What I told you that for just 8 minutes of your attention, 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.”
All I want to 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.
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. Unfortunately, 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, quiet part of me wanted to change and stop driving myself to destruction. So, I moved from town to town, trying to change.
All 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 back the layers and finding the “real me” underneath it all.
On October 31 of 2016, I turned 41. Magically, I didn’t die! Instead, 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 now. I live in my 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. But looking back, I can offer some wisdom in the form of questions: the questions that helped me along my journey.
5 Questions to Ponder for
Successful Personal Transformation
I wanted to quit smoking and drinking. But, I was tired of life, and I was lonely, and I was depressed. So, 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.”
Funny, I remember saying, “drink early, and all day is free.” By 15, I drank vodka for breakfast and smoked Marlboro like I eat berries today.
The problem was that eventually, I did get sober, and things looked really ugly. By then, the drink started to take me.
My, Why? was simple: Change or die!
So, the first step in our journey to transforming is to find our strongest why. No, it doesn’t have to be dramatic, like changing the world or finding life’s ultimate 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. But, 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 Bedford, Wes Nisker, Aldous Huxley, Dale Carnegie, Carl Jung, Tom Robbins, and James Altucher.
Alisia Silverstone was one of my earliest fitness heroes, who inspired me to begin my journey. I first saw a picture of her in a fitness magazine hiking with her dog. For the first time, I had a vision of who I wanted to be.
So, how can we find a good mentor?
We look for people who walk the same path as we are on. We can find our heroes by reading books. Look for someone who inspires you and pushes you out of your comfort zone a bit, tickles your soul, and touches your fears.
Someone who guides you toward finding your truth. A hero helps us avoid getting lost, or challenges us to aid us on our 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.“
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 mindset, 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 giant 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.”
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. But, sometimes when I think I have a handle on this thing called life, it hits me with a metal stick.
When I was learning how to ski, I took lessons and practiced with the best instructors for years, 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. But, on the other hand, what can I do about it? So what, I fell, but I did my absolute best and had a blast skiing. Rocky is as trained as he can be. We always fear what’s going to happen next. We wish to be in control, and we assume all responsibility for the results, which may or may not turn out as planned. However, the important actions we must take are the ones 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 the results will bring the mind into a state of equanimity. The mind can only be free when we concentrate on the work without thinking about results. By letting go of 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 friends 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. Yet, 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. So 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 cultivated 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 we get sucked into self-doubt. We might find some light inside. Within our own intuition, we can find what’s true and what matters; love, and understanding.
Thanks for reading!
What resonates with you? Would you please share your thoughts in the comment field below?