There’s a common misconception about change, and it goes like this:
We see our lives like a donut. Everything is fine, except for the hole in the middle. If only this hole could be filled, everything would be perfect.
Maybe it’s our weight. Or our job. Or our partner. Whatever it is, we think that if only this one thing would change, our whole life would be better.
Here’s the problem with this view.
First of all, comparing your life to a high-fat, high-calorie substance is always problematic. Second of all, donuts are supposed to have holes in the middle. That’s where all the flavor is.
And third of all, and this is the really important part:
It’s never just one thing.
Let me explain.
Whenever we desire a change in our lives, we imagine that this one thing will change and everything else will stay the same.
We’re going to have the exact same life, but with a better job/partner/waistline.
But that’s not how it works.
Instead, change is more like dominos than donuts. When one element in our lives changes, it sets off a chain reaction and everything else changes too.
When this happens, we need to be willing to let the dominos fall where they may. Even if it means changing things we didn’t know we were going to have to change.
Let me give you an example:
For years, I wanted a sweetheart. I was doing my work – visualizing, meditating, envisioning my life with my new partner. And, I admit, I was taking the high-fat, high-calorie approach. I was thinking that everything in my life was going to stay the same, except for the empty donut hole.
Then I met Melissa.
Talk about dominos. Suddenly, every single element of my life was in flux. I took early retirement from my job. I enrolled in ministerial school. I started a blog. I changed my diet. I changed my schedule, my routine, my habits, my life.
When Melissa first moved in, I’d lived alone for years.
I was accustomed to writing every morning, alone in my quiet house. I can still remember the first time I wrote with her in the house. She was being quiet, that wasn’t the problem.
The problem was that I wasn’t alone in the house. I was distracted by her presence.
I’d wanted a sweetheart. And I got a sweetheart. And now I was annoyed that this sweetheart was in the house.
I was clinging to a crumbling donut, while the dominos were falling all around me.
I first heard about the concept of the domino nature of change from, of all people, Melissa. She was giving a talk about treatment, or affirmative prayer. She was pointing out that people “treat” for a change in their lives, not realizing that one change leads to another. And another.
Ain’t it the truth?
Maybe that’s why we resist change. Because we know what it entails.
Because we know we might have to rearrange our lives in response. We know we might have to make other changes first, in order to make room for the new element.
But here’s the good part: One desired change leads to another.
In my case, allowing Melissa into my life lead to a bunch of other positive changes. Even though some of them – like letting her into my house – were uncomfortable at first.
Any time we open ourselves up to change, we open ourselves up to be changed.
In shifting from Donuts to Dominos, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1) Step away from the donut! Let go of the idea that you don’t have to change, but your life does.
2) Be proactive! Be open to areas in your life that may need shifting before you can let in your desired change.
3) Be ready for the dominos! Stay aware that other adjustments may accompany your desired change.
4) Remain calm! Take it a day at a time, gently allowing the dominos to fall where they may.
5) You’re not alone! Ask for help – from others and from the Divine.
And remember: there’s nothing worse than getting knocked upside the head by a domino while you’re stuffing your mouth with a donut.
Instead, be ready for change. Welcome it! Love it! Embrace it!
You’ll be glad you did.
Where do you need to adjust your life in order to allow a desired change? Are you willing to let the dominos to fall where they may?