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Day 163: Where Change Starts

“Keep constantly in mind in how many things you yourself have witnessed changes already. The universe is change, life is understanding”. –Marcus Aurelius

One of the most profound wonders of raising children is the seemingly effortless capacity of change that comes within the territory of childhood. Before your eyes and not infrequently over night, my children will wake up changed. Sometimes it is their physical stature, suddenly a quarter inch taller. More subtle to they eye, but apparent in the breakfast conversation is a change of heart or new way of seeing.

The childhood willingness towards the inevitable shifts and changes that define growing up is a teacher for me that I want to heed with more grace. Carl Rogers said “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Coming to terms with both myself- both my gifts and my shortcomings is the open gate to shifting both my attitudes and behaviors towards life’s ups and downs.

For a very long time, I focused my efforts on effecting change out in the world. My sense of injustice, needs for recognition, and aspirations for myself would manifest in a variety of attempts to change aspects of the world and my relationships. I didn’t realize then that the real change in your life starts inside. Solutions to our individual and collective problems are not out there, they are found in our deepest inner voices. The ones that we can hear only when we stop listening out there.

Maybe that’s why my kids don’t listen to me. They are listening for themselves.