“When people are ready to, they change. They never do it before then, and sometimes they die before they get around to it. You can’t make them change if they don’t want to, just like when they do want to, you can’t stop them.“ – Andy Warhol
What needs to change? Wow! That's a loaded question. Or perhaps not loaded so much as extensive!
If we were to start with a list of what needs to change, it could go on forever. Or at least my list could. I have a tendency (which some appreciate and some abhor) to always want to improve things. I rarely see a thing, if I stop to think about it, that I can't come up with some way it could be improved.
Some see that as criticism, I see it as constructive. (Yeah, I know, it's called constructive criticism. Point taken.)
To Change or Not To Change? That's Not The Question!
Everything is always in a state of change. (Ask the Greek philosopher who reportedly said: "Everything changes and nothing stands still.") Of course we know this is true when we look at nature. Anything that is alive is constantly changing. And that applies to humans as well.
And since everything is always changing... it either gets better or worse. There's no other choice... up or down... Growth or decay. Nothing is stagnant. It's either improving or disintegrating. So then we get to decide... which way do we want to change? In the "getting worse" or the "getting better" way? Personally I opt for getting better, and I imagine you're with me on this one.
Choosing to Age... or Not!
The wonderful thing is that we always have a choice, even when dealing with aging! Now there's a loaded topic! Most people simply accept that as they age they will get worse. Yet if we look at vintage model cars, we see that that's not always the case. Just think of those old Model-T cars that have been lovingly taken care of by their owners and that get proudly paraded with other antiques at special occasions. They look brand new, and they run perfectly, perhaps even better than when they were made.
Of course if you have an old car that you've never taken care of, it will rust, and its parts will break down one by one, until eventually it "dies". And aren't we the same? Our body is the vehicle for our spirit, for our energy... Our body has many parts, many functions, and it needs certain nutrients as well as lots of tender loving care to keep it in prime condition.
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But when we feed it dead and chemically-laden processed foods, and when we constantly feed it negative thoughts, we get the same results as when we put bad gas in our car. It sputters, the engine knocks, it just doesn't work the way it's designed to work.
I personally am refusing to age! Yes, you heard me! I refuse to become like many I see around me (bless their heart). I refuse to accept that a degrading body and degrading health is the only way to go. I choose instead to pick as role models men and women that are still doing yoga in their 90s, who are still riding bicycles in their 90s, who are still dancing and loving in their 90s... and maybe even their 100s.
But of course in order to attain that goal, I have to change certain things in my behavior. Actually, I have to first change my attitude and my thoughts, then my behavior.
What Has To Change?
So what has to change in order for me (and you as well if you want to come along on that journey) to remain healthy and active into our 90s (or more)? Well, posture and spine flexibility is one thing I've always been aware of. I recall as a teenager seeing my grandmother shrink each time I saw her... I was also getting taller I suppose, thus making her seem shorter, but it nevertheless impressed on me the necessity of keeping my back straight so I didn't end up with a curved spine like she did.
What else has to change? I have to make sure I don't fall into a sedentary lifestyle. Sitting around all day at the computer, in front of a screen watching "the funnies" or movies. Movement is essential. If you leave any piece of equipment unused for a long time, it starts deteriorating. The battery dies, the parts rust in place. It's the same with us. If we're not active, our battery starts being low on energy, and our parts start breaking down, and we're told our parts need replacing (knee replacement anyone?).
I also used to think that food was the most important requirement to extend longevity. While it certainly is important, I think our attitude is of even greater importance. If we have an attitude of daily joyful expectancy, I believe we live longer than if we have a sourpuss attitude. (And if not, well at least our life will be more enjoyable.)
Having a Sense of Purpose
What else needs to change? I think it's important to have a sense of purpose, a feeling that we are contributing to the whole. If you don't have that in your daily job, then perhaps you have it at home with your family. Or perhaps you have groups that you belong to, or volunteer with, that provide you with a sense of purpose, a feeling of making a difference in the world or in someone's life. That's important. If you're just spinning your wheels in place, you won't have the motivation to want to be here, on Planet Earth, much longer. And if you have no sense of purpose, no reason to be here, then you may decide (consciously or not) to check out sooner than you really have to.
And of course, the list can go on and on... So many things need changing or improving or harmonizing in our own being and on our planet. Each one of us has a part to play in the future of life as we know it. If we start tuning in to our heart and doing what feels loving (rather than what feels safe) we will be on the way to helping change happen.
Perhaps we can be inspired by these lyrics in the song "The Reason" by Hoobastank:
I've found a reason for me
To change who I used to be
A reason to start over new
and the reason is you
I've found a reason to show
A side of me you didn't know
A reason for all that I do
And the reason is you
Whether the "you" is our own selves, our loved ones, or our beautiful Planet.
All for one... One for all...
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About The Author
Marie T. Russell is the founder of InnerSelf Magazine (founded 1985). She also produced and hosted a weekly South Florida radio broadcast, Inner Power, from 1992-1995 which focused on themes such as self-esteem, personal growth, and well-being. Her articles focus on transformation and reconnecting with our own inner source of joy and creativity.
Creative Commons 3.0: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Attribute the author: Marie T. Russell, InnerSelf.com. Link back to the article: This article originally appeared on InnerSelf.com