Whether we call them resolutions, promises, initiatives or some other name, many of us are almost always in some stage of making changes to one or more aspects of our lives. We determine to quit bad habits, acquire good habits, eat less, save more, etc. You know the drill. 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.

If we change our way of thinking, we can change our way of seeing. And when we change our perspective on things, Grace follows.

However, 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.

Internal Change

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

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 in the silence.

It is difficult to silence our minds, especially in the early stages of meditation (and sometimes even in the latter stages), so don't try to suppress 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. 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.

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.

External Changes

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.

I ask that you take some negative event that has happened in your life and review it. I mean all of it.

I'll give you a short example taken from my life. 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.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

I ask 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 hope you have picked up some valuable insights related to change that will assist you as you make your way on your life journey. The exercises I suggested 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. Michael’s past life has been filled with challenges. He was born with a hole in his heart, was sexually abused during his early childhood, turned to alcohol and drugs for comfort, and ended up homeless in the New York City subway. In addition, Hoare has lost an unusually large number of loved ones to death: both parents by the time he was 16; his best friend 2 years later; and his fiancée died two weeks before their wedding date. Eleven months after his fiancée died, he learned that his daughter was battling cancer. Despite it all, and maybe because of it, Hoare can talk about his troubled past and how he came through it, thanks to a spiritual program called Ah-Man.

Central to the Ah-Man experience is being able to forgive oneself and to forgive others for past misgivings. The experiences that Hoare, a recovering alcoholic, describes in his book, “I Am Ah-Man,” are due in large part to the impulses of what Hoare terms “primordial man.” While Hoare admits that primordial man is not a bad guy, his actions are the result of instinct rather than the heart. Primordial feelings, he explains, include anger, fear, resentment, control, lust, jealousy, and suspicion.

To connect to Ah-Man, Hoare, a New York City native, had to change his habits and beliefs and ultimately surrender to them. That, he explains, is not an easy task. Why? Because both men and women, he says, are conditioned to conform to society’s expectations. For men, that may mean feeling the need to have the highest-paying jobs, purchase the largest homes, and maintain the lifestyles to match. For women, it could mean being just like men, and looking and acting a certain way, e.g., thin or sexy. But with trust, forgiveness and acceptance of ourselves, God and others, Hoare believes men and women can find a spiritual way of handling everyday life situations without getting sucked into them.

Through a series of seminars and one-to-one counseling sessions, Hoare teaches men and women to embrace the Ah-Man within them by creating a loving relationship with oneself, 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 be whole.

The second edition of his book, “Returning to WHOLENESS…Discovering Ah-Man,” will be published in Summer 2011.

Additional information on Ah-Man can be found at www.ah-man.com.