In Need of Change

Trust your magic wand.  And put a little $ in an envelope. 

Twice in my life I’ve needed to make a complete change in the  way I was living and the direction I was heading. It didn’t happen when I was perfectly happy and decided to change course. Both times the moment of change followed a long downhill slide and an ever-louder internal chant of “Oh, no no no no No!”  The changes followed an increasing sense of despair and hopelessness and happened in lieu of complete submission to versions of life I didn’t want to live and could not survive. 

Up to that moment I had tried all of the things that don’t work:

-I lied to myself that it would magically get better tomorrow;

-I tried to think thoughts that might cause change to happen, though I didn’t believe they would;

-I tried to fix it through relationships;

-I tried to pretend the opposite was true, as if that’s the magic key;

-I tried a variety of “it’s not that bad, other people have it worse” thoughts;

-I tried to act as if it wasn’t true, but my brain wouldn’t buy it.  

The kind of changes I needed were a huge leap in reality, but what finally worked seemed small and subtle.  I never could pretend the 180° opposite of what was true, but I was able to think and believe two thoughts that helped:

1. Could it be different? Yes, though I didn’t know how. 

2. If it had happened for others, could it happen for me?  I was only able to believe “Maybe,” and that was a step up from hopeless. 

Both of those thoughts were more comforting and encouraging than “There is no hope.”  Both of those thoughts had an important, built-in truth: “Yes, but I don’t know how. The answer isn’t in my brain.”  Both times I knew I had to turn to others for answers I simply did not have. Life had allowed me to go alone down the roads of destruction and defeat, but hadn’t told me how to get back on my own. I needed other people to tell me what works. 

I’ve since learned a couple of things from a bunch of surprising sages: 

-we reach magic through honesty, and 

-don’t expect that it will all get done without my participation: I need to do the parts I can do and have some faith in the parts I can’t do.  I originally heard that as “Trust God and tie up your horse.”  Over the years it’s changed a little for me:

Trust the magic, and put a little money in an envelope. 

It works every time. (And I trust God and tie up my horse.)

If you need a prayer, borrow this prayer:

Divine, I’m lost and I don’t know what to do. I need some help.

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