What It Takes To Change


Change takes time, months, and years or can happen instantly. It depends on where we are in life. Everyone says they want to heal and change, but the real thing, the stuff of true wholeness, requires a deep breath and a plunge. So, it’s frightening—easy to say, mind-shattering to engage.

A patient reported the following dream. “I was standing on the edge of a cliff. It was a drop down to the ocean. I wasn’t afraid. But I was. The roar of the ocean, winds sweeping across my body, and I teetered. I had to let go, drop. There was no way out. I woke up and decided I needed to get into therapy, do dreamwork, and see what was going on with me.”

Inevitably, today there will be a crisis. It could come in the form of a dream, or relationship conflict, or a sudden turn of events that smack you right where it count. The original Greek meaning of the word crisis is turning point, a crossroads where we have to make a decision about which way to go. We will have choices today that will determine the course of the morning, afternoon, and evening. These are micro-crises, little decisions, turning points.

For the patient I mentioned, they never dropped into the ocean. In the dream, they stood frightened and paralyzed but did choose to enter depth psychotherapy. Then, they dreamt again, and they dropped down and down and down. It’s where they needed to go—into the vast ocean of soul. Over time dream images spoke to them about hidden things, mysteries that couldn’t be fathomed without dropping down and under. Inevitably, they led to a vast overall of perspective, relationships, and life itself.

Crisis is the time for change. Crisis signals a turning point. Crisis times/changing times can be moment to moment, in a single day, or at intervals in the life span. Babies are in crisis at birth, the mother in crisis, crisis hitting in adolescence, adulthood constant shattering old ways. Ahhh….soul evolution is a crisis!

We try to shield ourselves from soul crisis/change. Overly used life stuff — toomuchitis — numbs the pain that could clear the mind and propel the change. Instead, we eat too much, drink too much, exercise too much, do too much and discover a state of no more feelings. Then, emotions return and turn sideways and can go dark and destructive with a vengeance. It’s the psychological day after syndrome, the emotional hangover, from dipping into toxic unfeeling, not feeling, no feeling.

Toxic mind is irritable, negative, depressed and cranky, has no joy in anyone or anything. Thank goodness, we can steady ourselves and listen to that state of mind. It too is a crisis. It too speaks of change. It too has in it the capacity to turn our life around. A change of attitude, a reckoning with a conflicted relationship, a setting about a task we’ve tried to wiggle out of, is a beginning.

What it takes to change is a willingness to open up and begin. Stopping where we are right now, taking stock of the crisis we’re in, and deciding to do something about our life gets the wheels of change going. Listen to the pain, it speaks to you. Trust the pain, it has a message. Take the good but challenging step that pops into mind and forever transform your life.

That’s what it takes to change.