The Self Development Journey – Habits Define Us

How many of you have ever experienced the challenge that comes with changing a habit. I have found that habits are like oyster glue. Scientists tell us that oyster glue is probably the strongest glue in the world. In fact, oysters don’t even lose their grip under water, and in salt water at that!

Raw oysters in a pileOyster glue allows oysters to cling to the rocks even in a strong tide. At some point it occurred to me that this is very much like our habits. They stick firmly in the subconscious mind. Then they direct our thoughts, actions and  behavior.

And one more thing about oyster glue that stumps even the scientists. It is the instantaneous speed with which oysters can unlock their stick! In one moment a batch of oysters can pull together in a tight ball the size of a baseball. And in the next instant, they can all let go and be on their own again.

Don’t you wish we could do this with our habits? How do we let go of those old patterns that no longer serve us? How do we make an  instantaneous transformation? Or can we?

From my perspective, it all starts with perturbation, a feeling of discontent, like a shaking up, an inner earthquake. Those things or ways of being that used to be satisfying, no longer bring us happiness. It could be boredom with a job, an outmoded relationship, or a desire to try something new. It could be an inner frustration or an inner irritation, like the grain of sand that lodges in the oyster shell.

I call this stage the stage of divine discontent. Some old behavior no longer fits. It is the natural urge to grow. It is a small seedling of new awareness pushing forth from unconsciousness into consciousness seeking the light of day. And the path of transformation looks something like this:

  1. Divine Discontent – A feeling of discomfort, as if the old clothes no longer fit, a slow emergence from sleep or the illusion we were living, a sense that the old ways no longer work, a desire to shake off the past and move forward in a new way. This stage can sometimes last for weeks, months, or even longer. 
  2. Willingness – Finally the old skin becomes so uncomfortable, that a willingness to change or to let go emerges into consciousness. Even though trepidation or fear of the unknown may play on the edge of consciousness, the old has become so intolerable that it pushes you forward.
  3. Decision – When the inner tension has reached reached maximum capacity and we are fully and wholeheartedly willing, a decision ensues. Two things occur here: an inner change and an outer change. As forces shift within, the forces in the universe shift too. For as we decide forward, our entire relationship with the world changes. New and unseen forces flood in to support the change.
  4. Action – It is here that we must consciously attend to the ‘how’ of change. Do we step out into the abyss to make a massive change? Or do we take it in a series of small steps as we enter the new territory? And how do you know which path is best for the particular change you are going through? This elicits the need for inner contemplation:
    • Envision the end result you want to achieve. If you can’t see the end result, feel the feelings you wish to experience as you ‘be’ the new you.
    • Ask for guidance from your inner sage, your inner teacher.
    • Then listen to the whisperings of the still small voice for your inner sage knows the speed and distance that is appropriate for you at this stage in your evolution.
    • Trust the process. As you stay in touch with your inner sage, your still small voice will help you course correct as you go. Mistakes will be caught before they become too large and then will be part of the learning process as you get your footing in the new level.

I love the journey; learning, growing and transforming as we do along the path to higher levels of contribution. I love the metamorphosis I’ve gone through on my own life path.

So I’d love to hear your  “oyster story”. What habits have you changed? What experiences have you gone through in the process? And what discoveries have you made in your life journey.
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