5 Questions to Ponder for Successful Personal Transformation

Can I please have just 8 minutes of your attention?

What if, together, we can plant a seed towards understanding and transforming our non-constructive patterns? What do you say?

“The more you insist on improving who and what you are, the more you become a master of your destiny.”

~ Rod Stryker

 All I wanna do is forget and get loose.

“What is this thing you call substance abuse?

All I wanna do is forget and get loose.
Drinking and smoking over and over
What’s so great about a life that’s sober?

There’s nothing cool about being young
When the monsters of night have stolen the sun.

I’m tired of searching for words in the sky.
All I wanna do is drink and die.
Nothing is real. It’s all a big lie.
All I wanna do is drink and die. 

 ~Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I hitched a ride on a hot sunny Summer afternoon. I was 16. I was about five months pregnant. I couldn’t tell anyone. I never wanted to have children. I was drinking heavily.  The driver was kind. He offered me some tea. He took the wrong turn. I thought he was going to kill me, and I didn’t care. 

I terminated the pregnancy. It was one of the most physically and emotionally painful experiences I’ve ever had. 

But, some hidden quite part of me wanted to change and to stop driving myself to distraction. So, I moved from town to town trying to change.

And this was a lifetime ago. It took me a very long time to quit smoking and drinking. It took even longer to lose the extra weight. But, I am still working on peeling the layers and finding the “real me” underneath it all. 

In October 31 of 2016, I turned 41.  Magically, I didn’t die! I created an extraordinary life for myself.  I quit smoking, lost weight, and stopped drinking. I’ve stayed with the same person I love for over two decades by now. I live in a dream palace in paradise. And I do what I love.

How did I get from alcoholic, smoker crazy bum into a lucky gal? 

Well, there is no magic formula. I am not a good person, and I am not a bad person. In fact, I am just another ordinary human with an extraordinary life experience. So, here are some of the questions that I helped on my journey.

5 Questions to Ponder for

Successful Personal Transformation

1) Why?

I sort of wanted to quit smoking and drinking. But, I was tired of life, and I was lonely, and I was depressed. I got drunk when I was 11 for the first time. It was a party! I had a blast. It was love at first sight. 

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”  

~ Francis Scott Key.

Funny, I remember saying “drink early and all day is free.”  By the age of 15, I was drinking vodka for breakfast and smoking Marlboro like I eat berries today.  

But, the problem was that eventually I did get sober, and things looked really ugly. The drink started to take me.  

My why was simple: Change or die motherfucker!

So, the first step in our journey to transforming is to find our strongest why. No, it doesn’t have to be something dramatic like changing the world or the ultimate life’s purpose.

Perhaps, a desire to live, to be active, to see your kids grow, to enjoy life as a healthy person, to stay sober, to wake up in your own bed.

To me, these why(s) are as honorable as saving the world.

Our why gives us the motivation necessary to chase our dreams and to transform ourselves. 

2) Who Are Your Heroes?

A hero or a mentor is someone who helps us on the journey to find our own truth. Eventually, they must make themselves obsolete. 

It is so easy to fall for the pre-packaged answers. If you eat well and exercise, then you will be healthy. If you practice yoga, then you will attain enlightenment. Join so-and-so church, and you’ll find God. Join so-and-so cult, and all your problems will disappear.

We are very quick to follow a cult or religion, a teacher who provides us with “101-easy guidelines.” We get lazy. We want an easy way out.

Sorry, but life is uncertain. There is no ultimate reality. There are no guarantees and no final answers. 

I’ve had some crappy teachers and many heroes.  To name a few heroes in my life: my mom, my sister, my yoga teacher, Brian BedfordWes Nisker, Aldous HuxleyDale Carnegie, Carl Jung, Tom Robbins and James Altucher.

Alisia Silverstone inspired me on my way to fitness. When I saw a picture of her in the fitness magazine hiking with her dog, I wanted to be that!

So, how can we find a good mentor?

We look for people who walked the same path as we are on. We can find our heroes by reading books. Seek for someone who inspires us and pushes us out of your comfort zone a bit, tickles our souls and touches our fears.  

Someone who guides us toward finding our own truth. A hero helps us to avoid getting lost or make us get lost to aid us on the journey. Heros/mentors ask questions. They don’t get angry when we question them.  But most importantly, they must leave us once their work is done. 

3) What Actions Are You Taking?

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.“

~Albert Einstein.

We can’t expect different results from the same actions.

I moved from one place to the next. Everywhere I went, there I was. So, why didn’t I change when I was taking different actions? 

All our actions reflect the state of our mind, body, and emotions.  So, as I moved from one place to the next, I created the same environment to reflect my mental and psychological state. As a result, I couldn’t change my actions. There was no room for the transformation.

So, we can only take different actions when we change our experiences and lifestyle.

For example, when I was trying to quit smoking and drinking, I had to let go of all my smoking/drinking friends and my first husband. I was only able to resist cravings by changing my life’s experience. Obviously, I had to move after my divorce. But, this time I was finally able to create a new environment with new experiences and friends. 

Sometimes transformation requires big leaps. Other times, small incremental steps will do.

We must challenge ourselves to be a little uncomfortable and do things that scare us. What’s the worst that can happen? Rejection, embarrassment, someone saying no? Alternatively, what’s the best that could happen? Quitting smoking, being healthy and happy? Why not?

4) Are You Attached To The Results? 

“Detachment is not that you should own nothing. But that nothing should own you.”

~ Ali ibn Abi Talib

If I eat my veggies, I’ll be healthy. If I work hard, I will be rich. But, life doesn’t always work like that. Good people die, bad people live. 

I am good with structure and perseverance. Every time, I think I got that shit called life, it hits me with a wooden or metal stick. 

When I was learning how to ski, I took lessons and practiced for years with the best instructors, but I fell and busted my knee. It was an accident! 

My dog, Rocky had five trainers. I’ve trained him with all my heart and followed every rule. But Rocky has a somewhat shitty personality.  So, there are some things I can’t train out of him. I thought I forever conquered my bad eating habits but, I constantly have to stay on top of my cravings.

Yes, I get angry when I can’t control the results. Why should thing not work? 

So, what, I fell, but I did my absolute best and had a blast skiing. Rocky is as trained as he can be.

We fear about what’s happened next. We wish to be in control and assume responsibility for results, which we don’t have. 

However, appropriate actions are where we have control. So, we should focus on that.

When we act in sync with our most inner self, we shouldn’t care about results. Focusing on actions and surrendering results will bring the mind into the state of equanimity.

The mind can only be free when we concentrate on the work without thinking about results. By letting go the attachment to success and or failure, the mind becomes still.

5) Do You Trust Yourself?

Seriously, if we don’t trust ourselves, no one else will. We need to become our own best friend and treat ourselves with trust and self-compassion.

There is self-doubt, fear, and anger in all of us. We feel weakness and ugliness as a part of the human condition. At the end of the day, we want to be loved and accepted. We are scared of rejection, death, and uncertainty.

For some time I couldn’t trust myself. I made poor choices and fucked things up. I cheated and lied. I hurt people, and I was hurt.

But, with time, I let go of the past. I believe that I’ve learned a few lessons. I was able to cultivate trust by making better decisions, getting rid of shitty people in my life and learning new things.

So, self-trust is a choice we make: either we learn how to trust ourselves or get sucked into self-doubt.

We might find some light inside. What’s true and what matters, love, understanding.

Thanks for reading!

What resonates with you? Please share your thoughts in the comment field below.

2 comments

  1. Love reading your open, raw and painfully honest journeys- going forward 💜
    We would relate over tea, I’m sure!

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