The Secret to Lasting Change

This will be easy, but I’m going to whisper it for dramatic effect: there is no secret. Now don’t run off in a huff, thinking I’ve misled you with my post title and you’ve arrived here only to waste your valuable time. I have the answer you’re looking for, it’s just that it’s not a secret. None of the answers to the questions you’re looking for are innovative new secrets, nor are they the wisdom of one person or the brainchild of the world’s latest prodigy. They’ve been hanging around for eternity, simply waiting to become visible to you through words or symbolism that will reach you, the individual. Once you begin to seek your answers earnestly, you will be shown that which had formerly been imperceptible to you. In other words, it was always there; you just weren’t aware of it. Kind of like Dorothy already having the power to get back to Kansas- she didn’t actually “earn” it by journeying down the yellow brick road, but she couldn’t believe that she had the power without having made the journey. If you’re far enough along on your journey to understand, or at least begin to understand the magnitude of your power, you’re ready to learn of all the non-secret secrets just waiting for your discovery. Yes, it’s exciting. And terrifying. And that leads me right back to where we started. Gotta love the way the universe works!  

The secret to lasting change is having the will and discipline to open yourself up to discomfort. -LA Holmberg

It’s so simple, right? But simple and easy are two different things. If it was easy, everyone would embrace the act. It’s difficult. It’s not only difficult, it’s damn difficult. At certain levels it is excruciating. And it’s mind-boggling, because before you make a conscious effort to get uncomfortable, you probably weren’t even aware of the fact that you were comfortable in the first place! I know I wasn’t. But since I don’t expect you to take my word for life strategies I advocate without diving in myself first and then fully sharing my own experience- no holds barred- allow me to share what has been my most challenging effort in getting uncomfortable:

no drinking

On October 22, 2016 I decided that beginning the next day, I would not drink alcohol in any form for the next year. Or possibly forever, depending on where I was led. As it would happen, what I was clearly shown to be a one-day-at-a-time endeavor has now become nearly 3.8 years of sobriety. Before making that decision, I had drunk one neat shot of 100% pure agave tequila (the really good stuff- it burns cleaner) in an effort to calm my overly sensitive/hyper/perpetually wound-up self down. I was irritated about something and I wanted calming. I didn’t finish the bottle or even have another- just the one. Full disclosure: Considering I’m buzzed up on one and drunk on two, that’s not entirely a difficult feat for me. It wasn’t noon yet, but what the clock says is rarely of consequence to me, being that I’m generally up by 4am and my 11am could be another person’s 2pm, so I’ve never understood wtf that has to do with anything. I drank my shot, felt the warmth and calm that my friend provided and decided it was TIME. So that time was the last time. Please note, this final decision was not an overnight one, but one based on much thought after having first been laid on my heart quite some time ago. I had begun the weeding-out process in my life and alcohol was not the first “friend” it had become necessary to distance myself from, both literally and figuratively speaking. Was I an alcoholic? No. Did I abuse alcohol? Yeah. Absolutely. Truth be told, I’m a sensitive type with an addictive nature. But I’m tricky about it! If I sense that one thing is getting too big of a hold on me, I’ll replace it with something else. Throughout the years, this has included many of the usual suspects many people abuse: sex, food, alcohol, etc… It’s not that I do any of them to the extreme excess that most would see it as a “problem”, it’s that I would continually rotate one method or another of keeping myself comfortable. Until the day I realized that what I needed more than comfort was freedom. Freedom from the “friends” that were not actually comforting me at all, but enslaving me. I wanted clarity. That clarity would not come from perpetually blanketing myself in comfort.

This is not about the drinking. It’s not about overeating or having indiscriminate sex, or any ONE thing. It’s about understanding that until you’re willing to stop doing the thing that’s blinding you to the thing that your unconscious, fearful self is too afraid to let your conscious self feel, you’ll be sleepwalking through a portion of your life. Ask yourself if that’s what you want. If it’s not, then you have taken the first step in getting uncomfortable- being honest with yourself about what you want most. And armed with that knowledge and a willingness to feel, you’ve begun the journey to get it.

Grandma Margie’s White Bread

Generally, I watch my bread intake and keep it to a minimum. Therefore, when I’m going to have some bread, I want some BREAD! This is the good stuff- the wonderful bread that I knew from my grandma’s home, passed to her daughters’ homes, then later to their children’s homes, and then to THEIR children’s homes, and so on and so on…

Grandma Margie's White Bread

  • Servings: 3- 8 inch loaves or 2- 9 inch loaves
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2  1/2 cups hot water (divided)

3 TBS. Yeast (or 3 pkts)

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter or margarine (melted)

1 TBS. salt

over 6 cups flour (no exact amt.)

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup hot water in a large bowl (I use a kitchen aid mixer bowl because I’ll be using the k.a. mixer for this) sprinkle in sugar and 1/2 cup of the flour. Let rest 5 minutes til bubbly. (During this time, grease a large bowl that you will put your finished dough in. Set it aside) Add 6 cups flour, melted butter and 1 TBS. salt to the yeast mixture. Attach to mixing stand and attach dough hook. Run mixer on low speed (1) while pouring 2 cups remaining water in. When it has mixed up well, turn up speed to (2) and sprinkle in more flour in small portions until the dough has all pulled away from the sides. Yes, this is the tricky part. You don’t want to add too much flour, but it can’t be too sticky either. You will eventually be able to eyeball this and get a feel for what you are doing. Trial and error my friend, trial and error. Don’t get discouraged. When all your dough is pulling away from the sides, keep the mixer on (2) and let it knead for 2 minutes. 

Grease your hands and get all your dough out of the mixing bowl and form it into a nice ball. Put it into the greased bowl you have prepared and make sure your dough ball is nicely greased on all sides. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place for an hour until doubled.

Punch dough down and let it rest on the counter for a few minutes. Divide dough into 3 equal parts and form into loaves. (If you’re using 9 inch pans for bigger loaves, divide dough into 2 equal parts.) This involves working the bread in your hands to get out air bubbles. If you are new to this, another method is to roll out each section and then roll it up tightly, pinching length of the roll to seal. Press ends to seal and fold under loaf. Don’t stress over this! Work it into what looks like a loaf to you and lay it in the bread pan. I then take a fork and make 7 pokes into each loaf (going from top to bottom) My mother told me recently that it was not necessary and she had stopped doing it, but my grandma always did it and so I always do it too. I feel like it is her “mark” and I like to see it there. It stands for 7 words for me: “Give us this day our daily bread” so I like that aspect also. It came to me one day, so I feel I’m meant to do it, but you do whatever you’re comfortable with (umm, but if you don’t do it, your bread just might not be as blessed, so…) I’m totally kidding here–of course your bread will be blessed!!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and let your bread rise in the pans for about a half hour or until it is slightly up over the edges. When it has risen, bake at 350 for 35 minutes until brown and hollow sounding when tapped. ( bake 5 minutes or so longer for 9 inch loaves) Remove from oven and grease top of each loaf with butter. Remove from pans and let cool on rack.