It requires great effort and determination to change ones behaviors, thoughts, opinions, ideas, feelings, attitudes. Those who embark on a path of change do so more or less out of desperation. It is not for the faint of heart but is certainly worth it. My brother John did such an undertaking and in my opinion came out on top. Although he would probably say he is a work in progress. But what progress he made. If you haven’t read my last post, The Changing Face of Relationships, check it out to see for yourself what the results of his work are at least in regard to our relationship.
The fact that he went on his own healing journey is important because without his work our new relationship would not have been possible. It took the two of us working on our own issues, facing our own demons, practicing forgiveness, for ourselves and others, to be able to move to a place of understanding and compassion. For John, he feels his path lead him to be more open-minded. And I see that this is true. One day I told him I hoped I would not offend anyone with my blog. That that was a concern of mine. He said, “All opinions are valuable.” When he says things like this, I feel validated and accepted, a rare thing indeed while I was growing up, which makes it all the more sweet. When I remarked on how compassionate his support is, he said, “It happens when someone grows up and learns something about life.” He is being humble here because I don’t think it just happens. I think he made it happen and I think it is commendable
John’s life was not easy, not just as a child but also as an adult. Of course, as with all our lives, that probably was his own doing. The trick is to recognize it and make the necessary changes. Part of John’s healing journey involved issues around his career goals. One thing that held John back was his disappointment when a door slammed in his face about a dream of his. He loved electronics, which back in the sixties was not like it is today.
I remember him up in his huge attic bedroom with electronic wires and components spread out all over putting together his own stereo receiver. One day I walked in and he asked me to tell him what color a wire was. “That’s green,” I said peering down where his finger was pointed in a maze of wires. I may have been laughing because I couldn’t understand why he was asking. He told me he was colorblind. He couldn’t discern certain colors, like green and red, or red and brown. This interfered with him connecting the different wires. He wished with all his heart to have a career in electronics but was told he couldn’t because of his of color blindness. It was essential to be able to distinguish the different color wires. He was trying to prove everyone wrong by making that receiver. It wasn’t working. He went into the Air Force hoping to get into the field that way. It didn’t happen. Most of his life was spent in grief over this loss.
After years of dead-end jobs and disappointments, he finally found a different avenue for his dreams, that is computer coding and web page design. He turned things around and realized that electronics wasn’t the only thing out there for him. It was not the only dream for him. He found his own north star which is what Martha Beck describes in her book titled oddly enough Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live. Martha Beck says that leading a life from your own north star as a compass puts you in contact with your bliss. Time spent in your bliss is effortless and flowing; you are living the life you were meant to live. John found this in his coding. He can spend hours working hard at his computer coding so engrossed he is unaware of the passage of time, thereby proving that one can reach their own north star at any age. Look at Gramdma Moses who started painting at age 76.
After years of learning and studying on his own and many hours logged in coding with no formal education, John teamed up with his good friend Chris Mattison and developed PuzzleAttic, “the internet’s premium jigsaw puzzle site providing free online fun for all ages”. If you like to do jigsaw puzzles or if you like photography this is the place to combine both. The newer version was just launched where you can upload your own photos and work them as a puzzle. He and Chris supply much of the pictures from their own photography. There are some pretty amazing photos there. Go ahead, stop over there and check it out for yourself. They are also on Facebook.
After these two posts focusing on changing, I am curious. What do you think? Have you changed your way of being? Have the changes you made lead to finding your own north star? If so, whether your change was over a long period of time, dramatic or not yet finished, why not take this survey I put together. Maybe it will give you insight or food for thought on changes in your own life.