Thursday, 11 July 2013

Winds of Change

Only the supremely wise and the ignorant do not alter.”

I think better on the water than anywhere else.

My mind buzzing like a hive of angry bees, I took a drive out toward the water with the intent of throwing my kayak in the body of H2O and paddling around the rocky point of Gros Cap. Mother nature had other plans, apparently. Instead, I sat in the cab of my truck and read a book as the unrelenting surf crashed against the bouldered shore.

I'm pretty sure I could have handled the rougher waters... I just wasn't in the mood for a struggle

People came and went as I sat there ruminating on life, love and the eternal pursuit of unmitigated bliss. Some went to the shore and snapped photos, some stayed in their vehicles, as I did, and still others simply stood beside their rubber hoofed chariots feeling the wind rush over them. We all have different paths and make different choices. As much as I had wanted to venture out onto the water, I knew the decision to stay out of the kayak was the safe one... and the smarter one. The shoreline at Gros Cap is not smooth sandy beach with a gentle drop off to deeper water. It's jagged rock above and below the surface. With white-capped swells racing across the water, kayaking would have been dangerous at best and most likely a perilous voyage.

I didn't lament my choice.

Making a decision is pretty easy... particularly when its one for my own well being or peace of mind. I know what I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. That doesn't mean there aren't moments of self doubt along the new path I've chosen and there are certainly moments when I miss parts of the old path I had become familiar with. I would be lying if I said there weren't times I wished I could simply cave in and go back to the self destructive behaviour I was once addicted to and live my life in that comfort zone. That return to the comfort zone despite obvious signs I was harming myself and polluting those around me.

Sticking with a major, life-altering decision is the difficult part of deciding to change. It's often easier, especially early on, to give up the attempt and return to the crappy way I treated myself before. Most of the life altering decisions I've made and tried to achieve without support have blown up leaving me back where I started... in a cesspool of destructive behaviour... unhappy and surrounded by people who didn't want me to change for their benefit... not for mine.

I've learned a thing or two about decisions over time.

First, is the new behaviour in my best interest? If yes, then do it. It's easy enough to see the future if I don't change. All I need do is look in the mirror.

Second, we don't “try” anything. Has someone ever invited you to an event and you replied “I'll try to be there”? How often have you shown up? Yeah... me too. We either try and fail or make a concrete decision to do. To quote Yoda, “Do or do not. There is no try.” To say I will try is nothing more than leaving me an escape hatch to bail when the going gets tough.

"Well... I did try."
Poor excuse.

Third, if the change is a big deal to me, I'm going to need support to get through it. The odd thing is, even if I don't think I have support, once I've made a decision to change, support appears seemingly from nowhere. When the lesson needs to be learned, the teacher will appear. Whether I accept the support or not determines how far I get and how quickly.

Fourth, I have to feel the fear and do it anyway. The fear of stepping outside my comfort zone is usually the reason I say “try” in the first place. Somewhere in my mind, I believe I am losing something by making a change. My mind plays tricks on me telling me I am losing everything without taking into consideration what I am gaining (good health, better relationships, happiness, self-esteem, etc.).

Finally, when I know I am comfortable on the new path, I'm happier and feel more confident. I feel as if I can do anything. Knowing I have the support and don't have to go it alone makes all the difference in the world. Keeping in mind I am going to be happier on the new path gives me strength to endure any insignificant pain I may endure.

And I get to say, "I did that!"

Ultimately, I know what is best for me physically, emotionally and mentally. True wisdom is making the right choice when faced with that decision. We all realise we are on a self destructive path at some point in our lives. In my case, I hope I don't figure it out when I'm on my deathbed and the realisation will offer me nothing.

As for deciding not to kayak... it was probably a good one. Some paths are best not taken, even when they are on the water.