What makes change? I vowed to make a change today when I saw a photo of myself taken in the middle of running a half marathon. I’m going to be mindful of my posture and run more!

Of course, in some circles looking good while running a half marathon would be a goal of questionable integrity.
But, looking good is not the direct goal – hopefully it will be a bi-product of my running more and having better posture. This change will be good. I will be a healthier and happier person.

I am hoping my vanity will bring me better health.We’ve all heard it, change comes from within. But does it really?

Does it matter where the change comes from, or is it enough that it is made?A person could say that my decision to be mindful of my posture and to run more came about by a series of events – first, me running the race. Next, a photographer taking a picture at a very…ahem…special moment. Then, an email sent to me containing the photo. Me, sitting on the couch with my laptop on a non-running day, seeing this photo. Poof! Voilà! a goal has been set, change will be made. Or, we could go even further back and decide the change might have started when I signed up for the race, or when I started running years ago, or when I bought the shirt I was wearing…how do we really know? Did I cause this change, or was it outside influences? Is it sometimes obvious?Forces outside of ourselves are constantly effecting our way of thinking, relating, making choices and generally making our way through this busy world. Through your sensory perceptors, you filter information and place it in the best place your brain can find for it at the time. (In my case, my brain processed this photo and put it in the file labeled “uh oh…immediate action”.)

Lately, most of us have been seeing a lot of pictures of oil. Photos of animals choking on oil, birds covered in oil. We have been hearing talk of the huge amounts of oil gushing into the Gulf, and hearing people talk of losing jobs, losing a way of life, becoming desperate. There will be a lot of change brought out by this devastating and sad event.
But where does my brain put this file full of all this information? What do I do?

This is an event that exhibits (very obviously) it’s power to change. There is no doubt this event is causing change. (Let’s hope for good.)

This event has caused me to do more commuting via bicycle. I know exactly where this change stems from. I will have a very hard time forgetting this. Hearing stories of dolphins literally gasping for breath, birds, plankton, turtles, humans, etc., etc. suffering.

When I am reminded of this event and I am driving in my car or carrying a plastic bag, I have a very different reaction than when I am walking, running, or riding my bike. I have a feeling of weight, a heaviness that comes over me – a sense that I am part of the cause. I have a dependence on oil that has caused the suffering and death of a dolphin.

If I happen to be running when my thoughts turn to this event, I go first toward my running shoes and then immediately into problem solving mode. I have a sense of freedom while I’m running – my body moving, my feet pounding out a rhythmic beat, oxygen pumping through my body- a stretch of time and space that I have all to myself. This is the best way I have found to really meditate on something – so naturally, in this mode, while thinking about oil, the heaviness and guilt I feel while driving is gone. I feel a little lighter, I feel empowered to make change, to see this devastating event as a catalyst, a wake up call that needs to be listened to. But how? Having this thought while running, my mind answered immediately. Stop driving, stop driving, ok – drive a LOT less. Plus, it will be better for you and you will save money. Back to my personal health and happiness, right?

What creates change in you? What motivates you to change? Do you change for the same reasons as I do, or are you motivated to change for other people or things?

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