And then I discovered that change and growth are part of our nature. We just have to point ourselves in the right direction and start moving toward what it is we want to manifest. We have to accept where we are and make peace with it, and we'll find the strength and the will to change. I know that's how it worked for me.
When I made the decision to accept myself as I was, I began to eat better, exercise regularly, and do all the things I had always wanted to do. It wasn't that it just happened by itself, but it happened naturally and without too much stress. And now, looking back, I can see that I was taking four simple steps:
1. Listen and learn.
2. Set an intention.
3. Come up with a plan.
4. Make the move.
For example, I used to smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. I tried so many times to quit: I drenched the pack with water so I couldn't retrieve the cigarettes. I did acupuncture to foil the desire. I wore a patch. I underwent hypnosis. Nothing worked. So I just gave up and said, "Okay, this is where I am now." All the while I kept reading about what nicotine does to the body and how smoking hurts your lungs and immune system. Not to mention how it ages your skin. I just listened and learned. I didn't resist the information; I simply took it in (while still smoking) and let it settle into my mind. Then I set my intention to be a nonsmoker. I didn't know how I would get there, because I had failed so many times, but I just put it out there to the world that I wanted to be a person who smelled good and enjoyed downtime without jonesing for the next drag. I didn't beat myself up every time I lit up, but I did think about the information I had downloaded. And I began to feel my energy moving in the direction of healing, just trusting that I would get there. After a few months of this, I came up with a plan to attend a smoking cessation workshop, which I would follow with a week's vacation away by myself. Once again I put it out into the ether that I was ready and willing to act when the time felt right.
Three days later I was flipping through a neighborhood periodical and came across an ad that seemed to jump off the page for a "stop smoking" class, and I made my move.
This whole process—from gathering information to going away on a solo vacation—probably lasted six months, but it stuck because I simply allowed myself to be where I was and to go at my own pace. Had I tried to do it all in one grandiose move, I probably would have fallen back into my old habit, but since I saw myself on a path, I felt comfortable just nudging myself gradually in the right direction. We are all at various points along the continuum of wellness; we arrive at and handle different junctures according to our own personal comfort levels. We may be ahead of the game in physical fitness while lagging behind in spiritual awareness, or very emotionally and psychologically astute but lazy in the way we eat. It's all okay. We just have to be willing to be honest with ourselves about where we are and then work to bring ourselves up to speed wherever growth is needed.