Change Starts with Us
The Union Path Podcast
Change Starts with Us
John Coleman 0:00:20
Sometimes when we want change, one of the most difficult aspects of that experience one of the most difficult parts of that experience to walk through is in deciding exactly what we want to change, exactly what change we want to have happen. Because it seems that with every choice is another choice right behind it. For everything we choose is the choice to not have something else. Perhaps for everything we choose, the choice is there to not have several other somethings. So this idea of choice, this idea of locking ourselves in to one particular path, one particular goal, one particular outcome can feel limiting, can feel stifling, can feel like we're actually limiting ourselves more than aspiring to and continuing towards growth. That we're in some way we're actually making ourselves smaller, we're making ourselves less. We're wanting less than what we have now when the desire for change is always for more. Now this can get a little confusing because sometimes the desire for change that we feel feels like it's for less. We want less suffering, we want less strife, we want less struggle, we want less stress. But couldn't we also say with all those aspirations, what we really want is relief? Is more relief than we're feeling right now? Isn't what we really want more peace, more joy, more comfort? That's an interesting thing to ask ourselves. Is all that we want actually more and never less? Because how do we experience a negative?
John Coleman 0:02:08
How do we experience a lack? I think you can make the argument we actually can't. The idea of negative and lack are ideas and feelings are always attributed to something actually happening, not something not happening. If something wasn't happening, that very something doesn't exist. And if something doesn't exist, it can't actually trigger a feeling. And of course, we can lead ourselves down very complicated thought tunnels. Pondering all of this, at least it's my experience, it's my assertion that this feels like it's true that we never actually want less. What we actually want is more. It's just sometimes we can be so preoccupied. Sometimes we can have things take such a large role in our life that it feels like all we want is for that to be a less. All we want is for a gap, all we want is for some space. All we want is to be able to breathe without whatever these stressors are. The feel like they're constantly riding our shoulders, they feel like they're constantly pushing us down. They feel like they're constantly making our way one of dread and drudgery. But when it comes to wanting change, oftentimes the first thing we want is actually relief.
John Coleman 0:03:40
Oftentimes relief can actually be one of the strongest, most desirable emotions we can feel. Especially if we feel like we've been put upon for a long time. Especially if we feel like we've been struggling for a long time. That idea of relief can feel and sound so sublime, so delicious so utterly wonderful. And it makes sense that we would feel this way. It would make sense if we could feel this way. If we feel like our life has just become too much if we feel too much stress and strain on a day to day basis, if we feel too unfulfilled, we feel too unnourished. We feel too just uncomfortable and unwelcome in the life experience that we've carved out for ourselves. This idea of relief is a really powerful one. Because when we really break down these ideas, what is relief really? Well, relief on some level is being saved. It's being saved from something. If we're really hungry and we eat a meal, we've been relieved from that hunger. We've been saved from that hunger. If we're incredibly thirsty and we drink a glass of cold water now, that cold water is our relief.
John Coleman 0:05:06
That cold water has saved us from our thirst. And so it's no wonder we've gotten ourselves into living, uncomfortable, unfulfilling, undesirable circumstances. The thing we could want above all else is relief. But relief is kind of a fuzzy idea. It's a bit abstract, it's undefined, it's vague. And so when we want to think about, when we really want to endeavor to create change, it's my belief that the most important thing to keep in mind is that all change starts with us. All change is first built on the inside. All change is manufactured from within that it's always us who are making choices. It's always us who are doing and who are not doing. It's always us who are choosing this and not that. Even when it comes down to our thinking, we choose our thinking a lot of times. We choose how we feel about things. We choose how we respond, we choose how we react. We choose how we face situations. We choose what we dive into, we choose what we hide from.
John Coleman 0:06:24
We choose what we acknowledge, we choose what we obscure. We choose when we tell the truth, we choose when we lie, we choose when we're honest, we choose when we're being deceptive. We choose service. We choose manipulation. It's always up to us. Ultimately, all change rests with us. Even if we feel like all change happens to us, that circumstance as a mind of its own, as a plan of its own that's working itself out for either some random set of reasons or some logic that we're just not privy to life is what happens to us. But when it's change that we want, we are the ones who initiate change. We are the ones who summon change. We are the ones who change responds to. Because change does come when called and we can't help but call. We're always putting out a call for something in one way or another. There is no human being without wants. There is no human being without desires. There is no human being without a vision of the future.
John Coleman 0:07:46
And that vision might be grand and glorious. That vision might be dystopian and horrendous, but we all have them. We all have ideas about creation. We all have ideas about what we want to create. And it's been my experience that creation is always set in motion by us. We are the ones who call and life is the one that responds. And that when we want to create change. I think one of the most important things we can do if we really want to be intentional about the change that we're trying to create is to get really clear within ourselves two key things. First, the change that we're trying to create, what do we actually want? What actually matters to us? What would make our life better? What would make our world better? What feels like the most noble and true version of us, what feels like the most ideal version of us? What do we imagine that really ignites a spark within us? It makes us feel inspired, that makes us feel connected not only to ourselves but to all of life.
John Coleman 0:09:02
Really makes us feel alive, really makes us feel like we're living fully, really makes us feel like we're doing fully using all of ourselves, all of our gifts, all of our talents, all of our capabilities and engaging richly with life and having life engaged richly with us. The other thing that's vital for us to know is that we are the creative power in our own life. We are the ones who set things in motion. We are the alpha and the omega. We are the beginning and the end. All change starts with us. And ultimately when change comes to fruition, is manifested, is real, is experienced, will be experienced through us. We are the beginning and we are the end. And in order to intentionally create change, it's so valuable to know exactly what we're trying to create because creativity, creation needs a container, needs something that is meant to be filled, needs a vision, needs an idea, needs to have some pull of some idea of what isn't but what ought to be. There needs to be a tension between what is and what could be. We need to break the stagnation and the routine of creation by introducing a new idea, by suggesting a new direction, by conceiving a new future. And we are the ones who do this. We are the ones who get to do this. We are the ones who get to say, I would like such and such. I would like to be so and so.
