The idea of reinventing myself is an interesting concept. Invention refers to creative ability, but to “reinvent” means to change something so much that it appears entirely new.
Entirely new? Is that even possible?
Most of us try on new things. New clothes, new voices, new “favorites”, new friend groups. We try things on for size. To see if they fit. To see if we fit. And if we don’t, we move on. It’s not such a hard concept, trying things on. No harm, no foul.
The idea of reinvention is different. It implies that one has determined their prior state of being to be so entirely unacceptable as to require a complete makeover. It implies real change. Not just a new hat or a repurposed life.
Reinvention without transformation is just recycling.
So what’s the secret? Of transformation I mean.
How does a person transform themselves from one thing into an entirely new thing? Sounds painful to me. Then again, growing pains usually are.
And it has to be intentional, because what you focus on, you make room for. In other words, if I focus on listening to all the sad songs that remind me of lovers that have broken my heart, there will only be room for my broken heart. If I focus on memories of past abuses and injustice I will only have room for bitterness, anger and a misplaced sense of vengeance. It will feed its own wounds and keep them festering for a lifetime. If I listen to the negative self-talk that loops in my mind and heart I will be convinced that I am defined by others, by their thoughts or opinions of me or even themselves.
Transformation begins first in our thoughts.
This is no small task. Our mind is a powerful force that is not to be trifled with. It can be tricky. Manipulative. I’ve learned that often times although my mind knows what is right, I give my emotions the steering wheel and end up over a cliff. So I have to decide what I’m going to focus on. And I have to stop making room for bullshit people and bullshit things. I need to set my intentions and go toward the mountain.
“Go toward the mountain?” You ask. Well yes. Let me tell you a quick story.
About two years ago my then 16 year old son found me sitting on the kitchen floor of my too expensive riverside condo in tears. He wasn’t supposed to be home. I was supposed to be having my breakdown in peace. But providence knew better.
He climbed up into my blue chair. The one I write in. The one that has been my “thinking chair” for several years now. He patted his chest. Invited me in.
I sank into him and began to cry.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“I don’t know if I can do this.” I sobbed. “Live on my own. Make a living. Figure it out.”
My husband had moved out. Bought his own house. We’d decided on divorce several months prior. This was just the formal steps taking place. I was trying to get ready to move myself. Cleaning out cupboards. Organizing. Going through the motions, really.
My son, in his 16 year old, 80 year old wisdom said to me. “Well, what do you want to do?”
“I want to write.” I said. “I like being a nurse. It’s not that I don’t like it, and I’m thankful for my job. But what I really want is to write for a living. To travel and write.”
“Ok.” He said simply. “Then you need to go toward the mountain.”
“Writing is the mountain” he said simply.
I stopped crying momentarily. What was he trying to say? “But I have bills to pay. I have to get out of debt. I have to make a life.”
“Then do that.” He said. “But from now on, every decision you make, every thing that you do that takes you toward the mountain, you keep doing. Everything that (ultimately) takes you away from the mountain? You need to stop doing those things.”
I was floored. Speechless. Flabbergasted. How had I never seen this before? Never embraced this simple concept? And better yet, how the hell, at 16, did he understand this?
We kept a small white board on our fridge at the time. That night he drew me a picture on the white board to remind me of my quest. He has redone the picture several different times for me over the past couple of years, but I have always left it there, so that I see it every day.
Every day that I don’t feel like going to work.
Every day that I feel discouraged.
Every day that I want to feel sorry for myself and give up on my goals.
Every. Damn. Day.
Because that’s what it takes to transform your mind. Keeping the goal ever in front of you and changing your thought patterns. Reminding yourself that you aren’t your past, nor are you yet your future. You are now. And you’re going somewhere.
Since that conversation I have moved twice. Changed jobs. Changed cities. Been in love and had my heart broken.
I’ve bought a motorcycle and been to Spain and on many other trips because of the determination I have to travel and write. I’ve published my second novel (Finn, Again) with a third to be released within the coming months. I’m not willing to wait for my life to start. I’m still in debt, but I’m climbing out. Slowly. Surely. Consistently.
I am reinventing myself one step at a time.
This process is an undoing of bad habits. Habits of thought and deed. It is a putting on of freedom. A grasping hold of my own empowerment to live the way I want to live. It is often a scratching and a clawing toward the surface. A feeling of being buried underneath it all. But it is also a joy. A grace-filled journey with new friends, new experiences, surprising twists and turns. Taking on light and letting go of darkness.
So here I am.
Still blogging. Still writing. Still traveling. Still working.
Still, going toward the mountain.