“I see your life as already artful, just waiting and ready for you to make it art.”
— Toni Morrison
For many people the question “Are you ready” brings up the idea of a goal they want to achieve, or some challenge they may be facing. In the case of a natural disaster the question rhetorically is asking are you prepared?
Am I ready is a important question we often ask ourself. Especially when we are starting a new relationship, starting our own business. starting a diet, taking control of our life, starting a new job, becoming who we truly are or in any seen or unforeseen change that might occur.
Rather than addressing the important issue of how to be ready, this post is inviting you to consider the various stages that are involved in the process of readiness, pre and post the physical action stage.
Ready is a question that usually implies immediate action. One of the definitions offered by Merriam Dictionary is “prepared mentally or physically for some experience or action; prepared for immediate use…”
Here are a few examples of the use of ready:
“I’ll be ready in 10 minutes.”
“Can we leave now?” “I’m ready when you are.”
“Your prescription will be ready in about 20 minutes.”
The car won’t be ready until tomorrow.”
“We got everything ready for the party before the guests arrived.”
The common and legitimate expectation in our culture is that ready equals action. One example of this is illustrated by this excerpt from Elon University which clearly outlines their expectations to new students:
“Are You Ready?”
- “Are you ready to be introduced to and challenged by….”
- “Are you ready to discover and debate the intersections…”
- “Are you ready to share your ideas and openly explore…”
- “Are you ready to passionately and respectfully engage with…”
- “Are you ready to be an Elon university citizen, helping to sustain…” Concluding with,“We expect you are ready…”
Recently I had an inner nudging to update my License Unity Teacher certification which would allow me to offer classes for credit to those who are considering a path to ministry.
I must confess having been retired from public ministry for 6 years “Am I ready to begin publicly teaching classes again?” is a question I began asking myself.
Gratefully I have released asking that question and have moved forward. However, the perspective held by many in our culture is, you will know because of the action you take.
A Different Perspective
In the research for the e-book that I’m creating I came across an interesting description of readiness that gives a different perspective.
If you tend to mentally beat yourself up with questioning whether you are ready or not when you are considering or preparing for change, I believe you will appreciate Dr. James Prochaska’s, psychologist, concept of change in stages.
Rather than a yes, no, or maybe answer, Prochaska, presents a model of change that differs from most change programs like stop smoking, dieting, etc.,where taking action is the first step. He invites us to consider the following stages:
Pre-contemplation: These people have rejected change or are thinking about making a change at some point in the future.
Contemplation: These people are thinking about making the change in the near future and seek support.
Planning: These people are preparing to make a change soon.
Action: These people have done their research and are ready to take steps to put their plan into action.
Maintenance: These people are realistic about the dangers of relapsing into their old behaviors and about compassionately dealing with setbacks.
Termination: Using the tools and resources available in managing the stress of change, these people are not the least bit tempted to go back to their old behavior.
Recognizing where you are in this model of change supports you in compassionate awareness of and acceptance of the stage you are in.
That being said, If you are wanting to anchor a behavior change, then I recommend giving yourself a minimum of 90 days or as long as it takes. When you lapse from your holy intention, this is the time to be especially kind and compassionate with yourself.
Releasing Thoughts That Block Action
It is also important to acknowledge that our thoughts can block us from taking the positive action required to take us to the next stage. As we know, repetitive thoughts and words create new beliefs, beliefs create actions, actions create behaviors, behaviors create experiences, and experiences create our destiny.
Folks who study this kind of phenomenon, say that the average person thinks more than 60,000 thoughts a day and most of these thoughts are repetitive.
In noticing your thinking patterns, you may discover they are not in alignment with the change you want to make or with your core values.This awareness provides you with the opportunity to replace them with thoughts, affirmations and behaviors that are harmonious with what is wanting to emerge as your true radiant authentic self.
Awareness is the first step to change.
Most negative thoughts aren’t conscious, we’re not even aware of them. Nevertheless, everyone at times has negative thoughts, but mentally strong people don’t let those thoughts hold them back or drag them down.
Instead, they respond to their pessimistic predictions and harsh criticisms with a more productive inner dialogue. They stay motivated to do their best by talking to themselves like a trusted friend or a helpful coach.
Marisa Murgatroyd, founder of Live Your Messages, recommends these shifts in mindsets:
How you frame whether or not you are ready. Instead of saying “I’m not ready.” say “I’m as ready as I’m ever going to be.” Take action and keep taking the next step. Allow your self to grow into your Image of success.
Dealing with overwhelm. Re-frame the feeling of anxiety to, “I am up against my growing edge.” Embrace that feeling. Learn to compartmentalize and focus. Focus on one thing and make that the one thing.
How do you schedule your time? Parkinson’s law says work expands to the time allowed for it. Instead of trying to figure out what to do next learn to expand your capacity. Shift the mindset from, “I’ve only got an hour to get this done” and reframe it to “Wow, I’ve got a whole hour to get this done.” Commit this to yourself and to serve. Serve your needs rather than serving the needs of others through their emails and phone calls during your scheduled time.
Language changes: There are bridge words and there are roadblock words. You could say, “I’m broke”, or you can say, “I’m resourceful, I’m capable.” You could say, “how can I ever afford this?” Or you can change it to “I’m committed to moving forward.”
Let your words be instrumental in bringing forth the highest good you desire. Speech is an intermediate step in the creative process between thought and action or material substance.
With practice, and a little bit of disciplined effort, you can learn to direct your thoughts to only those that will support the manifestation of your chosen dreams and goals. As the scripture asserts, “So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead.”:
As I modify Elon University’s example of expressed expectations to new students, and a Marianne Williamson’s quote, let me ask you:
- Are you ready to be challenged by what it means to be in the world as the brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous child of God that you are?
- Are you ready to hold the paradox of oneness rather than an us versus them in consciousness?
- Are you ready to let go of the victim mentality and cease playing small?
- Are you ready to be the powerful person you have come here to be?
- Are you ready to passionately make manifest the glory of God? Concluding with, The Universe expects you are ready.
What is calling you or nudging you to move forward in your life? Are you ready to say, “I’M AS READY AS I’LL EVER BE!”
I love this encouraging word from Confucius, “It doesn’t matter how slow you go as long as you don’t stop.”
As we know, we are what we think all day long. Let’s align ourselves with the Infinite Source of Life and let Life flow through us as right action and true expression.
I love hearing from you. Are you considering some new change? At what stage of action are you?
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LOL = Lots Of Love