Please Note: Winter Blooms is an educational website only and is in no way meant to replace experience with a trained EFT practitioner, counselor, or therapist. To find an EFT Practitioner, visit the AAMET website, the EFT Universe website, the Tapping Solution website, or contact Jane at 802-533-9277 or firstname.lastname@example.org for EFT coaching support.
Renewal. Rejuvenation. Reinvention. These are important concepts throughout our lives, but they are especially potent at this time of year. We often feel the powers of renewal and rejuvenation after time spent in nature, after visits with true friends, and even after a good night’s sleep. Reinvention is a little trickier and never more so as we navigate our fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, and beyond. Many of us actually tell ourselves daily: “I’m too old to change,” and “I’ve always been like this,” and “I’ve tried before and always failed,” even when the habit we’re speaking of – smoking, processed foods, sedentary lifestyle – are robbing us of energies that would otherwise be spent creating the lives we really want to live. Despite our beliefs to the contrary, renewal and reinvention are possibilities until we draw our last breath, and, who knows, perhaps even beyond. We are always invited to fashion lives that bring joy to ourselves and others. We simply have to learn and then practice certain skills in order to do so.
The first step in the process of renewal and reinvention is to consciously thank and release any aspect of our lives we want to transform. We may be ready to focus on becoming non-smokers, healthy eaters, often times both, and yet be unaware of the tools or skills that will help us to accomplish our goals. And we may be interpreting our lack of awareness and preparedness as character defects. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In my own journey into more positive ways of being in the world, I learned to acknowledge what each of my so called “bad” habits were doing for me emotionally, intellectually, psychologically, and even physically. As I sat with my journal in the early mornings in the light of a candle – something I still do when I am focusing on transforming an aspect of my life – I simply opened to what the habit, for example, smoking, might be doing for me that kept me attached to it. I’d quit smoking many times in my twenties and couldn’t understand why I kept returning to the habit when I felt so motivated to change something injurious to my health, others’ health, and even our planet’s health. Thanks to Michelle Landsberg (see August 2013 blog Addiction, Grief, and EFT) I learned to look for the gifts smoking gave me, not the least of which was comfort during fear and distress. In Landsberg’s words, before I could free myself, I had to consciously “say goodbye to my best friend,” for smoking had been with me during every crisis since my young adulthood. The process of saying goodbye to smoking consciously required much reflection, and for many of us, developing our reflective faculties often seems to be the greatest hurdle to lasting transformation.
Our capacity for reflection is increasingly ignored in our do-do-do culture. We pride ourselves on getting the job done quickly and often characterize people who take time to think about issues as eccentric (think of Doc in Back to the Future), and even incompetent (think of the people who cautioned against haste when the Bush administration rushed headlong into war with Iraq based on false evidence). A lack of reflection can be found at the heart of every murder; just now in our history this lack of reflection is present when our police are trained in terrorist/swat-team tactics when they should be thinking about what might be going on with ordinary people on our streets. All the racially motivated murders in our cities highlight the vital importance of our capacity to reflect before action; we are learning that it is one of our most humanizing and rewarding faculties, and a brilliant aid to the impulse to create respectful relationships when used to inform our personal and civic decisions.
I meet many students in my college classes who have never consciously been asked to reflect on issues and who are terrified of the process. During first classes, they express their fear and the conviction that they will fail at thinking in this new opened-ended way. Please, they say, just give us something to memorize. Only a few weeks later, these same students say that they are now approaching the subject matter, and their lives, in entirely reflective ways. Our most useful questions include, “What might be going on here? Who might be benefiting from this point of view? Where did this information (concept, belief, prejudice, conviction) come from?” Nurturing a growing curiosity about the source of our ideas and feelings creates a willingness, and eventually the habit of sitting with something not entirely understood in order to delve more deeply into its causes, its larger meaning, and its mandate for action. The habit of curiosity, reflection’s key support, is indispensable to everyone who wants to live more authentically privately and more justly publicly.
Imagine a world in which the skills of reflective reasoning are part of every educational program, where nothing is accepted as true until put to the test of our capacity for inquiry and reflection. If reflection were valued enough to be taught, George Zimmerman might have asked himself why he was so frightened of life that he assumed the presence of life threatening situations everywhere, even in a young boy walking down the street. Police training, rather than concentrating on “shoot-to-kill” skills, would begin with reflection training that requires recruits to examine personal prejudices and beliefs that can be dismantled to support the formation of a just and democratic society – the international face we offer the world but that we do not show to many of our own citizens.
Consciously addressing our limiting beliefs ends them. With these endings comes the space for the next stage of transformation, conscious beginnings. Again, sitting with a notebook in candle light creates the atmosphere we need to fulfill our sacred duty to evolve. We are not meant to be narrow minded, prejudiced, frightened, or hateful. We are not meant to be right or wrong. We are meant to be open, to be curious, to be welcoming to new ideas and experiences that increase our capacity for love. We are meant to be the change we want to see in the world. We are meant to be fulfilled, inspirational, kind, fair, and above all, conscious of all the programs we are running that negatively and positively influence us personally and publicly.
We are meant to be peace warriors, justice advocates, bridge builders, and lovers of Earth and all Her creatures and the skill of reflection will help us to consciously begin whatever we yearn to accomplish and to be. Reflection sends the message to our subconscious that our personal beliefs are valuable enough to be honoured with attention. Reflection also sends the message to our public selves that all people deserve to be honoured in the same way. Consciously ending our sense of fear and separateness and then consciously beginning our sense of love and connectedness will help to fashion a world vastly different from the hostile, violent place our politicians, police, and media currently focus on and perpetuate. We can change this – with reverence, with reflection, with faith in our collective and individual resilience, and with a renewed sense of purpose – whatever our age.
Let us begin to reflect together. Let us consciously end our fear and ignorance about one another. Let us consciously begin to relate openly and with curiosity. Let us develop the skills and habits to work together to create a truly new year.
Until next . . . year
Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner, email@example.com, 802-533-9277