Change happens when the pain of holding on becomes greater than the fear of letting go.
Spencer Johnson, author of Who Moved My Cheese?
For some years now, that quote has been a favourite of mine. Though I have read Who Moved My Cheese?, I actually first heard it when I was in a treatment centre for drug & alcohol abuse. I can still feel the jaggedness of the lump in my throat, the barrenness of the pit in my stomach, and the sting of the tears in my eyes as those words penetrated my entire being. But that’s how life goes sometimes, doesn’t it? It hits you like a ton of bricks.
At first, that ton of bricks knocked me down. And I fell hard. But that’s the thing about hitting a bottom isn’t it? Once you realize where you are, there’s only one place to go from there. Up. And one of the best ways I’ve learned how to move upwards and onwards is to embrace the lessons that are in the very same bricks that knock me down. And so I did with those words. And I changed. And for that, I hope to remain eternally grateful.
I’ve changed lots of things in my life, not just the quitting drinking, and today’s daily prompt has had me reflecting on them. Just to name a few, along with some other relevant quotes from Spencer Johnson, here are some of the most life-altering changes I’ve made, when the pain of holding on became greater than the fear of letting go …
The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.
I changed the very unhealthy number on the scale from around 200 to a now decent weight and BMI for a woman of my height and age. I guess you could say I let go of the triple cheese layered nachos and found some cheese that came from a cow that happens to laugh instead.
If you do not change, you can become extinct.
With my last drunk being a suicide attempt, I finally got sober. And after I got the booze out of me, I was able to deal with the other mental illness challenges I had faced since I was a child. I will die an alcoholic, that’s a given now, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow myself to die of the disease of either alcoholism or mental illness.
What would you do if you were not afraid.
A couple of years ago I quit a job, without another one lined up, to stay true to my values. I was scared bowel-movement-less. At first. Then I realized that all I had to lose was money. Staying was costing me my life. So I took a leap of faith and quit. Jumping = x number of dollars lost in my bank account. Landing = priceless.
When you change what you believe you change what you do.
I used to believe that if I forgave the man who raped me and the two different men who molested me, it would somehow make it ‘okay’ that they did what they did to me. Then I realized that no, it wasn’t and it still isn’t okay that it all happened. And that fact can be and is compatible with me choosing love and forgiveness over hate and contempt towards them about it. Changing my beliefs about forgiveness allowed me to heal. And that’s all that matters to me about it all today.
Better late than never.
A few years ago I started to *finally* chase my childhood dream of becoming a writer. In large part it was attributed to a conversation with someone who recommended I read Writing Down The Bones – Freeing The Writer Within, by Natalie Goldberg. Can’t rave enough about the book but suffice it to say after I read it, I was off and running. Or should I say on and writing. I dunno but here’s one of my favourite passages from it, found in the preface:
Believe me, you too, can find your place inside the huge terrain of writing. No one is so odd as to be left out. Now, please go. Write your asses off.
The next quote is, well, one I had a like and dislike for when I first read it. I’ve been fighting with myself about using it in here, but I’m going to surrender to the battle and include it and see where it takes me.
Integrity is telling myself the truth. And honesty is telling the truth to other people.
In all of the short little time I’ve been blogging, I’ve shared some very personal things about me and my life. But I have quite literally forced myself to not share one particular thing with you. Why? Because it is something I am embarrassed about, ashamed of, and disappointed in myself for. I am a smoker.
There, I said it. Yeah, yeah, I know. I am fairly educated on the activity, its health perils, and that it’s not helping my body fight the skin cancer I’m currently battling. No need to add comments to those effects, I get it already.
But … super-dee-dooper big BUT … I haven’t quit quitting. And a conversation the other night with my big brother who is driving me to my next tumour surgery in July has me thinking about it again. So yes, there is some more cheese I still need to move in my life. My old cheese of smoking is stinking up my house, my car, my clothes, my hair, the list goes on and on. And it’s stinking up my body too on the inside, making it a little cloudy for it to be fighting off the cancer. So I’m going to work on my fears about quitting smoking and give ‘er another go. It will be round 7 in the quitting smoking ring for me. But like I said above, I haven’t quit quitting. And hopefully posting on it and telling you folks will help me be more honest with myself about it. And that would be the integrity part of the quote. I do like integrity. I think I’ll try to find me some real soon.
So there. If this little ole redneck gal from Northern Ontario can get off her plaid-flannel-pjs-covered rearend and make the kinds of changes I’ve made, then what’s stopping you? I know. It’s fear, just like me. But that’s just in your head, our heads. Literally I mean, fear is just a thought. And those thoughts are gonna get bigger and bigger like they did for me. And they’re gonna knock you down like a ton of bricks, like they did to me. And it’s gonna hurt like hell, like it did for me. And then, also like me, you’re going to realize that the pain is a feeling and you don’t want to feel it anymore. So you’re gonna change the thoughts, the fear that is, and see the lesson it has in it for you, just like I did. And when you change your thoughts, you change your feelings. And when you change those two things, you change your actions. And when you change your actions, you change you and the world around you. Oh yeah, and so can I. Cool.
Now, all of us, please go. Let’s change our asses off.
Don’t know about yours, but my cheese is really stinky.
Better call U-Haul. Or Davidstow I guess.
It’s time to move some more cheese.
In response to today’s Daily Prompt: Transformation
Image source: Christopher user on flickr.com, CC2.0 Generic