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April 2008

Have you ever noticed when we want to make a change in our life, our "automatic way-of-being" is to make what we are doing 'now' wrong? It's pretty subtle and will go unnoticed unless we pause and take a look. To compound the situation, at least in our culture, it's almost acceptable to do this too. In fact, we are pretty much assured that our friends or family will go into collusion with us while we are making a situation wrong, and if they don't, we can always find someone who will. Let me give you an example of me being driven, or thrown, to make something wrong when I wanted to make a change.

Last year I decided to purchase a new car. It was time, in my opinion, as I had owned the car I was driving for 13 years, and although it only had about 120,000 or so miles on it, I felt I'd gotten good use out of it and wanted something different to fit my current living situation. Looking back over the years, the car (which was a SUV) had been perfect for my needs. It was high enough for me to see clearly while the weather was rainy, the seats were comfortable, and I had been able to throw lots of things in the back, even a couple of big dogs I'd had years ago. I had been able to go camping and have enough room for my tent, blow up mattress, table, seats, BBQ and firewood (yes, I'm a pampered camper). All the while I was not concerned that there wasn't enough room or the well taken care of engine would get me where I wanted to go.

When I first considered buying a new car, I began to think about what would fit my current needs. Over and over in my head I thought through situations that had been right about my SUV. I could have more than two people ride with me, along with comfort and the ability to hear well as my hearing is not like it used to be. As I was getting closer to making a choice, I found myself sharing things with my husband and friends that were 'wrong' about my SUV as somehow that would make it right that I wanted to buy a new car. I started complaining about why I now "had" to buy a new car; for instance, "I'd never bought a car step and it was a little difficult to get up into the car," "it was big and took up too much room in my garage," "there was too much room as I didn't have big dogs anymore." Complaints and reasoning and evidence continued to come out of my mouth. I was making the car that had served me so well for so many years wrong.

Because of my ontological practice of "observing the observer" I am or put another way, "notice who I was being that I was being a complainer" and making a situation wrong just to choose something new, I was able to stop. There was now a 'freedom to choose' a new car and sell my old car with fondness and more importantly, to be freed up from complaining and coming from what was wrong. It was about time too because my poor husband who I recognize as being committed to me being happy had begun to tire of listening to me.

The man who bought the SUV was thrilled to have a car that was in excellent condition as his second knock-around car and there is satisfaction with me that the car that served me so well for so long is appreciated for the purpose it will serve.

There are four steps to transforming, or shifting, a way of being. The first is to begin to observe the observer you are, the second is to stop in the middle of that way-of-being that doesn't work for you, the third is to stop before it happens and the fourth is to notice that, Aha I used to do that! Here's to you and me being able to look back with satisfaction on all that we "used to do!"

Happy spring and may all your designs begin to fall into place.

Patricia

Patricia Hirsch, MBA, Master Certified Coach and Chief Empowerment Officer with Design Your Life Coaching