It’s a divine thing, and a bold one, to truly begin to transform; to make the decision to expand and develop your life. Often times the urge to do so is brought on by a major life event. A loved one dies, or you are compelled to change careers, start a spiritual practice, an art project, a business, or a diet. Other times, the longing for renewal seems to come out of nowhere.
No matter how the stirring to transform begins to tug, we know it when we feel it.
We want to transform our very way of being in the world, not just change or tweak or cajole. We are not talking about just changing up our hairstyle or buying a new car – we are talking about transforming from the inside out. We are talking about engaging with our inner self in a completely new way. A more honest way, a deeper way.
We are talking about change so deep that it transforms us, our relationships, our work, and our worldview. The following eight steps have made the difference between staying on my personal path of renewal or getting left for dead along side of it. Trust, I was beaten up and dumped along the side of my personal path to peace a good number of times in my past. Somehow, though, something or someone or some angel, always found me, nursed my wounds and set me back on my way. Key number one . . .
1. Keep choosing you.
Don’t ever give up. The choice will be yours time and time again. The journey toward transformation and self discovery is life long. We need to practice patience, kindness, forgiveness, and humility every single day and keep our eyes ever on love. Be alert to the choices, they are many, and always choose to stick to your guns.
2. Surround yourself.
Surround yourself with fresh thinkers, authors, guides, voices, mantras, mystics, sayings, quotes, people, books, words, and prayers. Don’t be so proud (like I used to be) that you think you can go it alone. You will get weak, you are human. In fact, the closer you get to becoming the person you want to be, the harder resistance will push back on you. You will want to crawl back into your old ways of being, even the ones that were quietly killing your flow, because they will feel easier.
They will feel comfortable and the old you will want you to ‘come to your senses and give up’ on your journey. Do not listen to the voices seducing you. Instead, create repetitive louder voices. Surround yourself with fresh ideas that shape the way you think, form opinions, and get to know yourself and your relationships with others. Put them in your iphone, tape them to your mirror, pour them in your coffee, do whatever it takes to remind yourself often.
3. Get to know the real you.
You will never be able to truly transform your life into the vision you have until you get deep, down, and dirty about who you are. Don’t take another step towards transformation until you know where you are coming from. It’s going to matter more than anything else when you decide where you are headed. Be still with yourself, be alone with yourself. Be so quiet and still that you begin to hear your own voice above all the rest of the noise in your mind. What does your voice sound like? What is it telling you you need?
Your willingness to transform will attract forces to you. The universe is intuitive just as you are and when your energy shifts, the energy around you shifts. Listen for this. Listen to your gut, your intuition, your dreams, animals, nature, the people you trust. How do you know who you are listening to? Ask yourself this question: Who and what would you miss if they were gone from your life today?
These are the people and things you are listening to. Are they serving you well? Listen for signals, for shifts in the way you interpret what people are saying to you. Listen to the mantras, what are they really telling you? Listen more often and more intently than you speak.
5. Act differently than you did before.
Choose differently. Make new choices based on what you are hearing and learning. Make new little choices and new big choices. Challenge everything – all your beliefs, especially the ones you hold so dear you don’t even see them anymore. If you are looking to transform, nothing is impenetrable, nothing is absolute. Be willing and open to acting according to what you discover – even if what you discover surprises you. Because it will.
The difference between transforming and not is practice. It is the ONLY difference. We hear these stories all the time when people are trying to transform their lives in any way that involves a spiritual practice, an artistic endeavor, overcoming an addiction, a diet, as Steven Pressfield writes, “any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long term growth, health, or integrity.”
Transformation requires deep commitment, deeper than you’ve ever gone before. Acknowledgement on your part that you will be working at this every day for the rest of your life, through good and bad, will be the difference. If you fall down and never get back up, you may have changed for a while, but you didn’t transform. To transform your life, you have to keep at it. Every day. For all your days.
Your old self, your old life, will fight extremely hard not to die. The closer you get to making bigger broader choices based on your transformation, the more excruciating, deafening, and blood curdling the screams of your old self will become. When the screams come you must repeat.
Repeat your new mantras, repeat the meditations, re-read the books, re-watch the video, go back and re-read the emails you exchanged with the person or people who have inspired you deeply. Repeat the act of listening. Listen to your old self wailing, acknowledge it, and then repeat your new choices.
Despite the raging former self, repeat your choice for a new life. Repeat. There is no shame in repeating, in relying on what you know works to get you centered and strengthened. Go to these anchors as often as you need to and do not judge yourself for needing the help. We ALL need help. This is how we practice.
Repeat getting in touch with your true self, go again to your tools. Do everything you can think of to keep expanding your transformation.
Finally, trust in what you are doing. Why did you want to transform in the first place? Because somehow on some level in some way, you knew in your gut it wasn’t working. Your life wasn’t right, you weren’t where you belong. Something was telling you that you were not aligned. Some voice within or without wanted, needed, a new way. Not a change. An entirely new way, new perspective, new life.
If you have read to this point, I am willing to bet my insides that you are looking to transform or you are on the path right now. I want you to know I’m walking along side you, too. Our world is becoming more and more polluted all the time which, for many, causes our spirits to awaken to a new way. We become seekers. We become strong.
Keep choosing you.