When I graduated from High School, I chose to move halfway across the country to attend college. I was the only person in my graduating class of 470 to go to this college that year.
College was a life-changing experience for me. While yes, I earned a degree (that seldom serves me), more than that, I gained independence as an individual. This started to mold who I was and developed an attachment through friendships I had made to the northeastern United States.
I had decided to uproot and remake who I was. The first few months were rough, but eventually, I felt that I found my place, and would never return to the ‘burbs of Minneapolis — where I grew up — for more than a visit.
However, despite these changes in my life, fundamentally I was lost. In my 20s I was on a frequent, never-ending quest to figure out who I was, what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be. That quest, externally, manifested itself in bouncing from relationship to relationship, job to job, even home to home.
My inner self was full of turmoil. Constantly, I saw nothing but lack, insufficiency, and scarcity for all the things I desired my life to be.
This led to me being frequently tense, restless, needy, and wicked indecisive. I could go from zero self-esteem to braggart at the drop of a hat, loving to utterly indifferent nearly instantly, and my temper — when it exploded — literally put holes in walls and doors.
When all was said and done, I didn’t like who I was. Slowly, I started to choose to change.
But then, change was forced upon me.
Man vs car — car wins
November 30th, 1999, I needed to mail out some bills. Apparently, rather than drive the quarter-mile to the post office, I walked.
I say apparently because I have zero memory of this. I awoke from heavy sedation a week later in hospital and learned I had been the victim of a hit-and-run. I was pretty badly injured, having had my right tibia shattered (the large bone between the knee and ankle) and my right clavicle shattered (the collarbone). Severe nerve damage to my right arm from the shattered clavicle meant it was not entirely working.
Recovery, I was told, would be a lengthy process. Once everything healed — if it fully healed — a lot of therapy would be necessary. I had to relearn how to walk and recover the muscle groups in my arm.
I saw all of this in front of me and made a choice. Total, complete, unbroken. I was going to heal back to how I was before the accident. I chose to change my situation.
Three surgeries and a year of therapy later, and my arm was 90% healed and I could walk without the expected limp. Today, 21 years later, if I don’t show you my impressive scars or tell you this tale — you would have no idea how badly damaged I am.
For the first time in my life, I consciously focused not on lack, scarcity, and insufficiency — but on abundance, potential, and possibility. The words my best friend had been saying since we met — like photon torpedoes fired at the Death Star hitting the reactor and setting-off the chain reaction — got through to me.
Consciousness creates reality.
However, while this was a beginning — change was still slow to come.
Getting it wrong and screwing up
After my year of therapy and recovery, I had a new perspective on life. My overall understanding of life had changed and evolved.
From my altered perspective, I saw three ways to choose to live life.
1. Let life live you. Do the routine. Exist, survive, take what you can get. Minimal effort, minimal return.
2. Curl-up in a ball and await death. Complain about everything. See little to no good. Focus on the negative. Pray for an afterlife but ignore life itself in the process.
3. Take life for a ride. Make choices and decisions. Look for or create potential and possibility. Act on ideas.
During my recovery, I spent most of my energies on option 3. Before that, I’d been largely vacillating between options 1 and 3. Or, more specifically, I wanted to be working on the third option but had issues getting out of my own way to do so.
When I started to return to my life after the accident, reconciling who I was and who I desired to be proved challenging. Patience had never been my strong suit — even during the necessary time for recovery. I had a general idea of the notion of conscious reality creation — but still was living home to home, girlfriend and fuckbuddy to girlfriend and fuckbuddy, as well as job to job.
I made numerous poor choices, bad decisions, and mistakes. Some of the close friends who were at my side during my recovery were driven off by my actions, I utterly screwed up my finances, and in many respects was more lost in my early 30s than I’d been in my 20s.
The choice was clear to me. Choose to change or stay stagnant and remain feeling unfulfilled.
I chose to change
In my mid-30s I found the best therapist I have ever seen. After my parents’ divorce when I was 5, therapy had been a regular experience. But this time, this therapist, uncovered old beliefs and long-held issues no other had found.
For the first time since my recovery from the hit-and-run, I had a clear image of who I was and where I desired to be. From this, I began to be more mindful and started to work on finding and creating possibilities and potential. I knew that I most desired to take life for a ride as much as I could.
