Out With the Old and In With the New? Our Old Friend Change.

True life is lived when tiny changes occur.
Leo Tolstoy

Here we are, those wild and wacky Gregorian Calendar users, about to embark upon another “new” year – full of hope for change – and possibly full of new year resolutions about our health, happiness, and yes, maybe even our sex lives. I have been pondering and observing what I call “organic change”…change that appears miraculously out of nowhere until you dig deeper and start to really examine how the change that seemed so abrupt and fixed, actually came about through small increments, ideally invoked by positive intentions, (unlike the slippery slope of addiction). In other words, “Rome was not built in a day”.

Speaking with a dear friend recently who told me that she had decided to limit herself to one glass of wine daily because, as she so aptly put it, “during the holidays, the increase of intake can happen rather quickly”. This declaration got me to thinking about how we make choices, not just choices about intoxicants or caloric intake, but also how we make choices on all other aspects of our lives; most notably, our relationships to people.

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.
Alan Watts

If you’ve followed my work over the years, you may have gleaned that I come from a not so “respectable” background wherein my wants and needs were clearly not acknowledged, let alone met with any consistency. It has been a lifelong learning curve to re-parent myself around my wants and needs in relationship to others. It is an ongoing process that continues to surprise me pleasantly sometimes and shock me unpleasantly at other times. To put it succinctly, change always offers an opportunity for growth, (and yes I know how cheesy, hollow, and unhelpful that may sound). If you have ever taken a workshop with me, you’ll also hear me say, “it’s not what you do, but how you do it”. Being shattered in relationship can allow for a rebuilding of the person you once thought you were. When we edify our “selves” (which is another giant gift worth unpacking), we become rigid grotesque caricatures of our once modifiable selves – but when we actively embrace change, even in baby steps, we allow for deliberate development. It’s an ongoing task, not one that ever goes away. It may be challenging at times, but it is also part of the life force. I would even argue that when we discourage change, we commit spiritual suicide.

If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
Maya Angelou

What’s exciting about a “new” year? Change. Hope: the prospect of things being “better”. What a finer way to invite the new year than to create the change we wish to see? I propose that in order to do so, we start small. An old soul and dear departed friend who was also deeply Buddhist taught me the way to change. He said, “if you shave your face/legs starting on the right side every day, simply change to your left and observe the change around you”. It’s not necessarily the big actions nor is it the heroic actions that invoke change, but quite possibly some very small nuggets of change the lift us up into a whole new world. Modifications can come in all packages: I will eat no sugar for 3 weeks, I will speak my gratitude each day for a month, I will do yoga daily for 7 days, I will no longer be in an intimate relationship with an emotionally inaccessible person. Whether we choose to omit, add, or diverge, if we do so with intention, an ability to observe, and finally a desire to allow, then change will also bring us much joy and love.

Since my life’s work is about helping people in their relationships with themselves and consequently others, let’s take a moment to consider what you would like to change in your relationship to sex and sexuality. Are you satisfying your sexual wants and needs? Are you seeking more intimacy with others? Do you have more than one intimate long-term relationship? How many of your relationships are sexual? How many are long term? And finally, how many of them feed your sense of well-being and your happiness? If these questions seem too big or overwhelming, I invite you to choose one and break the change down for yourself. Then ask yourself, what might the value be in that change and how you might proceed in manifesting it. As always, find some compassion for yourself also. Remember, you are your own best friend. Treat yourself so.

Best Wishes to us all, no matter what our calendar observance, and hooray for that inevitable  little friend we like to call change!