Wow, what a month June was! I don't know about you, but I have felt like the "normal" me has been taken apart and re-constructed.
Just about every area of my life has changed including my schedule, my family, my neighbor (who because of hedge removal - not in my power) suddenly can watch every thing that I do - his windows face my house. I am a very private person who loves sunlight and have not opened my blinds in two weeks. My son has gone to Peru for study abroad so I am alone in a way I haven't been in many years. Other things have been challenging but the underlying/deeper message that I am getting about my life and for those of us on the Transformation Path is that "change is here to stay" we can no longer live our lives from a place of habit.
There is a psychological definition about changing habits (Which is accurate, but unfortunately kind of hard to understand).
There are four stages to change a behavioral pattern:
- Unconscious Incompetence: You are not aware that you are doing a limiting behavior.
- Conscious Incompetence: You become aware of the behavior, but are unable to change.
- Conscious Competence: You can catch the behavior and change. At first you catch it a while after you do it but with conscious practice, the window is shortened until you can stop yourself before you do the old behavior and substitute the new behavior.
- Unconscious Competence: You are using the new behavior without thinking about it.
During stages 2 and 3 you must stay aware and develop your observer, the part of you that doesn't get caught in the drama. Be vigilant. You must train yourself to respond in a new way. This stage doesn't last forever. Soon it will become automatic (Unconscious Competence).
If after reading all that you are not sure that you really "get it"... let me describe it this way.
- You are walking down a path and there is a tree root that you trip over. You skin your hand and bruise your knees. That darn root! It caused you to get hurt, to have pain.
- You are walking down the same path and are not really paying attention; perhaps you are talking on you iPhone or thinking about something else. Once again, there is the root and once again you trip on it. This time you can't really blame the root because you knew it was there and were just not paying attention.
- So now you are walking down the path, but this time you are watching out for the ambushing root and you step around it. Yeah!
- Eventually, you can walk down the path and avoid tripping without thinking about it.
Those are the four steps to changing a habit. But at the end of the process you are still acting from an "unconscious" state. You have a new habit, and that is good since you are no longer tripping and getting hurt. However, you are still functioning from habit, from an unconscious place.
Dr. Bruce Lipton says that at least 97% of what we do each day is happening from the subconscious or unconscious mental state. This is habit and keeps you in a limited place. Your new habit can be less frustrating and cause you less harm, but it is still an unconscious habit.
This has worked pretty well historically because before we were born we had chosen a basic and sometimes detailed life plan. In this lifetime we started with a plan that made sure that we did what was necessary to insure that our bodies and our planet transformed with us. Now that we are securely on that path, we are creating anew. There are more potential paths we can take. As we step out on a path we have never walked before It is necessary that we stay aware of each step we take on the path.
Now we have a step 5. We may take a variety of routes and some of them might have a root that could trip you. We must pay attention.
To some of you this can sound exhausting, like you are constantly on "yellow alert" trying to protect yourself from potential danger. To others it might feel really exciting, certainly not boring! The main point is that we are staying present, in the now. Instead of letting your mind wander around in disappointment from the past or anxiety about the future, you are paying attention to what is happening NOW!
Each moment has so many potential experiences. If you are driving then notice your surroundings, pay attention to how comfortable (or not) you are in the seat. Expand your awareness to including perceiving other aspects of yourself and checking out the people in the cars around you.
Example: I have had times when I wanted to drive over the speed limit (shocking, I know) and at first I would keep my feelers out to know if there were any cops around. Several times I got the "feeling" and slowed down just before a California Highway Patrolman got on the freeway. I would have gotten a ticket if I wasn't paying attention. But this was kind of boring, I like to listen to music when I drive. So I asked an aspect of me to stay aware of any cops and let me know. Once I was enjoying singing along to an old Police song and I got the tingle and slowed down, again avoiding a ticket.
We have different parts of our consciousness and different levels of awareness. As we continue down the Transformation Path it is necessary for us to become consciously aware of more things that we have not been aware of before. We may communicate with our bodies and the various parts of our bodies. We can perceive the various consciousnesses outside of our bodies, the plants, animals, fairies, angels, etc. Habits are inherently unconscious.
To shift out of the habitual ways of functioning is pretty simple... start doing things differently! Start with little things: which shoe do you habitually put on first, where do you start when you are brushing your teeth, what do you usually eat and when? Try driving a different route, wearing different clothes and changing your hair style or make up. This trains you to be more conscious and to NOT fall back into habit.
One of my favorite things is to walk somewhere I have never been and be very aware of my surroundings. Notice the noises, the smells and the mental/emotional fields of the people who live or work there. Keep your focus on here and now. It is good training and also really fun!