Change can happen instantly: just take a pill or make a law and things are immediately better.
Change requires dedication, perseverance, honesty, and a community of support.
What person of our current culture hasn’t at some point relied upon a pill to make it through the day? In our culture, we look to quick-fixes to our problems. We take prescription pills instead of changing our daily dietary and exercise habits. We wait until a hurt knee gets too severe to tolerate and then we get surgery, instead of resting more or doing physical therapy to prevent a major joint collapse. Advertisements assure us that cleaning products, pharmaceuticals, band-aids, or diamond rings can solve our problems and make our lives instantly better. And we believe them, or at least we are willing to give it a try. Most of us are so busy rushing around to try to gain the basic level of possessions/power we think we need in order to feel secure that we “don’t have time” to take the gradual approach to imbalances in our health, relationships, or households.
The same approach applies to broader social issues. As a population, we opt for quick-fix “solutions” to crime and hunger like longer mandatory prison sentences or more government-funded emergency food programs. These solutions are band-aids on the problem which allow things to go on as they are a little longer but don’t really address the source of the problem.
Because we are so accustomed to popping pills or buying cleaning products to eliminate the messes and imbalances in our lives, it can seem overwhelmingly difficult to try to make a gradual lifestyle shift. Yet in order to make any lasting personal and collective changes, we must be willing to engage in a much slower, deeper process which demands commitment, tenacity, and a lot of support. Part III of this book is devoted entirely to tools and resources to assist in that journey.
One of the most useful and easily adopted tools for change is to offer the carrot rather than the stick. Motivate yourself by focusing on the benefits to you of making the shift rather than by chiding or punishing yourself when you do the “wrong” thing. If you are trying to lose weight, for example, focus on how much lighter, brighter, and sexier you will feel without the extra pounds. All it requires is a shift in your attitude, but it makes all the difference. Set your sights on what you want and create a social and physical environment to support it.
It cannot be stressed enough that it is very difficult to undergo significant transformation alone. Each of us needs to be surrounded with kind, compassionate, and honest companions who support us in our journey and who are committed to theirs. Even just one encouraging and truthful friend or family member can help tremendously.