Monday, August 5, 2013

Nothing changes, if nothing changes....

"Well my mind's been going through them changes...."

The Buddy Miles song always hits me when I even hear the word "change".
I love that song!

Change is such a strange word and concept to analyze.
It's so simple and yet so extremely complicated at the same time. Mostly due to the nature
of what we are trying to change.  It's obviously very easy to "change" clothes for an appropriate
occasion, or change direction on the road to get to where we are going in a car.
Those are just two very simple easily changeable situations in life.
I know we could list a million. Then, we get to the deeper version of change with things
like personality traits, character defects, complete ways of thinking......WHOA
these are not so easy, yet they are exactly the same.

Example:  We are driving to New Orleans. We have never been there before.
We hit the road and head in what we think is the right direction, but we are going the wrong way.
Someone tells us, we need to turn around and head the other way to get there.
So, we trust them, they have been there before, we have not.......
We turn the car around and head in the right direction. End of story :)

Now, some of us would think we know it all and we don't need to ask for directions.
We would just continue driving in the wrong direction, rather than admit we were wrong.
This is a very common character defect. We know it all, we don't need any help.

Obviously you can see where I am going with this. Many of us ,in life, believe we don't need help.
We know it all, and thank you very much, but we'll continue down the wrong path....just because.
"Hard Headed" is what my mother would call that, yours probably as well.
But it's much deeper than that simple analogy. A lot of this comes from life long "Conditioning".
We were born into a family/situation with certain beliefs and customs in a country that lives and eats and works a certain way. We may have had shitty parents, wonderful parents, no parents. We might have been beat up everyday, molested, made fun of.....the list goes on.
Most of us do not reach the age of 25 without believing what was taught to us by the people before us.
We rarely make decisions, based on our own actual experiences, to justify our beliefs in God,
Politics, Love, Life etc....
It was handed down from the generation before us and they got theirs from the one before them.

I am sure I am just laying out some very simple, common facts about the condition of life that we are all aware of. My point is, it's very difficult to "change" this conditioning. Some of it is very good and
what makes us who we are, helped to build our character. To carry on traditions from our heritage.
Change is also a very frightening experience. As human beings, we are afraid of change.
We want everything to be the same, all of the time. We are creatures of habit, good or bad.
There is never any real need for "change" until we begin to hit the proverbial brick wall.
When things start to get painful, we consider the need for change.
And only when they get down right awful, do we actually do the work needed to bring about
a real change.
My drinking became a huge problem in my life. People told me I had a problem well before I
ever accepted it. Loved ones, friends, stopped me along the way and told me I was going in the wrong direction, but I did not believe them, and eventually when I did believe them, I just didn't care.
I knew I was heading in the wrong direction and that was fine with me.
Not until I suffered enough pain and misery was I willing to consider another way.
and that was just the beginning.....

I learned that in order to learn how to quit drinking, I would have to change one thing: Everything.
How I talked, how I walked, what I thought, everything must go.
I had to be willing to give myself up and start over in life. I had to come to an understanding that
everything I had believed could be wrong. That is the biggest pill to swallow.
It is the ultimate ego deflator. I had to learn to turn over all of my thinking and actions to a Higher Power. I would no longer exercise my will, I would follow the will of God....
...or to the best of my ability :)
Cause believe me, it's a life long struggle to do this work. It's a daily, repetitive, exercise.
Also, it's not always such a quick change. When I stopped drinking, immediately their were beneficial
results. The same when I stopped doing drugs and stopped smoking.
I had immediate positive results when I began to make a real effort to not lie anymore.
I can't say I have been 100% successful, but I am much better today.
But some of the real changes took place over long periods of time, and for an alcoholic mind
that is not an easy thing to deal with. I want it all, right now. I never want to wait for anything.
But I have learned to achieve some of these long term changes by practicing spiritual principles
in my life: Patience, Tolerance, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Honesty.....the list goes on.
The long term changes are the most worthwhile. Nothing comes easy in this world, and when it does,
it's not worth much at all.
The idea that today I can stay calm in the midst of the storm, I can be peaceful and not react to
difficult situations, I can accept life as it is on a daily basis and be a pure miracle.
These are the changes that require trust in a Power greater than myself.

Nothing changes, if nothing changes: bottom line.
In order to quit smoking, you have to actually: Not smoke anymore.
The same goes for every character defect: If I don't want people to call me a liar - I have to tell the truth.
If I want to get better at something, I have to practice.  I can't just "will it" to happen.
Life does not work like that here on planet Earth.  God provides me the opportunities and I have the choice to do the work necessary or not, it's up to me.

I am truly thankful for the changes in my life today. I look forward to new changes and new directions.
I am no longer afraid of change, I accept it and embrace it. Something new is coming and it
will be wonderful if I am ready, wiling and able to participate.
Peace, Love....Zito