We are so full of good intentions, aren’t we? One of the reasons is because good intentions give us hope – the feeling that we CAN have the life we envision for ourselves! We get fired up, ready for a new way of life, new food and exercise plan, new attitude… Then how long does it take before we start sliding off track and find ourselves back in old habits and old ways of thinking? Why can’t we make the changes stick? Even worse, sometimes we do make a huge change like moving, quitting a job, or starting a new relationship and then are nearly paralyzed with the fear that we’ve made a terrible mistake!
The Equation for Transformation by Meredith Little and Steven Foster, is a remarkable tool to help us understand and negotiate this confusing process. The three steps of the Equation for Transformation are:
No matter how backward it sounds, the place to begin is with endings! We may really resist doing this because it feels like we are not striding forward into the future, but back into the past instead. The purpose of this step is not to live in the past, but to take back the time and energy we spend on old fears, regrets and limitations. No longer letting the past define us is a step towards the freedom we need to move fully into the present.
The practical activities could be simple: cleaning out closets or attics; paring down our belongings; returning things we have borrowed; and paying debts. They could also be more complicated and time consuming: making amends; facing our regrets; forgiving and letting go of everything we can. This clearing process is as much for sorting through old ideas and beliefs as for emotional or material clutter. If we wish for a new, true vision to sustain us, we must find and let go of our old beliefs that are now too small. We will also find real treasures, beloved relationships, experiences, and memories from the past and present, and it will be pure joy to polish them up and let them shine once again.
Once we have cleared the clutter, honored our pasts and sorted out our beliefs, we may find we have a much smaller and lighter bag of commitments to carry and a profound feeling of gratitude and peace. We have created more space, physical, emotional and spiritual, for new things to appear. We may discover that this spaciousness brings a new sense of energy and hope – fertile ground for the possibility of real change.
Coming soon, ‘Middlehood Reflections: Part 3 – Go into the Middle’