The near-impossibility of deep-down change (and how to do it).

Via Writing Our Way Home
on Jan 11, 2012
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I’ve been reflecting, at the New Year begins, about where I am in my life. A kind of ‘Fiona audit’.

What am I enjoying the most? How I am spending my days? Where could my behaviour *do with a little improvement?

I spend too much time on the computer. I try too hard to make people like me. I panic about money. I don’t do enough exercise. I spend too much money on books and cake. Etc. Etc. Etc.

All of these traits are as familiar to me as the palm of my own hand. Why are they still present in my life? With all the self-development work I’ve done, all the therapy, all the spiritual improvement, shouldn’t I be near-perfect by now? Shouldn’t I at least be working with a different set of problems?

Of course, I have also changed beyond recognition. I feel more confident about what I’m offering to the world. I know myself infinitely better. I’m more relaxed. I have more faith.

Both these things are true. I have changed beyond recognition, and certain parts of me (‘solidified habit patterns’ or ‘ways of being’) have hardly changed at all.

These habit patterns formed SO early in my life, and are SO deep down, and were SO crucial to my survival as I was growing up, that they are hugely difficult to budge. Near impossible. The image I often use is of deep deep foundations, made of solid rock.

The good news is that fissures do form in this rock.

Sometimes a crack appears without warning. We might have spent years working with our compulsive need to control our appearance. One day we wake up and suddenly feel able to go outside without any make-up on.

Sometimes the change is more insidouous. After a life-time of panicking about money, we realise that we’ve been giving more and more away to charity without feeling any anxiety.

So how do we work on these deep-down rock solid ways of being?

We rain love on them. We love these parts of ourselves, and we allow others to love us.

Water takes a long time to soften rock. But rock does soften.

Have patience with yourself. Let the gentle rain fall.

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* “All of you are perfect just as you are… and you could use a little improvement.”

~Suzuki Roshi

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Image by Tambako the Jaguar via Creative Commons, with thanks


About Writing Our Way Home

Kaspa & Fiona’s eyes met across a crowded room in 2010. They decided to: a) get married & spend their rest of our lives together, & b) pool their passions & talents to give birth to Writing Our Way Home. Their mission of helping people to connect with the world through writing. They offer a smorgasbord of writing e-courses, & run a thriving community. Read more about their mindful writing practice, small stones, and meet Lorrie in Fiona’s free ebook. / Fiona is a published novelist, therapist, creativity coach, & is very fond of earl grey and home-made cake. Kaspa is a Buddhist priest, writer, therapist, drama enthusiast, & is still learning to play the ukulele.


4 Responses to “The near-impossibility of deep-down change (and how to do it).”

  1. Faith says:

    You are so right, Fiona. Change happens when you work away at it. A little spiritual practice helps soften the rock, too!

  2. Fiona Robyn says:

    I agree Faith – it helps a great deal. Thank you for commenting!

  3. seingraham says:

    Thanks for this Fiona – your posts are always worth reading but today this was just what I needed to hear … being okay just the way I am but with room for improvement; that's a philosophy I can get behind just now! Thanks again.

  4. Fiona Robyn says:

    A pleasure Sharon. Thanks for commenting : )