Monday, 13 January 2014

How to Actually Change Your Life

There is something I've been saying to myself just enough these days that it has become worrisome. It goes something like this, "I hate my life."
Writing that feels bold and scary and so much bigger than the real feeling I've been experiencing, but regardless, these are the thoughts I've been thinking. It seems somewhat crazy to me because, on the surface, I am sure everything looks great. I seem to have it all, right? Two amazing, healthy kids, my own business, a wonderful husband, a great house, a place in the country. All of that. But here's the truth: I have never felt as tired, rundown, or pissy as I do these days. Why? Because maintaining all of the above is more than I feel I can handle - well. At the end of the day I am frazzled and have barely a shred of energy for myself.

This past year one of my beloved teachers, Harley Swift Deer Reagan, passed away. The impact of his death has been, and is, like a ripple on the water inside of me. I keep catching waves of it, and each wave brings with it an awareness of what he taught me. This man was a Shaman, healer, medicine man, Vietnam vet, Martial Arts master, magician, shooter, and probably the most authentic, bold human I have ever met. He said, "your life experiences are not your life. Your attitude and approach are your life."
I keep repeating that to myself these days, in hopes that it will finally click and I can find a way to say something more along the lines of, "I love my life."

Swift Deer's formula went something like this: change your thoughts, you change your attitude. Change your attitude, you change your reality. Change your reality, you change your life. 
The root to change starts with the thoughts that I think. And in changing what and how I think, I can make space for beauty to be seen and felt.
 I am someone who, when faced with an uncomfortable situation, will take measures to change it. I am a doer and a fixer. If you want an image, picture me climbing atop a pile of mess, sticking my hand in the air and saying, "this is unacceptable, let's try it this way instead." My solutions are action-based. They usually involve doing something differently. My husband calls them "eden's systems." I am relentless with them, and sometimes one just has to give in to the pile of mess, knowing that there are more important things to give energy to, like these rascals:

 But let's take stock of my current situation: a ton of shit on the plate, none of which can be eliminated. So what does a fixer do? What do you do when you can't control the mess you're in and there's nothing you can cut out?
There is only one thing to do, my friends. Change the way you think about it. 
I had this realization a few days ago, but it only sank in today while I was at work, doing about 32 tasks that I am not the fondest of. Normally I complain all day about doing these tasks. Today I said, "what if I just accepted that I have to do these things?"
So I shut up and did them and as I was walking home, I actually smiled. I felt really happy.

2014 is not about acquiring more. It's not about achieving and doing. It's not about invoking the agents of chaos and change. No. My 2014 is about changing the way I think, feel, and react to my life experience. This includes shitty diapers, teething babies, aggressive toddlers who hit their sisters (I am not mentioning any names), cheques lost in the mail, delivery vans that won't start, and cookies that get burnt. It's about accepting this version of myself, no matter how rundown, tired, and grumpy I feel.

This is what surrender is all about.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Eden thank you so much for this honest, real and incredibly relevant post. I feel the same way juggling work and family with little room for self. Sometimes it's soooo hard and there seems to be no end in sight...until like you said, you change your thoughts. I'm really going to go with this...maybe I'll post a banner with "change your thoughts...." in huge letters across the living room to help us stay on track. Anyway you're awesome, thank you for this reflection and I totally support you..while I eat some delicious chocolate chip new moon cookies :)