Piercing The Veil – Making Lasting Change Now
“Change only happens with change.”
That is truly one of the most obnoxious, elitist, pseudo guru-esque statements I have in my consulting arsenal. Saying it makes me want to punch myself in the dick. Usually, it’s reserved for potential clients who are questioning my rates. Obnoxious it may be, but it’s also true.
Change is a motherfucker. It’s great to talk about at cocktail parties. It’s all warm and fuzzy to spend Friday thinking about dietary changes that will start on Monday. How easy it is in early December to imagine yourself making it to February sans cigarettes after crushing your New Year’s resolution to finally quit. But come Monday morning or January first, all hell breaks loose.
Change only happens by you suffering through whatever the hell it is you’re trying to change. And no one fantasizes about that when they’re visualizing the outcome. Changing your diet is not easy, nor is getting rid of a cigarette habit, or any other habit for that matter. It’s often a sludge-like process filled with starts, failures, guilt and shame, restarts, recommitments, and pain. Change only happens with change, and no one likes change.
The Challenge Of Change
Change is challenging for a number of reasons. We’ve built up associations and projections onto the action we’re trying to get rid of. Smoking that after-dinner cigarette has become a ritual, a part of our day. We’ve projected our own sense of comfort and being okay in the world onto that cigarette experience. Same with the piece of cheesecake, the hour of sleep during “gym time,” and any other indulgences that we believe keep us happy and get us from A to B in this challenging life.
Sometimes, though, events happen to us – extraordinary events in our lives that pierce our veil of consciousness and facilitate rapid and permanent transformation. You find out you have prostate cancer, a loved one suddenly dies, you wake up one Saturday morning and hear your marriage is over, or you walk in on a Friday and learn your ten-year position in your company has been repurposed by the Bobs.
What happens here? Why do people suddenly examine their lives and make changes overnight that were seemingly impossible to do before?
The Depths of Change
Let’s view a human being as if they were the earth. On the surface or crust, we have our day to day thoughts. We can balance our checkbooks up here, make plans for the future etc. We shop on the surface, we look at Facebook up here, and do mundane work.
Below that, underneath the tectonic plates or our ego, lies our heart. From here a lot of important shit gets figured out. We fall in love here, as do we pick our football teams (go Giants) hobbies, likes, and interests. You don’t know why you do things from this area, and it may just seem like there are happenings that are out of your control. Who consciously chooses the person they fall in love with, or can explain why for you playing the violin is better than sex?
Down deeper though we get to the core – our gut. This is where the essence of our being lives. This is the grand poobah of areas. This is where shit gets real. Want to know how you’d react if someone broke into your house with a gun? It’s imprinted here. This is what you’d kill and die for. This is where you live when you’re at your most real when you truly don’t give a damn about what anyone or everyone else thinks. This is you – personified.
Piercing The Veil
Most of us try to make change from the surface. We try to get on our hands and knees and move the ground below us. That’s why it takes that proverbial 21 or however many days it takes to change a habit, and even then that change may not stick. We have to live the change we want to make day in and day out for a period of time and let it seep down into our core. Every time we consistently make an action, it drops a little bit deeper. Screw up and cheat and you get sent back up to the surface.
Then there are those events. The uber shitty ones, the ones that leave you crying on your bathroom floor for days on end. The ones that make you question the world you live in and the very order of it. Those events. They have the ability to pierce every layer and drill down into your center. They bypass your silly little brain, your emotionally unstable heart, and drive themselves right to the gooey magma of your being. While they’re there, those events shake things up. They have the potential to knock you off axis and bring you a gift of enormous proportions.
The gift is the pierced veil. The gift is the ability to make rapid and life-long changes. Changes that once seemed impossible or too overwhelming. When your figurative house gets ripped to the ground, it doesn’t seem like too much to suddenly and unequivocally quit drinking coffee, finally take up Salsa dancing, or stop jerking off to Internet porn.
People often are only willing to stop and analyze whether the orbit their planet has been circling in for the last however-many years is the one they want to stay in when they:
- Get fired
- Get dumped
- Have a near-death experience or receive a painful medical diagnosis
- Lose a loved one
All of the above are veil piercers, game changers, biggies. Recognize them for the huge potential they possess and use them to your advantage. Ignore them and you miss out on what could be your greatest gift.
One Day Stronger Action Steps
1. If you’re in a pierced-veil spot in your life, hang on. While you’re here, use your time wisely. Take stock of what needs to stay and what needs to go in your life and do some surgical housecleaning. This is a time of profound potential that can be used to make a massive positive change. Or squandered.
2. If you’re not in that spot but are still interested in making lasting changes, use the emotional currency that’s available to you. Ask yourself, “What would I do if I woke up tomorrow and found out I did have cancer? What changes would I make?” Then make them.
3. The universe has a sick sense of humor, and if you know you need to change your life, it has a funny way of aiding you in your decisions whether you want it to or not. Don’t wait for the rug to be pulled out from under you, or the sky to come crashing down. Making changes takes a beautiful cocktail of courage, compassion, and humility. Nothing however, tastes as good or has the ability to shape the rest of your life like the flavor of bravely made change.