Yes, but how?
Changing your attitude changes your life. This is much easier said and written than done. I have been through many revolutions and evolutions in my life (from quitting drugs and resolving trauma to revolutionizing my relationship with money, work and worth), and one thing is clear to me: Daily contact with the practices of the person that you are changing into is the practical key to changing your attitude and as a result your life. Change occurs in three stages: behavior, followed by thought, followed by attitude. We initiate change with new behaviors, learn to observe and change our thinking, and then our feelings life changes. These new thoughts and feelings make up our attitude, and the life reflected back to us now matches the internal landscape that we've created for ourselves.
Change begins with practicing new behaviors, such as:
Practicing new behaviors brings the pain of withdrawal, which must be experienced in order to be free from the distorted comfort of familiar pain. As a way of coping with the pain, we learn to observe our thoughts through meditation and honest self examination. Armed with the knowledge gained from observation and evaluation, we move into the second phase.
Consciously choosing new thoughts. This is the substance and power phase of revolution and evolution, where we effect lasting alteration of our attitudes. Through meditation and other valuable means of self reflection and examination we learn to observe our thoughts: our self talk, the voices that we don't notice because we've become so driven by them. We answer questions like
When we see our thoughts objectively, we are empowered to choose which ones to surrender and what new thought patterns we wish to engage in. The practicing of behaviors in line with who we want to be has an effect on our thoughts, we amplify that effect by actively engaging in changing the way we think, cultivating the inner landscape of our True Self, leading to the third phase.
New attitude. Our attitude is a state of being comprised of our thoughts, feelings and emotions. Our attitude informs our approach to the world as well as our responses to stimulus, adversity, and novelty. Here we know the difference between thoughts and feelings (thoughts are ideas, judgements, opinions, feelings are sensations in the body and emotions are the energy of our mind felt in our body and mind. With our new attitude, we feel differently and respond differently.
I have experienced this process over and over again in my life. Quitting drugs, quitting cigarettes!, resolving trauma, revolutionizing my relationship with sex and love, giving up blame, shame and defeatism, evolving my relationship with money, work and worth. Now, moving steadily towards a new age in my life, I'm experiencing change from a different perspective, not one of my own doing, but one in which I must actively participate in.
As I move towards the vata stage of life, I'm experiencing The Change. I often feel as if I've been swept up in a wave of change and I'm paddling to keep up with movement in my body and mind; I feel both slowing down to an uncomfortable pace.
I'm shifting my perception of this winding down from one of weakness, to an opportunity to appreciate the value and purpose of moving into a new way of being. I've never embraced change this way, it's a curious adventure. The changes I've made in my life have come mostly from desperation, when the pain of remaining the same outweighed the pain of change I was moved into action. This menopause is something different; this change is happening whether I get on board with it or not.
I choose to ride the waves the best that I can, accepting the stumbles, the disorientation, the overwhelm AND appreciating the opportunity to to explore yet another lifestyle in this one that has already been filled with love, beauty, wonder, adventure and many revolutions. Each time a new shift comes, I draw on my experience of changing attitude and mindset. Adjusting my behavior, assessing my thoughts and beliefs through meditation and self reflection so that I can embrace this sacred change.
Mother, friend, servant, mystic, yogi. Navigating this rocky, beautiful life with an open, grounded heart.