And so my 2016 Dream begins… and it is my sincere hope that each of you is working toward some Dream – something that you will have to “grow into” – for yourselves, as well.
[As you read this email, please remember that, as with all things that I write and make available in the world, this message is not just true for me, but for every person on this planet. Which means you, as well, so – again as always – please DO put yourself in the “I” position as you read these emails. They are about all of us, not just me.]
As I’ve been preparing to begin “the bigness” that I’m planning for this year, I’ve found myself repeatedly falling into old patterns that do NOT seem to serve the successful achievement of my Dream. Talk about frustrating! I mean, I should be able to decide how I want to handle things and just do it, right? Well, it is not that easy to create new habits and ways of being just because I’ve decided to change.
Here’s a big “something” that I’ve learned over the last 16 years: It’s not possible to change a habitual behavior if you never have to choose the new behavior deliberately. Which means that even though falling into old patterns doesn’t seem to serve me, it actually does serve me because without those opportunities to recognize that I’ve fallen into old ways of being, I would never be motivated or inspired to change anything.
Here is one very powerful example that demonstrates the truth of the above statement. In 1999 I made a decision to change who I was. For the previous three years I had been living in the victim role in a relationship with a very angry and abusive man. On September 19th of that year I discovered that even though it felt like I was trapped in that role (in that pattern) I really wasn’t. That day I decided to become a different person within that relationship. I was very firm about it. I was NOT going to live my life as a victim anymore! I was going to handle his behavior differently! I was very serious about it when I made that decision.
And then came the next abusive altercation, during which I forgot all about the decision I had made. I didn’t even remember I had made that decision until a couple of hours afterward. And then what did I do? I added my own abuse on top of his, beating myself up for forgetting. This is how it went for a good couple of weeks, and it would have been very easy to decide that change was just not possible for me. However, I had decided that this change was so important to me that I was willing to do whatever it took, even if it was difficult.
The beginning of the actual change in me happened the first time I discovered myself beating my own self up for forgetting my decision… and stopped in the middle of that self-abuse. I deliberately forgave myself and I gave myself a Do-over. After that, it began to be easier to see when I was living the pattern that I really wanted to change. And when I could see it as I was doing it, rather than living it blindly and unconsciously, only THEN was I able to deliberately choose a new way of being in the midst of whatever was going on.
And this is how it works. It took me nine months. Nine months of repeatedly falling into that old habitual way of being, and deliberately noticing when I was living my old pattern of pain and “Why me?” and “I’m a worthless victim.” At first I wasn’t very good at recognizing when I was living by default, and I would get upset with myself, but I always gave myself Do-overs As Required until finally coming to the point toward the end of that nine month period when I could look at his behavior (the better I got at being the woman I was working to become, the more angry and violent he became) and say (silently, of course), “Thank you for giving me another opportunity to choose how – and who – I really want to be.” It was then that I knew that I had become a woman who – no matter what he did to me – was no longer his victim. And it was then that I knew I could leave that dysfunctional way of living and never fall back into it again.
Now here I am, 16 years later, finding it necessary to give myself Do-overs As Required as I do the work (and it IS work, make no mistake about that) of recognizing when I’ve fallen back into patterns that are easy to live, but that will do nothing to help me to achieve the goals and Dreams that I have decided to get serious about this year.
For me, as my 51st birthday approaches (January 13th), I am still serious about living my 51st year of life in honor of my mom, who not only didn’t get a 51st year, but who never learned that it was possible for her to break free of her own patterns. I am serious about making this a BIG year, an IMPORTANT year of my life, and dedicating every bit of it to her.
Today I am gratefully remembering how I did this back then, because I’m finding that because of that decision to do things differently, it’s easier for me to see when I’m living those old comfortable patterns… you know, the patterns that are EASY to get sucked into but that have no LIFE in them, whatsoever. When I catch myself there, it’s becoming easier and easier to remember that I am NOT content to live the same day, same month, same year over and over again. It’s getting easier to remember that I really do choose “to live at the green, growing edges of my own becoming,” and to say to myself when I’m feeling sucked away from that, “Thank you for this new opportunity to choose how – and who – I really want to be.”
So join me this week, if you choose to, in choosing Do-overs As Required, in recognizing when you’ve fallen into an old pattern, forgiving yourself for doing so, and re-choosing the new pattern. Allowing yourself “Do-overs As Required” will serve you very, very well in staying on track with your goals.
I Choose… Do-overs As Required
This week, I am willing to pay attention and to NOTICE when I’m living a pattern that I have decided to shift. I forgive myself for landing there. I pick myself up and dust myself off IN THAT MOMENT with genuine gratitude for this current opportunity to choose how – and who – I really want to be. As I do this – every time I do this – I know that I have moved myself just that much closer to the new me that I am working to become.
Enjoy this week as the new beginning that it IS! :-)
Much, much love to you all and I’ll see you next Sunday!
Have an awesome day if you choose to!
Rev. Sandra Daly
Are you a person who believes in me and my work? If you feel Called to make a financial contribution toward the success this 2016 endeavor, or if you find this message helpful and you are a person who believes in tithing where you are spiritually nourished, you can do so right here, and you have my undying gratitude for every penny contributed. Thank you so much! Just click here and enter whatever amount you would like to give. You do NOT have to have a PayPal account to make a contribution.
Where are you headed? Where are your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs going to take you? I find the following quote from Mary Morrissey very helpful. Maybe you will, too. J
“Just a little shift in direction and a mile down the road you’re in a whole new place.”