Hello. Love your column. Adult child of an alcoholic here... Iíve done a lot of reading and a lot of thinking and still donít know what to do with the rest of my life, career, hobbies, or anything. I over think everything and donít make a move. I live in television, movies, and books. Is there a career in that, or is it just escapism?
I donít take any risks, and at 37 I donít know how to start. I am married but donít rock the boat on any level. If I meet resistance, I usually back down. I have big dreams, then talk myself down. Example: What if I wrote a novel, and it gets published? I donít want to travel too much and meet a lot of strangers. What if someone starts to stalk me? Or sues me? Or someone from my past writes something about me in a tabloid?
I donít start anything, so I canít finish anything. Just day-to-day work, and home week after week, year after year. I know there is so much more, but I am so afraid. Any advice would be appreciated.
Becky, how can I change? That is your question. Wayne often says when we donít know the right answer we donít know the wrong ones either. Lost in the woods, all directions seem equally plausible. If a person comes from a home with alcoholism, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse - if they were marginalized in any way growing up - this is their dilemma. How do I change?
Letís travel back in time 2300 years in search of an answer. In one corner of the world an idea is taking shape. The place is Greece , and the idea is this. We human beings are minds riding around atop a body. The mind is the center of reason and the body the center of our passions. Since we are rational animals, we can use will power to control the irrational part of ourselves and plot a good course through life.
If you had good parents and reasonable opportunities, this idea of using will power to change isnít too bad. But if you grew up in a home where you were marginalized, it doesnít work well at all. A better notion comes from India of the same period.
The Indian concept sees the mind and body as two aspects of one whole. To change, to break the pattern of unhealthy conditioning, we must restore the original flexibility we had when we arrived on the planet. Working with both mind and body we can completely alter consciousness.
Consider a block of ice. We cannot easily change the shape of a block of ice with will power. But if we restore the ice to its original form - water - we can refreeze it into almost any shape we desire. If we restore our mind and body to their original state, we can break our conditioning and transform our lives.
What does it mean to say you are the child of an alcoholic? It means you woke up each morning with a feeling of dread. You were afraid to speak, afraid to act, and doubted yourself. Your natural pattern of development was thwarted, so it took another path. You developed habits and patterns of thought you are now embarrassed, even humiliated, to discuss. But these can be changed.
Because change is such an important topic, we are going to discuss your letter over the next several weeks. But let me leave you with a thought from Julia Cameron, author of "The Artistís Way." When Cameron is approached by people who want to change, yet doubt they can, she often hears, "Do you know how old I will be by the time I do this?" Her reply is, "Yes... the same age you will be if you donít."
Next week Wayne will discuss the specifics of change.
Authors and columnists Wayne and Tamara Mitchell can be reached at www.WayneAndTamara.com.
Send letters to: Direct Answers, PO Box 964, Springfield, MO 65801 or email: DirectAnswers@WayneAndTamara.com.