Paradigm Shift

The last time I was verging on writing an entry, likely about two years ago, this is the intro that was penned out from an undated draft:

“Get a life. These three small words form a pretty basic statement, but its meaning can actually be quite impactful. And I’m not talking about its more common sassily-expressed equivalent that is used as a pre-teen taunt; removing all sarcasm out of it, to actually possess a rich, diverse, and fulfilling life is so important, yet it is also something that can be a struggle to obtain.”

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Ironic the timing of this third wave of realizing that I wanted to start writing here again — that is exactly what I have done. Two and a half years of living in a new city, a plane ride away from everything that I’ve ever known, I would have never guessed that I’d be standing – no, leaping – on my own two feet after enduring so many huge life changes in such a condensed stretch of time, and doing so with so much clarity, contentment, even elation, in a way that is so foreign, yet familiar to me all at the same time.

How is all of this possible? I like to look at it as a rebirth into the life that I knew I always wanted to live, but never gave myself the permission to. Though there is a time and a place for everything, and I know it’s simply because I wasn’t ready for it yet. And that’s why we endure, experience and explore, to get to where we are supposed to be.

I’ve been going and going and going nonstop, and after finally being forced to slow down and stop for a week, literally, after getting hit by some form of seasonal sickness, I’ve been given an opportunity to pause and reflect. In this time, there are two confluences of ideas that I found represent my specific transformation, and they fall somewhere on the spectrum of an identity shift and stretch all the way to being a full-fledged paradigm shift.

What do these mean to me?

Identity: Something used to define oneself by; the essence of who a person is, in one’s purest form. Society generally associates this with what you do, whether it’s work, or hobbies, or who and what you surround yourself by, but if you dig a little deeper, that’s where one’s true identity lives. It’s the qualities, beliefs, core of a person. When you walk into a room, it’s what people see, right off the bat; it’s what they feel emitting from every single pore of who you are.

Shift: A central adjustment. To move to a different place or position; to change an opinion or belief. An alteration like this is generally more subtle, that it can oftentimes go unnoticed upon first glance since it usually happens over an extended period of time, both internally and externally. Though, when comparing the full-circle former and current state, it is lucid, robust and undeniable.

I have always been someone who knows exactly what my essence is. I emit energy, and positivity, lightheartedness, laughter, sincerity and warmth. Joy, at the heart of it all. But what I did not see until recently was my sense of adventure, curiosity, and my willingness to take risks, be brave, even do things that terrified me at one point in time. Facing fears, feeling the anxiety, and doing it anyway. Soon enough, this unease becomes exhilaration, even comfort, to the point where any sense of regularity or stability feels abnormal, even bland.

How is this possible? Especially, coming from somebody who had always craved stability, comfort and consistency. Knowing.

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Therein comes the paradigm shift:

A radical change in thinking from an accepted point of view to a new belief. It’s a revolution, a transformation, a full-blown metamorphosis. It does not have the ability to be as subtle and internal as an identity shift, and it does not just happen, out of the blue without lots of rumblings to induce it to be. It is driven by agents of change, propelling particular view points or perspectives towards particular things to completely change in a flash of time.

It’s a funny thing that made me realize that this had happened to me; I mean, besides the fact that I essentially started living a new life, like literally, everything: new relationship status and knowledge of what I foresaw and knew my future to be, new roof over my head, new “work” reality and vision, and new everyday everything in a matter of a month. My mom said something that resonated with me after a night out, way past my former bedtime: “I don’t even know who you are anymore!” It was then when I thought: do I even know who I am anymore?

And then we go back to the concept of identity. Yes, I know who I am, 100%, I’ve actually never been so sure of that. It’s just my paradigm that has flip-flopped, like some sort of magician pulled a rabbit out of a hat and was like, “voila, there she is!” And there I was, a free bird, navigating my new wings with a sense of carefree wonder that I can’t remember the last time that I felt.

*Helen Ready is my personal rockstar. I have memories of my sister and I belting out “I Am Woman” on our in-home karaoke machine. That lady’s got the chops, and she knows what this is all about.

I was recently made aware of and instructed to reflect on my defenses (thanks Dan Lewis), which are essentially, those traits that block our essence from radiating into every room that we step into. For me, these blocks are made up of timidity, unassuredness, inflexibility, stubbornness, insecurity, internalization, overthinking, overanalyzing, – essentially, completely the opposite of just being present, and not getting stuck in a ball of words that were happening somewhere up in my non-stop, overzealous mind. We as humans are constantly evolving, and I will not at all claim to be an expert in, well anything really, but I will say that once I truly identified that the source of my being stuck was living somewhere up in my head, ultimately, I started getting a life. And then life actually happened.

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*Smile Tip #10:* When you have a fundamental change in thinking, leading to a whole new way of behaving, a smile feels like a brand new experience. Like the first time you learn to walk (if I even really remember what that would have felt like) it’s totally different. It’s amazing. Don’t believe me? You should try it. But you’ve got to dig deep, and be willing to do a lot of soul-searching. It won’t be easy – don’t say I didn’t warn you.