The changes we undertake must be such that they make us feel more alive. We have to find more pleasure in changing than in not changing. -David Servan-Schrieber
This Groundhog Day Review of my Year of Living Delightfully, is being brought to you on a very auspicious day, 08-08-08. It's the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing, thousands have chosen this day to get married and babies born today with additional 8's to their vital statistics (time of birth, weight, home addresses, etc.) are making the news.
My activities are much more pedestrian. I was talking to a friend a few days ago about the importance of right speech, words that segue to elevated emotional states rather than sink us into depths of doubt and fear. As soon as I say I have to, I feel my heels digging deep, leaving a furrowed line that underscores my rebellious response. I've learned that sentences beginning with I want are magical incantations that infuse power and possibility.
David Servan-Schrieber is a psychiatry professor and author of Healing without Freud or Prozac. In the March issue of Ode Magazine he wrote about a 50 year old lawyer named Martin, who despite having two coronary bypass procedures, could not bring himself to stop smoking, change his diet or start exercising regularly.
Martin was divorced, rarely saw his children and had buried himself in his work. It's easy to see that he derived pleasure out of the habits that were transporting him to yet a third bypass operation, or worse. Martin needed stronger WANTS in his life. As my yoga teacher Jehangir Palkhivala once advised, "If you have a weakness, use it. Say, 'Let me find pleasure in a new pattern', rather than trying to eliminate the pleasure."
Martin discovered a health support group, reconnected with his children and changed the focus of his law practice by becoming a mediator. He took charge of his body because he now wanted to be healthy. Notice how your choices undergo a mood altering change when you say "I want to..." and when you say "I have to...". I find that my resistance lessens and my heels come off the ground whenever I want.
In earlier reviews, I berated myself for not reaching par, failing to meet the demands of my quest. But along the way, I learned to truly appreciate my starting point. There was nothing wrong, I simply wanted more.