John Coleman 0:10:50
I would like to experience this or that. That's our gift. That's our opportunity. That is our incredible freedom to desire and aspire to whatever we like to be the ones who create this pole, who create this vacuum, who set change in motion by creating a new idea that is yet to be fulfilled, that we are the ones drawing life to us. And I think a lot of us have seen this. No matter how passively we have felt about life, I think we've all experienced at some point where we finally got clear, we finally got focused on what we really want, what really matters to us. We weren't going to put up with just whatever came to us anymore. It wasn't right. It wasn't good enough. It wasn't for us. We actually have preference. We actually have things we want. And for some reason that desire not only got clear enough but got strong enough for us to actually assume it, for us to actually claim it, for us to actually say, no, I don't want this anymore. I actually want that. And when that decision is made, it's like a switch is flipped.
John Coleman 0:12:10
Things are now different. Nothing could seem like has changed. We still may look and act and feel like the same person. Our circumstances in our external environment may be exactly the same, but we've already set change into motion because we've decided to change. We've specifically decided on the form we want that change to take. We have summoned change. We've placed our call, we've made our request, we've submitted our order. And in my opinion, soften the most important step of the process of change making a decision. Making a decision to do something, making a decision to be something, making a decision to experience something. That is the most important thing. Of course, there's lots of other important things. This isn't a magic trick. We don't conjure circumstances and events simply by making a decision. Sure, sometimes it happens that way, and sometimes it seems like it takes decades for things to unfold. That's the thing.
John Coleman 0:13:17
In a lot of ways, the timing really isn't up to us, really. I think in hindsight we can see that the timing for what's right for us when it finally does appear was actually right. That for whatever reason, we were separated from what we wanted for a time because we weren't actually ready for it. It wasn't actually for us yet. We weren't actually it yet. There was something we had to learn. There's some direction we had to grow. There's something we had to experience, there's something else we had to know. But it always does come through on time. That's the most miraculous part of creation is that in hindsight and sometimes this takes a little time to be able to see, there really is a perfection to it. There really is a precision to it and efficiency to it that's pretty astounding. It's this whole future idea that gets all complicated and jumbled and just kind of looks and acts like some gnarly big bag of spiders. But that's only because we believe certain things have to be a certain way at a certain time in order for us to be happy. Because it's the other thing we can see in hindsight is that sometimes, maybe oftentimes, the things that we wanted the most weren't actually the things we were trying the hardest to get and that we didn't know. We didn't know what was really important, we didn't know what really mattered.
John Coleman 0:14:52
And that's what we had to walk through, that's what we had to learn. In some ways that was the whole point of the exercise. It wasn't to get this or that. It was for us to grow and learn, to evolve and expand and then move on and roll this new awareness into whatever we did next. And even though through hindsight it can seem like this creative process is all very clear, is all very simple well, when we try to do it moving forwards, oftentimes it doesn't really seem that way. Oftentimes our minds can make the idea of creation really complicated. But it doesn't have to be. If we can remember that part about us being the beginning and the end, that's what we can focus on. We can focus on the conception and the manifestation and let all of the development in the middle be held a little bit more softly, not try to wrangle and control every step, not try to make things be a certain way at a certain time. That it's enough. It's enough to just dwell at the beginning and the end. It's enough to just know the beginning and the outcome. This is a story I've heard from authors and novelists more than once. That when they get the idea for a novel or screenplay or even a poem, when they start, all they really know is the beginning and the end. Because that's all they really need.
John Coleman 0:16:28
They need to know the beginning so that they can actually start. They can actually put words to paper or fingers to keyboards and they need to know the end because they need to know ultimately what they're driving towards, what all this is leading to. But then along the way, the middle often fills in itself. In fact, I'd make the argument that the more we stay out of the way of the middle, the better that middle fills in, that the more we try to force any specific path from the beginning to the end. The more likely we are to get off track, the more likely we are to get lost, the more likely we are, at the very least, to take a path that is very indirect, very long, very hard, very arduous. And we can save ourself the struggle, we can save ourself the strain by staying out of the middle, by knowing that change starts with us and it ends with us. And that's enough. It's enough for us to know that we are the initiators of change and that we are the experiencers of change and that life cooperates to fill in the middle, to connect the two. We don't have to build those connections manually. Those will often fill in on their own. And for some of us, especially some of us who are used to or really have an affinity for control. This is our work in learning to let go, learning to trust that this missing middle will fill itself in, that we will find the way and that we will find the best way to where we're going if we know where we're starting and where we want to end up. We can trust the journey, we can trust the steps we take. We can trust our own decision making to know what to do. In order for something to be trustworthy, we don't have to have all the answers up front.
John Coleman 0:18:33
We need to have the important answers. We need to know and be clear and make a decision about what matters. Knowing there will be lots more things that we'll need to get clear about. There'll be lots more decisions we need to make along the way. But we can take comfort, we can take solace, we can have faith and confidence that we've already made the important ones. Because if we know the beginning and the end, we can be flexible in the middle, we can be adaptable in the middle. We can open ourselves up to possibilities we never entertained. We can realize that the are infinite ways to get from where we are to where we want to go. And we don't have to figure all of them out ahead of time. We don't even have to pick the best one ahead of time. We just need to go. We need to put 1ft in front of the other. We need to go and we need to keep going. Because if we're clear on the beginning and if we're clear on the end, we can allow the middle to reveal and resolve itself. We can be the ones walking the path from the beginning to the end by letting the path unfold itself along the way.
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