No man steps in the same river twice – Heraclitus
You Can’t Go Home Again– Thomas Wolfe
Many years ago, I did this exercise at a retreat in Ojai in which I described in detail a place I wanted to live. It had four distinct seasons, lots of trees, few neighbors, and lots of space for a garden and animals. I came across this description when I was cleaning out a file a few years ago, and realized I had described my house in Pine Top perfectly. I was stunned when I reread the descriptions. No wonder I’m finding it difficult to sell this house, even though I feel complete about my life in Pine Top. It still fits a vision I once held of where I wanted to live.
So, now what? How do I change my vision of my perfect house to match my present ‘reality’? I feel relief when I remember that the most frequently used phrase in the Bible is, “And it came to pass,” not “It came to stay.” Right here, right now, never stays the same. Life moves on.
Sometimes change is welcome. Those brand new babies we bring home change almost before our eyes. In only one year many are pulling up, walking, recognizing people, beginning to feed themselves, and letting us know what they want or don’t want.
Other times change is unwelcome — like the loss of a job or a house, the loss of a relationship through death or divorce. When change seems hard, I can choose to remember I am being presented with a growth opportunity. Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” The greater the difficulty, the greater the opportunity.
I can choose to remember that I am never a victim of the seeming whims of the Universe. I can create the changes I desire in my life by being very specific about what I wish. “Change your thinking, change your life” is not an empty platitude, but a statement of power and truth.
I can describe in glorious detail what I actually desire. Then I can answer the hardest questions of all, “What do I need to let go of to have this? What will I feel like when this happens? And what else? And what else?” When I have gotten clarity, I have moved mountains.
I have had marvelous success creating treasure maps using pictures, and words representing things or situations I want to create in my life. I made one a few years ago, which had, among other things, pictures of two grand pianos. What a lovely surprise several months later when we moved the second piano into my living room to store for our congregation until we discovered our own home for it.
I can create a very personal experience of the change I claim. Emerson wrote, “Man surrounds himself with his own image.” I can ensure my new mental and physical space reflects my newly-reawakened sense of abundance, well-being, and order. My new space gives me room to stretch and breathe.
And I can be grateful for what I already have. Eric Butterworth reminded us how lucky we are to have bills. They represent the trust our creditors have in us. It is never the situation, but how I choose to see it that continues to be the important.
I think it essential that I choose to unfurl my symbolic sails so that I can make use of the winds of change. When I choose this, I come out on the other side healthier, stronger, more flexible, more abundant, and especially more confident in my ability to make good choices for myself.
Since I know it works for me, I know it works for you, too.