“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.”
– Rosa Parks, 1913- 2005
How do we change our beliefs, perceptions and energy in a positive way? First of all we must be willing to make the decision to change, especially when we have been stuck in the same familiar patterns for months, years or even decades.We all know how we get stuck but many of us cannot figure out how to get unstuck. The problem is that we have engrained beliefs about issues in our life and they are memorized unconsciously in the body. Those unhealthy emotions in the body resist change (fear, self-doubt, hopelessness, helplessness, and feeling like a victim). There are also conscious beliefs that don’t serve us well. For example, “I can’t change my job that I am so miserable at because I will never find another one”. “I can’t leave this relationship because what would people say?” “I can’t set strong limits with my child, because he will make our life miserable”. The issues underlying our dysfunctional thoughts and beliefs are layered like an onion. We peel back one layer to find more unconscious hard-wired beliefs that stem from our past experiences.
The problem is that we have engrained beliefs about issues in our life and they are memorized unconsciously in the body. Those unhealthy emotions in the body resist change (fear, self-doubt, hopelessness, helplessness, and feeling like a victim). There are also conscious beliefs that don’t serve us well. For example, “I can’t change my job that I am so miserable at because I will never find another one”. “I can’t leave this relationship because what would people say?” “I can’t set strong limits with my child, because he will make our life miserable”. The issues underlying our dysfunctional programmes are layered like an onion. We peel back one layer to find more unconscious hard-wired beliefs that stem from our past experiences.
We all know the saying “What you resist will persist”. By putting something off, the task will only be bigger at the end. By becoming more and more aware of those unconscious thoughts and emotions, however, one day there will be a break-though. You will be moved with conviction, and you know its time to make that decision to change. You can no longer live within those limitations of being stuck, demeaned, threatened, paralysed, resentful, etc. It might take a huge amount of effort at first and it may feel rocky. However, if your conviction is there, you will realise that this discomfort could never compare to the price you were paying by enduring in destructive environments, harmful habits/addictions, or unhealthy dynamics with yourself or others.
Many people in history have made life changing, and even world changing decisions. One person that I have always looked up to with great respect is Rosa Parks. By her own volition, she made a decision on her way home from work and set in motion, (along with Dr Martin Luther King), the civil rights movement. She lived during the time when segregation was in full force. She worked as a cleaner in Tuskegee, Alabama and rode the bus home from work every day. She was a petite, quiet, humble lady. One day she was exhausted from her day’s work, and decided to do something different. She decided not to get up and give her seat to someone else because of the color of their skin. Here is an account of what she said herself about what happened on the 1st of December 1955.
[The following text is taken from an interview with her which was recorded on audio-cassette tape]
“That particular day was not the first time I had trouble with that particular driver. He evicted me before, because I would not go around to the back door after I was already onto the bus. The evening that I boarded the bus, and noticed that he was the same driver; I decided to get on anyway. I did not sit at the very front of the bus; I took a seat with a man who was next to the window—the first seat that was allowed for “colored” people to sit in. We were not disturbed until we reached the third stop after I boarded the bus. At this point a few white people boarded the bus, and one white man was left standing. When the driver noticed him standing, he spoke to us (the man and two women across the aisle) and told us to let the man have the seat. The other three all stood up. But the driver saw me still sitting there. He said would I stand up, and I said, “No, I will not.” Then he said, “I’ll have you arrested.” And I told him he could do that. So he didn’t move the bus any further. Several black people left the bus.
“Two policemen got on the bus in a couple of minutes. The driver told the police that I would not stand up. The policeman walked down and asked me why I didn’t stand up, and I said I didn’t think I should stand up. “Why do you push us around?” I asked him. And he said, “I don’t know. But the law is the law and you are under arrest.” As soon as he said that I stood up, the three of us left the bus together. One of them picked up my purse, the other picked up my shopping bag. And we left the bus together. It was the first time I’d had that particular thing happen. I was determined that I let it be known that I did not want to be treated in this manner. The policemen had their squad car waiting, they gave me my purse and bag, and they opened the back door of the police car for me to enter.”
Rosa was arrested and fined $14.00 for her crime, which ended up costing the City of Montgomery tens of thousands of dollars in bus boycotts.
When you finally make up your mind about something you previously avoided because of ambivalence or anxiety, you will be inspired by your commitment and courage. You will feel an amazing shift in energy, not only in yourself, but in the world around you. You are no longer chained by fear. If you have something you know you need to change to bring more peace and make you feel liberated, I encourage you to find the courage to act upon it and don’t delay! It could be the decision that will change your life! Believe in the integrity of your decision and new doors will open for you. Others will benefit and be inspired by your clarity and determination, because you made the decision to change once and for all.
“Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson