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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Breaking the Cycle

I have been thinking so much about this upcoming year.  I can't believe that it is going to be 2012.  I am just floored at how fast time goes.  It amazes me that when we are going through trials and hard times in our lives we never think that we are going to make it through and then in reality...we blink and it has been years.  The dark times seem so long but are now so long ago.  I love the watch that we put in our baskets for that reason...I love the reminder that time does move forward...that time does help to heal...that you wont be stuck in the same place forever.....that everything has a season....

BUT what if you get stuck in the same place???? 

Sometimes breaking the cycle of your life can be one of the hardest things that you will ever have to do.  I know that when I made the decision to change my life I learned quickly that it wasn't just about quitting drinking or changing the way I dressed...it was EVERYTHING...it was the people I associated with, the places that I allowed myself to go, the music I listened to, EVERYTHING....and that makes it so much harder to find the motivation to break that cycle.

I stayed in the same "Groundhog Day" for almost 5 years.  I would make a decision or do something that I felt good about and would think....ok, this is it....the changes are happening and then it would only take one suggestion or temptation or hint of my life to knock me right back into the black hole. 

I have learned that I did NOT have the strength to continue doing all the same things with all the same people and SAY NO.  I could not be around alcohol and NOT have a drink, I could not be around the birth father {Idaho} and be strong enough to walk away,  I could not be around other men and women without giving up pieces of myself to please them, I could not DO the same things over and over and be strong enough to have DIFFERENT RESULTS......

{thank you to bravegirls club for the image}

BUT I did discover something very interesting...I also learned that just because I couldn't put myself in the same situations and find strength to say NO did NOT MEAN THAT I WAS WEAK!  I actually found a much greater strength that came from deep within that was so much more than just saying no! 

I have discovered many things about myself over the past few years....mostly the discoveries started when I was getting to ready to marry my husband John.  John had been stuck in several cycles of his own and when we got together we were actually putting each other in positions to not be our best selves.  We were doing things that although brought temporary pleasure {sometimes} were NOT anything substantial and we continued in the black hole together...even though our cycles were different in some ways....they often collided with activities such as drinking, casual sex and more.  There were many difficult steps that we had to take in order to break our cycles....now, usually breaking off contact with a person that is putting you in situations would be one of them but my husband and I were on the same path, we had the same goals, we wanted to make the same changes and so we were able to take this journey together.  Here are some VERY important steps that we took in order to break the cycles that we were stuck in.....

1.  Identify What Needs To Change!  Now, I know what you are thinking...that this sounds so obvious and simple...and maybe it is...but sometimes there is just one thing that needs to be recognized, on major change that is causing the chain reaction of all the other issues!  You need to be able to step back...find a peaceful moment and get the big picture....YOU and ONLY YOU can decide "WHAT IS THE LIFE THAT YOU WANT TO LIVE??"  Regardless of the temptations and the blame that we put on other people and the pressures and our insecurities......we are the ONLY ones that are keeping us from making change, breaking a cycle, living a truly inspired life that we can be passionate about and have great pride in.  Take some time and really think about what it is that you want....what it is that you want to be different for yourself....visualize yourself living that life, feel it, breathe it in, embrace it....make it yours before it even becomes so......and now the real journey begins!

2.  Sacrifice!  Now comes one of the hard parts!  With every great life that we strive for, with every great change, with every great desire can come great SACRIFICE.  Your new desired lifestyle is NOT going to be just handed to you and it will not happen over night.  It will take a great deal of work and sacrifice.  It will take a great deal of committment and struggle and reminders and mistakes and slip ups which is ok.....as long as you can keep the big picture in front of you.  You have to decide what you are willing to give up, you have to decide that no matter what kind of grief you get from others, no matter who turns on you, no matter what you loose in the process that you are willing to follow through...that your desire to break your cycle is greater than anything that you will be giving up!!!  FIND strength to stand up for what your heart truly desires!  No matter what you do there are going to be people that don't understand or who do not support you....the ones that truly matter will be there...the rest are expendable. 

When I started making a list of everything that would be sacrificed my list overwhelmed me.  It was hard to imagine my life without so many of the things on my list.....now looking back...I can't imagine my life WITH those things...I have come to such a great place of peace that I would NOT allow those back into my life at any cost!  It was NOT easy and it did not happen over night.  I had to change everything about WHO I THOUGHT I WAS.....I had to totally avoid places, people, phone calls......DO WHATEVER IT TAKES....

If your favorite bar is on the way home from work and that is something that you want to break out of .....find a different route home.  If you are always tempted to look at your EX on facebook...BLOCK THAT PERSON...eliminate the temptation all together...don't just say "I wont look at his page today"...you know you still get the feed updates...BLOCK IT...out of sight, out of mind.  Remove numbers from your phone...make yourself busy at home so you are not tempted to go out with groups of people...date ONLY in groups so you are not put in a position to be alone and participate in casual sex....WHATEVER it is that is keeping you stuck figure out ways to remove yourself from those situations....give yourself a chance to break out of that cycle....you are not weak because you can't say NO....it will take greater strength to remove those temptaions from your life! 

PUT IT ALL INTO ACTION!  Don't just talk about it, think about, be proud of yourself for making a list...actually put it into action....no change will happen without works.  Again....ONLY YOU can keep YOURSELF from making GREAT CHANGE!  The only question you have to ask yourself is this " how bad do you want to change your life???"  If you don't really want it THAT bad, if it is NOT a priority you will never hold yourself accountable and make yourself jump into action! 

3.  Make Rules For Yourself!  Once you start eliminating things from your life that have kept you in the cycle you will find yourself feeling free and lifted...things will be clear, easier, and make more sense...when you start to have that clarity you NEED TO MAKE SOME RULES for yourself...you need to set some boundaries.  There may be things that you have eliminated from your life that WILL ALWAYS be a struggle, may always tempt you, may creep up on you and throw you back a step or two...and that is ok..that is life...but when you have a little bit of clarity....KNOWING the things that will be difficult for you, make some rules...some reminders that will help you the next time you are tempted and standing on the edge of the black hole! 

Rules are very very important to me...the keep a sense of consistancy in my life.  I feel like if I have rules and reminders that I can ALWAYS turn to then I can keep it straight.  I have a canvas of my rules hanging in my front room....where everyone can see them...but I see them a million times a day and I NEED that constant reminder of where I have been...where my weaknesses are and what I need to ask myself as I am tempted with things that would recreate my cycles that I have worked so hard to break....

There are 5 questions or rules that I always check with first before I make decisions....these 5 small things have kept me over the past two years from sliping back into the life that I knew was not right for me!...and as I continue to grow and improve as a person...these become more and more important to me:

1.  Am I making this decision for myself or for someone else?  Will I have the control?
2.  Is this decision causing me to give up anything that is more important than this decision?
3.  Does this decision support my highest spiritual beliefs, values and promises?
4.  Is it going to be fun?  Will I enjoy the results of my decision?
5.  Are the choice I am making something that my children can be proud of?

Now, these questions or rules will be different for everyone!  We are all in different places, we all have very different situations and cycles that need to be changed or broken....these have worked for me.  I had a list of 100 things that I could have picked from but these are the 5 that jumped out at me...that became what I felt was the very most important to me and the LIFE I WANTED TO LIVE! 

It is my prayer as you come into a new year and a new phase in your life that you will realize the things are damaging to you and your incredible soul...that you will be inspired to live your divine purpose and that you will be willing to sacrifice anything and everything to break those cycles, to get out of the black hole into the light.....we don't need another drunk night, another one night stand, another pregnancy to break us, another abusive relationship.......................

BREAK THE CYCLE....find the strength and get out....I know and testify that if I can do it...YOU CAN DO IT....and there is BEAUTIFUL light waiting for you on the other end....

There is not better time to start...lets kick ass in 2012!!!! 


We are always here and we love you.....

xoxox, Ashley

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