraordinary transformation and I gotta tell ya, watching the changes this man is making, both inside and out, is truly inspiring.  I think he would agree with the assessment that his personality might be construed as "strong." At times, he can be obnoxious and abrasive, but most other times he can be a trusted confidant and friend.  In any case, as I watch him grow and evolve as a person, I see the light and happiness begin to break through that rough and tough exterior.  It's a bit like watching a Monarch shed his cocoon and spread those magnificent orange and black wings.  I'm looking forward to watching him fly.

Transformation. 

It can happen to anyone at any time.  To sum it up, it can be defined as a "marked change, usually for the better."  Do these changes need to be immediate and massive? I don't think so.  In fact, the process itself might involve a series of small changes, put together to create a chain.  Each link is fused to the next forming a bond that is structurally sound and able to withstand even the most difficult and unexpected circumstances.  This analogy can apply to either physical or emotional changes, but don't they often go hand in hand?  Our bodies do tend to reflect what we are thinking and feeling inside our heads.  Regarding these personal transformations, the "experts" say that if we tackle challenges head on and face our fear of change by making small adjustments, we can better manage ourselves as we navigate through unfamiliar territory without feeling overwhelmed.  

Setting goals is important but making them realistic is essential.  I've always said that adopting the "all or nothing" mentality can backfire.  Committing to changing or starting something; whether it be quitting smoking, exercise, eating healthy, finishing school, planting a garden, learning to swim, riding a bike, smiling more, being a better friend, whatever~I think it's important to start small.  And if you slip up, cut yourself some slack already.  Rome wasn't built in a day, right? 

We are all works in progress.  There isn't anything that holds us back more than our perception of ourselves. Believe me, I know as much as anyone, that the negative mental baggage we continue to schlep around can be exceptionally hard to lose.  But if you start by letting go of that stupid little carry-on first, it can be much easier to unload that faux leather Samsonite you are dragging behind you. You know what I'm talking about, the bag that's so old it doesn't even have those fancy little wheels and the handle that pops up out of the top?  Yeah, that's the one.  That enormous suitcase filled with the mental crap that you don't need.  If it doesn't serve you, let it go. 

And now you are shouting at me, "But that's easier said than done!"

And yes, you are right.  But you do have a choice in the matter.  This is your life.  If you want to keep toting around that old bag full of junk, go right on ahead.  Or would you rather trade it in for a sparkly new number with a shiny handle, a protective cover (maybe with pink flamingos on it) and wheels that even do a 360*?

Life is riddled with tough decisions and challenges.  How we respond to them is our choice.  Resisting change is easy, embracing change is hard, no big surprise there.  And now that I am witnessing my friend transform his whole life -his perspective, his body and his mind- it reminds me to face my own challenges head on and that determination, support and sheer will are key tools to ensure success. That and a little thing called forgiveness.

I think the message is this:  If you want to make changes in your life, if you want to make a transformation of sorts, don't be afraid to do it.  Get a new set of luggage and fill it with stuff you actually need, things like books and journals and support  from your friends and family by sharing your intentions.  Acutally put those tools to good use.  And remember there is no room for negative junk, only the good stuff.  Knowledge is power and not just because the guy on the Saturday morning cartoons sang about it, that really was some sound advice. 

And to my friend Demko, spread those wings man...it's your time to fly.

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