Updated: Apr 22, 2020
Dear grammar police,
I am aware that change is not just a verb and that there are many ways to define change.
I was chatting with my younger brother once and he said to me, "You're no longer the same person. You even look different." and to be fair, this is true. I actually do feel and look different in relation to who I was ten years ago. I am certain that I will also feel and look different ten years from today. I believe this is the result of choosing to seek rather than remaining in the darkness of my own shadows.
Surely my shadows exist and there's no getting rid of them, but that does not mean that I am subject to allowing my shadows to overcome me. Instead, I choose to use my shadow self as a tool to grow and evolve - to change. This has been, and still is, a key focus along my personal journey of healing.
I used to think that in order to change the life I was living, I could simply bury the parts of my life that I did not like. What I eventually realized is that I needed to embrace all of those parts in order to experience a healthy transition into the kind of life I would like to live.
For example, abusing alcohol was the norm for me. I went from drinking for fun to "needing" to drink in order to have fun until eventually "needing" to drink to simply cope with my life. My daily routine after completing my work was to start my evening off with a glass of wine - and then another. I remember the loud sound of glass bottles clinking against one another as I rolled my recycling bin out to the curb one Friday morning. I opened the lid and was not happy with what I saw. Within one week, I had consumed nine bottles of wine! Not including the drinks I'd have at a bar once or twice a week, I started to do the math in my head. My money was literally going down the drain and my life had not significantly improved as a result of my drinking.
As I became more conscious of my drinking habits, my entire life began to shift simultaneously. During this transition, I let go of many things that would encourage my inability to drink responsibly. In changing my environment, my life perspective shifted and the most challenging of all, my relationships with others shifted. Painfully, close friendships ended just like the leaves that would change and fall from a tree during Autumn.
Like the moon...
Like the seasons...
We are in constant transition.
This is the beautiful mystery of evolution.
We do not simply go through transitions.
We grow through them.
To say the least, letting go of my old habit of binge drinking was not easy. Every so often, I'd find myself relapsing and regretting it the next day. Sometime I would feel ashamed for my lack of self-control. I judged myself constantly. I blamed myself for the awful things that would sometimes occur as a result of my drinking. I experienced shame and negative self-talk, none of which were helpful.
So what changed?
I accredit a lot of my personal growth to the mind/body practice of Reiki and Yoga. For me, Reiki was (and still is) my key path to healing and Yoga turned out to be just the support I needed during my transition of letting go of unhealthy habits. I don't share this to suggest that Reiki and/or Yoga are the only paths available for change, however, they are both great tools that are simple to practice and highly rewarding. It was through my 200-Hour Yoga Training at Samastah in Ferndale, MI where I heard these words that changed my self-perspective entirely:
"If the light refuses to look, the darkness will remain the same."
- Joseph Ji Dugan
I love the woman I am today, the woman I will become tomorrow, as well as the beautiful woman I was ten years ago. I embrace all of me.