Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Healthy Activities, Healthy Eating, Spiritual Teachings, Thought | Posted on 07-01-2015
Tags: 3 Principles, Transformation
[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]
It’s been over 2 years since I embarked on my personal transformational journey. What started out as a simple decision to lose weight, has taken me on a magical mystery tour of mega proportions. I’m still amazed at how that one decision could lead to transformation in so many areas of my life.
My original weight loss was achieved the way millions of people try every day–eating less and exercising more. I counted calories for about 9 months until I reached my goal of losing 25 pounds. However, even though I was counting calories, I never thought of myself as being on a diet. I always considered it a “lifestyle change.” Which is probably why it didn’t take long before I started enjoying the healthy foods and physical activities I was doing.
In fact, I embodied those things.
Being a healthy, fit person became my identity. Which is weird, because being an unfit person who thought vegetables were for rabbits had been my prior identity. (Thus the whole “What Did You Do With Jill theme of this blog. 🙂 )
So how does one go from here to there in a relatively short period of time?
While I didn’t feel courageous at the time, from my new vantage point I can see how it played a big part. After all, at any given moment what we think of as our identity surely seems as solid as steel and not changeable in the least.
We have our ego to thank for that.
I’m no psychologist, but it seems to me that our ego is programmed to hang on for dear life to whatever identity we’ve given ourselves. The very idea of an identity-change makes our ego squirm. In fact, the more I think of it, the more it seems that our identity and our ego are tightly wound together and are basically the same thing. So when our identity changes in a big way, it means certain death to our ego–or at least that particular version of it.
Which explains why personal transformation is so difficult.
While my transformation seemed to go relatively smoothly, I had to deal with the inevitable identity/ego crises along the way.
Throughout my transformation there’d be times when I’d forget that I was “New Jill” and “Old Jill” thoughts and behaviors would creep their way in. Often it would happen when hanging around old friends or family who may not have been up-to-speed with my new persona. They were used to me being a certain way, and suddenly I wasn’t anymore. Which in turn made it harder for me not to fall back into old habits and routines.
It’s kind of weird to have to answer the “How come you never do ____ anymore?” question. Or to listen to comments such as “I like the old you better”! For me, even when people weren’t saying it out loud, I’d often imagine their voice in my head saying it anyway! (As Abraham-Hicks often says, that negative voice in your head isn’t your inner guidance, it’s your mother!)
It was really my ego identity trying to cling to life.
Another difficult area for me was having the courage and conviction to express some of my new views of the world. For instance, I have a different view of spirituality than I used to. This caused me some internal conflict for awhile. My old ego identity would tell me how silly I would sound to others if I were to talk about it, so I’d usually keep quiet. It wasn’t until I was able to see how my old identity was just thoughts I had about myself and nothing more, that allowed me to be more comfortable expressing those views. (That and an interesting conversation I had with Beth Raps in which she helped me to let “Old Jill” simply die once and for all.)
Now I’m able to be “New Jill” (or I guess at this point–“Just Jill”) on a full time basis. For the most part, I no longer have the old me looking over my shoulder saying “We don’t do/say/think that.” And when I reflexively say or think something that may have been true at one time such as “I don’t like Bruce Springsteen,” or “I’d never go on The Tower of Terror ride” I remember very quickly that while those may have been true at one time, they may not be anymore. Perhaps it’s time to give The Boss another try? And if I can take a Flying Trapeze class, certainly the Tower of Terror is child’s play!
The bottom line is:
Nothing that we ever believed about ourselves, either in the past, present or future is set in stone.
This I know to be true at the very core of my being. And while it may take some courage to get there–when you know the absolute truth in it–courage no longer needs to play a part.
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