This week I was in the grocery checkout line distracting myself with the magazine and tabloid headlines. Oprah’s “O” caught my attention: “Transform Your Life One Easy Tweak at a Time.” I had to think, is that possible? I’m pretty sure one easy tweak could result in a small movement in the direction you hope to go, but transformation?? I don’t think so.
Transformation implies radical change and I’m pretty sure that kind of change only happens in unique or special circumstances. Some of these possibilities are under our control and others come from pure grace (which I kind of think only happens when you’re open to it).
In this blog I want to share my personal (and fairly ordinary) experience. As we all have, I’ve struggled to incorporate certain habits into my life and to let go of others. I always think I can ease into it. I remember many years ago when I wanted to quit smoking I tried holding myself to fewer and fewer cigarettes with the intention of quitting. Didn’t work. The only way I quit was to QUIT!
My attempts to get physically fit usually involve some exercise routine a certain number of days a week, giving myself at least two days off. Those two days off tend to shift around based on my busyness (and other excuses) until they become 3 or 4, and pretty soon I’ve given it up altogether!
I got a glimpse of a real transformation earlier this summer. I spent about a month preparing myself mentally and emotionally to embrace a one-month long health detox. I wanted to reduce the symptoms of my rheumatoid arthritis and I just wanted to see how I would feel if I stopped consuming the substances that I suspect are inflammatory: caffeine, wine, gluten, sugar, dairy… Oh boy. That’s a complete list of everything I love!!
It was pretty scary to imagine 28 days of following a very strict regimen. I examined my fear and discovered I was afraid of giving up or giving in, but I was also afraid of who I might become (more on that in another blog)! AND, mixed in with all this fear was something expansive. Something motivating. Something that stirred me up! It was the challenge! This was a BIG thing and I was going to do it!
I faithfully stayed with the detox plan every single day! I remember, about 2 weeks in, walking down the street and becoming aware of how good I felt. I felt lighter, more alert, happy!! Through the summer I re-gained most of the 15 pounds that I lost. I am back to enjoying most of the food and drinks that I love. But the detox was transformational for me. I choose what I eat and drink with a new awareness. I have a fondness for green smoothies and dandelion tea. I am tuned into what my body is telling me. I am more conscious!
When we try to make big changes by tweaking one thing at a time, it’s easy to lull ourselves back into our familiar patterns. It is, after all, such a tiny step backwards. Little is to be gained and little lost. It’s a recipe for same-ness if you ask me.
Becoming conscious is always the path to ongoing transformation.