Positive Life Change
The Power of the Positive
It’s September 20th, 2011 in Cave Junction, Oregon. My wife will be celebrating her 58th birthday today; some of her girlfriends are taking her out to lunch. I had my 63rd birthday on September 6th; I’ve been retired now since the first of July. Today, I want to write about the factors that prevent change, and I want to emphasize those steps that facilitate positive change.
I’m sitting in one of our green, canvass lounge chairs on our open patio deck in the backyard. Although it’s only about 10:00 A.M., the sun is up and spreading that luscious warmth on my face; the sky is crystal-clear-blue.
I’m also looking over our five-foot-high cedar fence at our thirty-foot extended berm. Pigeons are waddling around small, scattered pine trees and tufts of wild, green vegetation, enjoying the birdseed that I threw out there last night. My little white and bearded Terrier-mix is racing back and forth in a protective frenzy, crashing occasionally into the fence to scare off the pigeons from the berm. The smacking sounds against the fence startle some birds into a panic flight. I laugh at this dance of life, finding the whole picturesque scene delightfully entertaining.
All of sudden, I hear a ripping sound and my butt sinks through the lounge chair; but before I hit the ground, I manage to stumble to my feet. Such is probably the nature of positive life change.
Although there is a randomness and even and unexpected element to some changes, I’m wondering why choosing to make healthy change seems so difficult for many people. Of course my frame of reference comes from working more than 40 years in the mental health and addiction treatment field. Despite some of my clients choosing a better way to cope with challenges, too many held on to old behaviors, which eventually caused more pain, suffering, homelessness, multiple losses, and even death.
I’m sure you can relate to a friend or loved-one who refused to stop drinking, kept smoking, failed at weight loss, gave up on education, or stayed in unhealthy and even abusive relationships. Could it be that human beings aren’t nearly as rational as some experts suggest?
I’m also pretty frustrated with the status of American politics today. Why do too many “bright”, well-educated, wealthy politicians refuse to compromise on social issues like jobs, housing, healthcare, energy, taxation, and education?
The polls tell us that a majority of Americans want a balanced approach to fund desperately needed public projects with controlled spending and reasonable taxation. Yet the lobbyists, pressure groups, and so called grass-root organizations, encourage their leaders to dig in their heels for the sake of narrow beliefs and opinions. Come on political leaders, your power struggles are hurting us. Could it be you are as addicted to your own egos, control, power, fame and fortune as the alcoholic and drug users are addicted to their dopamine? If this is true, what works to free the addict from the bondage of self-delusion or self-harm, might help all of us experience more positive change today.
In my book, The Eby Way, I talk about four steps that can help all of us experience a better life. This approach can be applied to the political, economic, and social climate as well: vent negative emotions; use positive thoughts to maintain balance; take positive action; hold to positive beliefs. Let me show you how this process of emotional recovery can free our intellect to produce positive life changes.
For example, it’s time that all of us vent our anger, frustration, and anxiety over the apparent loss of the American dream. Then we need to start affirming some thoughts that will restore hope and faith like, “All human beings deserve freedom, employment, housing, transportation, and viable healthcare.” Once we start believing again that positive change is possible, let’s take a deep breath and tell our leaders we want compromise or “you’re fired!” And lastly, it’s time to change are values from the “survival of the fittest” and the debacle of the Adam Smith philosophy, to a more humane view; such as, “All of us have unconditional worth and value just because we are alive.”
Then, maybe the framework of our civilized world won’t rip apart. We can stumble back on our feet before our butts hit the ground. And we can embrace the Light that warms our hearts and spirit with the innate conviction that it is time to set ourselves truly free from addictions, negativity, self-harm, and destruction. All we need to do today is to try out four steps to emotional recovery and positive life change.
But unfortunately, some of us will choose to not change or simply do nothing. Why is that? It is a mystery to me. But I do have one core belief that has sustained me through many challenges, and setbacks: if most of us choose the positive all of us will prevail.
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