At some point on our lives, typically January, most of us resolve to make profound changes in our lives. We resolve to quit bad habits, acquire good habits, eat less, save more, etc. You know the drill. While these are all good things to do, unfortunately, these are the types of superficial changes that mask the real changes that need to take place in our lives.

I am referring to profound changes in the way we perceive our experiences, and how those changes can be processed and filtered to improve our relationships with Self and others. Making these kinds of changes requires a huge effort that often takes us far beyond our respective comfort zones. I hope that by exploring this journey of change together, the path will be made easier for each of us as individuals.

I've spent a lot of time reflecting on the theme of "change." If we change our way of thinking, we can change our way of seeing. And when we change our perspective on things, Grace follows.

Until you feel good about yourself by making some internal changes, you won't achieve lasting results with the external changes you make in your life.

Start by taking baby steps toward making internal changes in your relationship with Self.

Start with the "Small" Stuff

You are probably familiar with the saying "don't sweat the small stuff." Overall, that's pretty good advice. Sometimes, however, the small stuff is not so small, and we really must address (or "sweat") it, in order to get rid of it and make room for the blessings.

One way to get rid of that small stuff is to add prayer and meditation to your day. This suggestion is not just for religious people, but for spiritual people, as well. It has been said that prayer is simply us talking to God, while meditation is listening to God through His/Her names (mantras, chants, prayers) eventually followed by silence.

It is difficult to silence our minds, especially in the early stages of meditation (and sometimes even in the later stages), so don't try to stop the thoughts that come up. Just let them pass through your mind. Imagine yourself waiting for traffic to slow down so that you can cross the road. Eventually, there will be a break in the traffic and you will be able to cross.

This is done by listening to those mantras, chants and or prayers and in between those focusing on the space/silence between.

There is an old saying that goes something like this: Trying to control the thoughts in your mind during meditation is like wrestling with a pig in the mud. Two things are accomplished: first, you get dirty; and second, the pig likes it. So when the mind drifts to thoughts, refocus it on the mantras, chants and or prayers.

I encourage you to start your day with 10 minutes spent in prayer and silence. A carpenter would not start a job without his tools, so why would you start your day without yours? In the silence, we connect to our innermost Self; our heart. The prophets and great teachers have told us that the heart is the place where we can find our true nature.

Shake Up the Old Routine

There are also external changes we can make in our lives.

Our lives are made up of a series of routines that are sometimes so ingrained that we no longer recognize them as routines. They are simply there as a part of our daily lives. That's why changing a routine might require some real thought and consideration.

But once you identify those routines, it is fairly easy to make changes to some of them. You could switch the order in which you shave and shower. Brush your teeth before you wash your face or vice versa. Dress yourself by putting on sock, shoe, sock, shoe, instead of sock, sock, shoe, shoe. Order takeout on a different evening. Go grocery shopping at night, instead of during the day. Take a different route to work, or use a different mode of transportation.

The possibilities for change to your routine are endless.

But it does not really matter what routine you change. What matters is that you do something . . . anything . . . differently, and that you notice how it feels, the new things you see, the new people you encounter, etc. Take it all in and really feel the difference that a change in routine can make in your life.

Change (and Embrace) Your Perspective

In my book, Returning to WHOLENESS…Discovering Ah-Man, I give examples of some things that have happened in my life during the past 30 years or so. Most folks would consider these things to be very tragic. However, because of the changes I incorporated into my life, I was able to view these unfortunate events in a different light.

Similarly, I ask that you take some event that has happened in your life and review it. I mean all of it. (I would note here that you should be kind to yourself and start with an event of lesser, rather than larger, scope.)

I'll give you a short example taken from my life that is not described in my book. My parents died within six months of each other: first my Dad when I was 15; then my Mom when I was 16. Both my parents died of cirrhosis of the liver. Because they each suffered from the progressive disease of alcoholism, they had been incapable of taking proper care of me for quite a while. Later in life, when I was able to look at the bigger picture, I was able to see that the need to fend for myself at such an early age led to me developing into the person I ultimately became.

I did not (or felt that I could not) rely on others. I went out and did things for myself. I worked very hard to accomplish my goals because I knew there was no one (or so I thought at the time) to help me. At the same time, I went out of my way to help others who were in similar situations. This is a huge positive that came out of a negative experience early in life.

I ask you to try and look beyond the hurt or resentment of any one experience. Try to pull back and look at the big picture to see how the situation has made you a better person. You will find something positive there. Believe me. Everything happens for a purpose.

There is a wonderful saying a Mystic teacher had told me once:
“Nothing happens to us, Everything happens for us”

Change Your Perspective on Someone in Your Life

I’ve asked you to change the way you perceive certain experiences in your life, and now I'm asking you to embrace another change in perspective, and I am guessing that this will be a tougher challenge.

We all have people in our lives that we just automatically pre-judge, often for no concrete reason. Inevitably, these folks end up on a list of people we don't really care for, even though we have not really taken the time to get to know them or find out what makes them tick. But who are these people really? What are they like? Why do they rub us the wrong way? Why do we have such a visceral reaction to them?

Getting the answers to these questions could very well require us to step outside of our respective comfort zones. And believe me when I say that I know what a tremendous challenge it is to step outside the comfort zone. But I promise you that the trip will be worth every bit of discomfort and angst you may feel.

I believe that there are no coincidences. Every person in your life is there for a purpose; they have something to offer you. I challenge you to pick someone on your list and make it your business to learn something about them and really absorb it. Then determine how what you have learned impacts your life. I guarantee that what you learn will in some way change your perspective on that individual.

I have shared a few valuable resources related to change that will assist you as you make your way on your life journey. These tools will bring you closer to discovering the secret of being human. May you feel the presence of The Divine Mother, Heavenly Father, and Friend Beloved God walking beside you on this journey every moment.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Hoare, D.D., is an author, minister and certified Angel Therapy Practitioner. He is the author of “Returning to WHOLENESS… Discovering Ah-Man,” which chronicles his journey to recovery and redemption and the founding of his spiritual recovery program: Ah-Man. Through a series of retreats and one-on-one counseling sessions, Hoare teaches men and women to embrace the Ah-Man within them by creating a loving relationship with one’s self, God and others; openness with other people; a sense of integrity; and the ability to communicate; all by incorporating trust, forgiveness and acceptance, thus allowing them to reach spiritual recovery and wholeness while attaining personal healing. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.