Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my grandparents’ house. My grandpa built the house himself without a blueprint, something that never ceases to amaze me. I mean, how the heck do you just up and build a house without so much as doodling a little floor plan?

Clearly, my grandpa had skills. He knew how to build things, and he knew how to fix things.

Curiously, though, chronically broken things were a common theme in my grandparents’ life. For as far back as I can remember, half of the stove range was simply used for storage space because it didn’t work, and the oven door always had a wedge of aluminum foil so it would stay (somewhat) closed.

In and of themselves, these little details don’t mean much, but looking at my own life I can see that I absorbed whatever false beliefs were fueling the half-working stove top and the wonky oven door, and those beliefs dictated a huge chunk of my behavior for decades.

If I had to boil those beliefs down into a sound bite, it would be: “Chronic pain is better than conscious change.”

For years, I would put off changing this or changing that, simply because dealing with the chronic annoyance of my phone not working very well or a friendship that was draining more often than not seemed “easier” than deciding to change.

What I’m learning is that this equation of choosing chronic pain over conscious change never adds up.

It’s never really easier to keep eating crappy food because it’s available. Your body depends on food to do everything, so you are making every cellular moment of your life less easy when you fuel your body with crap it can’t use.

It’s never really easier to put off fixing that broken whatever. Every time you have to use it, you’re making all of these minor (or major) adjustments to compensate that eat up time and energy.

It’s never really easier to stay in that broken relationship. Whether it’s a matter of finally opening up the lines of communication or leaving the relationship entirely, choosing a state of chronic “not quite rightness” is like opening up a drain hole in your energy. Little by little, there it goes, swirling down the drain.

Ironically, what I thought would be harder–choosing conscious change–has been miraculously easy.

First, in simple ways: just paying someone to fix my damn phone. The phone was good as new in, oh, ten minutes. Do the math: ten minutes and $40 one time compared to coming up with creative workarounds for a partially working phone at least a dozen times a day. Energy reclaimed.

And then in bigger ways: staying in relationships that felt draining and obligatory for years or cutting ties and moving on. I can’t even begin to quantify how much energy I reclaimed by doing this. The fact that I suddenly had enough energy to fuel the creation of a second business and go back to school gives you a good idea of the magic-wand-waving power of conscious change.

What I’ve noticed, too, is that conscious change is often simply a matter of allowing, of getting out of the way. 

For months, I had stood in the way of a working phone by resisting going to get it fixed. I put a fair amount of energy into reasoning why this was a good idea and choosing my time-sucking workarounds when I needed to use the phone.

But when I consciously chose change, it was like change had been waiting outside the entire time and all I had to do was open the door. My husband “just happened” to have the name of a good repair place, which “just happened” to be really close to our house, and the repair guy “just happened” to have everything he needed to get the repair done in ten minutes. Easy.

It sounds silly when we’re talking about a phone, but I’ve experienced the same in relationships. I spent countless hours devoted to relationships that left me feeling drained, afraid that there wouldn’t be anything better, that it was preferable to being alone. But when I consciously chose change, I opened the door for new relationships to enter my life, and I am continually amazed at how blessed I am with truly intimate and mutually satisfying connections now.

Intend, right now, to let go of chronic pain in favor of conscious change. 

It is so much easier than you think, love.

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