People sometimes say that they have been interested in personal change for many years. They’ve read the books and taken the seminars, but for some reasons or others, they have just not been able to begin the “real work.”
Where do I start?
What do I do first?
When is the best time to get started?
The best answer I have is “Start where you are. Dive right in! and there is no time like Right Now.”
Easier said than done, right? But really, you have no choice. You cannot begin anywhere other than where you are, and you cannot act in any time except the present moment. So wherever you are, whenever you are, is perfect.
Now, diving in is a different matter. It takes fierce courage and determination to cut through old beliefs and patterns to effect change. You can begin in the shallow end if you want to. Yet real change will not happen until you are deep in it, well over your head, overwhelmed. Your old beliefs, your old way of being in the world changes. In a sense, your old self drowns so you can swim.
Stepping into the shallow end of the pool is generally OK. It is relatively warm and you can wade about freely. A little deeper is fun. You can swim, duck under the surface, and be assured that you can come up at any time. You are still in control, still in your place of mastery.
At a certain point as you go into the deeper water you realize that the bottom of the pool is not quite as accessible anymore. You can no longer be certain of your footing, and you cannot stand with your head above the surface. You notice that the deeper water is actually tugging at you, pulling you even deeper!
It is then that many make their way back to shallower, safer water, or leave the pool entirely. Some determined few, however, continue onward, knowing full well what lies ahead. For them, it is finally time either to swim or to die.
It is true that personal development work cannot be controlled. The ways in which your life will change are unpredictable. Unless you are ready for change in every aspect of your life, you will undoubtedly encounter the strong desire to give up, to leave the pool entirely.
Perhaps knowing this, others choose a different way: Diving right in. The only way for them is to commit, to dive right into the deep end and all that might entail. It is a fearsome, courageous act, which pits them against everything that has ever stood in their way all at once.
Many times, they are some of those who have tried the slower, “safer” way and decided to leave the pool. Perhaps they read the books and took the workshops, but could never quite find the way to integrate the information into daily experience. Everyday demands and routines are powerful distractions. Or perhaps their lives began to change in very uncomfortable ways that forced them out … temporarily.
The reason you are reading this article is that you feel the pull, the inexorable need for change in your life, for your personal growth and development. The urge is both seductive and demanding, and the time is always now. The place to begin is always right where you are.
The only question is whether to begin in the shallow end, determined to make it into the deep water or to dive right in. The reality is that it doesn’t matter. There is no right choice, only your choice. And it also doesn’t matter if you have tried before and given up. You will return to the pool one way or another.
Once you begin the journey of self-discovery, you can never really stop, can you?