How do you want to live your life?

Barrier to change

on September 26, 2012

Today’s post was inspired by a realisation that I had gotten during a mindfulness course that I am currently attending. To put it simply, the practise of mindfulness is to increase your awareness in everything. So, as part of the course, we were encouraged to put in extra effort in the things that we attend to. And one of the homework was to take a mundane routine and be more mindful as we are doing it; as compared to just doing it automatically. Eating was one of the choices.

I had a discussion about the homework with one of the trainers today. I was commenting on how I will not use eating as the mindfulness practice because I know that if I mindfully ate my meals, I would not even eat half of the rubbish that I do! And she asked me why did I resist? I replied that I love eating and I would like to keep it that way. It was my way of coping when things don’t go my way. By the way, did I mention that I am also trying to lose some weight? (Most women are trying to lose some weight anyway, not a surprise) So, the very skill that can help me get to my goal weight is the one that I am resisting the strongest. Strange, isn’t it?

Anyway, at the end of our conversation, she gave me something to think about that released me from my “Habitual thinking”. I was, in fact, holding on to old memories that I used to use food as a coping mechanism and that it was the old me that used to do that. The new me, the present me, do not have to do that anymore. I can and I have the ability to make that choice!

It was such an epiphany for me!! All of a sudden it was all so clear. All I needed to do was to say to myself; yes, I used to do that in the past but that is the past and I don’t do that anymore. And that is Okay. Wow!! Isn’t it great? In the past, I will not eat salad or make healthy choices because it just wasn’t something that I will do. I was holding on to old habits because they are a habit. They die hard. I also thought that my habits form part of my identity. But it does not!

Take a moment now to think about you and the habits that you are holding on to; they may or may not be in the same context as mine. But if you are willing to be honest to yourself; you will realise that the reasons why you cannot make the positive changes that you want to make is because these habits have caused us to believe that without them, we are no longer the person we think we are. But that is not true. We all have to adapt and make changes at some point in our lives; we turned out alright, didn’t we?

It may feel like you have lost a part of yourself if you gave up a habit; but you haven’t. All that you are is in this present moment; whatever you were holding on to is already in the past. That time has passed; the time and space that you are in right now is in the present. And who you are in this moment in time is current and it does not even have to have any semblance of your past self.

But if you think about it in another way; if the old habits no longer serve their purpose, why hold on to it? Isn’t it more exciting to be able to discover and reinvent a newer and improved version of you all the time?? Everyone of us possess so much potential if we could only allow ourselves to think so.

Another quick example of giving up old thoughts: there are a group of female marathon runners in Melbourne who have been given a nickname. They are over 45 years old and must have completed at least 2/3 marathons in a row (Not sure about how many). They are lovingly known as the Spartans. Many of them did not start running til they are well over 45 years old. Imagine that! They have not run any marathon prior but all it took was for them to give up the thought:”I can’t run a marathon, because I don’t have the habit of running long distances” They chose to see a new possibility!

I apologise for the long post today. I am excited about my discovery and I want everyone to benefit from it. I hope that I have managed to put my point across clearly. Might give it another go another time. Give it some thought. The answer might help to remove that barrier that is preventing you from achieving what you want to. What have you got to lose anyway?


Leave a Reply