Not long after this, I began to gain more stability. For the first time in my life, I got into a stable, healthy relationship (so stable and healthy that we’ve been together for over 9 years and got married). While I still didn’t quite have a handle on my career, WHAT I desired was clear.
Unlike my 20s, for the first time, I liked myself. I liked who I was and what I could become.
Though still not terribly patient, I slowed down and calmed down. Instead of needing to always know and have plans, I took a much more Zen, easy-going approach. I went from tense, restless, and needy to calm, collected, and subdued. During this time, I worked to develop insight and understanding of my emotions and got my explosive temper under control.
More and more, I worked to take life for a ride. Instead of saying how I needed to write more — I wrote more. As such, regular, once-a-week blogging became daily blogging. Instead of avoiding emotional states, I worked with them.
Yes, this remains a work in progress. But, when all is said and done, isn’t that what living life is all about?
Still choosing to change
No two days are ever exactly alike. I’ve come to better understand that over the years. Change, however, is the only constant in the whole Universe.
I have come to realize that the best way to continuing growing, evolving, and striving to improve myself requires ongoing change. Which is a choice that I can make — or not.
This quote from Socrates resonates with the why of choosing to change,
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”
Who I was in my 20s and 30s isn’t who I am now in my 40s. For lots of people, reconciling this is a challenge. We look back on what we did, the mistakes, the failures, the awful decisions, and cringe. But that’s the past. All you can do is learn from it and keep moving forward.
I still have a lot to learn. There are days where I am letting life live me rather than taking life for a ride. But that’s just how it works. The only control I have — and the place where all change begins — is over myself.
Who I believe myself to be — my mindset/headspace/psyche, beliefs and habits — is always in flux. But by practicing mindfulness and working to be consciously aware, here and now, I can see who I am. That insight opens me to change as such.
I am always growing, learning new things, altering how I approach conscious reality creation and change. But that’s one of the most amazing and incredible things about being. Who I am today isn’t who I was, nor who I will be.
What that means is up to me to choose.
I have chosen to change before. I am still choosing to change now.
It’s easier than you think
There is a lie that permeates our world. It’s this: change is hard, painful, complicated, and there isn’t enough ‘X’ for everyone.
Lack, scarcity, and insufficiency are artifices created by those “in power” to remain where they are and keep everyone else from seeing how “they” are less necessary to us. You and I are empowered to live big and abundantly just as much as “they” are.
When you consider the size of the Universe, the virtual infinity of the cosmos, abundance is evident. Tangibles may run out — but not really. Because one material resource can always be supplanted and replaced by another.
Intangibles, on the other hand, never run out. All the emotions you can feel — good and bad — are never-ending. There are always new ideas to be had. They exist in infinite supply for everyone, everywhere.
Despite outside influences to the contrary, you can choose to change. All you must do is be more aware of yourself.
Only you can change yourself. Nobody else can do it for you. When you recognize this, you can see how it’s much easier than you think. Mindfulness, being consciously aware of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions — here and now — is all you need to do to start.
Being mindful of what you are thinking, what and how you are feeling, your actions and intentions, open the window to your inner self. When you can see your mindset/headspace/psyche and tap into beliefs and habits more clearly — you can choose to change them if you dislike them.
Too easy? That’s the lie. How many people do you know who fear being alone with their thoughts? That’s how change begins — from within.
You are not alone
Finally, know that if you are choosing to change, you are not alone.
I have been focusing on this for more than a decade now. While not always perfect, and while I still fuck it up from time to time — overall, my life is good. I know who I am, who I was, and who I desire to be. I chose to change — and still choose to change — so that I can take life for a ride and experience all the potential and possibilities that I can.
I am sharing my story because I believe that if I can do it, anyone can do it. You get to make new choices and decisions every single day. While that may feel a bit daunting at times — overall, that’s awesome. Why? Because when you take control by choosing to change — rather than letting life live you and just happen — that puts you behind the wheel.
You don’t need to be anyone more important than who you are. You are worthy and deserving of choosing to change into who you desire to be. You are not alone in desiring to experience life as fully as possible.
I chose to change. I’m still choosing to change. It’s an ongoing process, there are good days and bad days. But overall, this is how I get to experience life more completely. All the potential and possibilities I can see excite me, encourage me, and give me hope that better is possible.
Choosing to change is taking life for a ride rather than letting life live you. And that ride — though turbulent and sometimes terrifying — is the greatest ride you can take.
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and similar life lessons.
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