I'm reading a book I'm really enjoying, If the Buddha Got Stuck; A Handbook for Change on a Spiritual Path by Charlotte Kasl, Ph.D. What I particularly like about it is that she presents seven "simple yet profound steps on the path to change." They are:
1. Notice When You're Stuck. "Be aware of your unrest, unhappiness, and longing for something richer, more balanced, and meaningful."
2. Show Up. "With curiosity and fascination, go beyond your prescribed life and explore the world beyond your usual--rituals, beliefs, and habits..."
3. Pay Attention. "Go deeper into the experience of inner awareness on a moment to moment, daily basis...You notice when you are tense, afraid, hungry, tired or in need of comfort...Paying attention is grounded in the body and expressed through these questions: What is right for me? What do I really want to do? What is my body telling me?
"You also start to notice your mind--how opposing voices argue, censor, judge, and reel off the same stories day after day. You become aware of the allegiance you pay to rules and beliefs --being nice is good, angry is bad, you should never talk back, you can't do that--and start to notice the limitations those thoughts create."
4. Live in Reality. "Sort out the past from the present. Is this flame of anger connected to my childhood or is it appropriate to this current situation? Am I feeling relaxed and clear--like a grownup--or uneasy and afraid like a child?"
5. Connect with Others, Connect with Life. "Genuine connections ease anxiety and help assuage our essential aloneness. They provide the secure base from which we can venture into scary places, celebrate our joys, and take risks, knowing someone is there either to cheer for us or catch us if we fall."
6. Move from Thought to Action. "Taking action becomes the process of how you live on a daily basis--from taking care of your body to signing up for a class, completing tasks, speaking out when someone is hurting you, getting out of bed early to take a walk, watering the plants before they wilt, throwing away the excess stuff that clutters your life. It's about movement, flow, energy, shifting, and shaking up the status quo.
7. Let Go. This step means that we stop grasping at all that is temporal--mind, thoughts, body, life situation--and experience being one with aliveness that penetrates all things. Instead of being the 'doer,' we experience an expression of life that flows through us.
So, what's holding you back? What step is most difficult? As Dr. Kasl asks, "What regrets would you have if today were your last?"