In The Garden Of Good And Evil; Are We Motivated To Change?

Sat, 15 Jan 2011 Source: Appiah-Adjei, Daniel




In The Garden Of Good And Evil; Are We Motivated To Change?

This week, I want us to consider how man fell in the Garden of Aden and yet a second Adam to the rescue came. When the second Adam came, God had already placed the curse on man. It was too late! I guess if the First Adam had been around, he would have said, “I wish I were a child once again”. Hm! I have selected some few lines from “Paradise Lost” one of the most popular poems in the world, an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. It was originally published in 1667 in ten books, with a total of over ten thousand individual lines of verse. A second edition followed in 1674, re-divided into twelve books.

The poem concerns the Christian story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose, stated in Book I, is to justify the ways of God to men and elucidate the conflict between God's eternal foresight and free will.

This poem has been selected to establish the fact that our present situation should be well considered and taken good care of because we miss certain things today and it is forever and ever…Amen..

Selection from Paradise Lost

Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste

Brought death into the World, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, till one greater Man

Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat,…….

Say first, for Heaven hides nothing from thy view,

Nor the deep tract of Hell, say first what cause

Mov’d our Grand Parents, in that happy state,

Favour’d of Heaven so highly, to fall off

From their Creator, and transgress his will

For one restraint, lords of the World besides.

Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?

To bottomless perdition, there to dwell

In adamantine chains and penal fire,

Who durst defy the Omnipotent to arms.

Nine times the space that measures Day and Night

To mortal men, he, with his horrid crew,

Lay vanquished, Rowling in the fiery Gulf,

Confounded, though immortal. But his doom

Reserved him to more wrath; for now the thought

Both of lost happiness and lasting pain

Torments him: round he throws his baleful eyes,

That with the Mightiest raised me to contend,

And to the fierce contention brought along

Innumerable force of Spirits arm’d,

That durst dislike his reign, and, me preferring,

His utmost power with adverse power opposed

In dubious battle on the plains of Heaven,

And shook his throne. What though the field be lost?

All is not lost-the unconquerable will,

And study of revenge, immortal hate,

And courage never to submit or yield:

And what is else not to be overcome.

That glory never shall his wrath or might

Nothing Changes.

You talk about how you want something different in your life -- a new house, a better relationship with your spouse (or to find a spouse), get out of debt, or lose weight -- but nothing changes. You find that you spend (waste) a lot of time talking about it, but not doing anything about it.

How do you motivate yourself to change?

There are two ways people will change, either by choice or by force. Neither one is very pretty.

Change by Force

'By force' means that you have no choice. For example, you lose your job so you have to find a new one. Your doctor gives you bad news about your health so now you have to lose weight...or else suffer the consequences. Your husband is having an affair; this forces you to divorce.

There are times when you know you need to change and you think about it, but instead of being proactive like seeking new employment before your workplace lays you off or talking to financial planner before you go into foreclosure, you sabotage things. You wait until things get so bad you are forced into action.

Force is not pretty because you cannot choose to move forward and create something new; you HAVE to or else suffer the consequences.

Change by Choice

The other option is to CHOOSE change. Choosing to change means that you have become willing to do whatever it takes to make a change in your life. You sacrifice your 'comforts' of the way things are in exchange for the hopes of something better.

Choosing change is great in that it allows you to be proactive. Instead of waiting for the forces of fate to push you into moving and making a change, you take the actions needed to move forward.

This isn't pretty either because any way you look at it, change is hard. There are forces at work that are meant to keep you right where you are. For instance, fear is a big obstacle to change. So are habits.

But fear of the consequences is also a motivator for change. If you are scared to die, and most people are, then you might be more willing to give up greasy foods as recommended by your doctor so you can continue to live and enjoy yourself, your relationships, and your work.

Overwhelm is another big hurdle to change. You see all that needs to be accomplished in order to change and you become overwhelmed. This DE-motivates you, or, rather, motivates you to continue along your current path no matter how unhappy you may be. So how does one break through the barriers and choose change?

Two Motivators for Change

We humans will move toward pleasure and away from pain. It's that simple. But not so easy. People endure a lot of pain without realizing it. You put up with so much stuff that you do not like, that causes you pain and frustration and aggravation. You hold tight to old wounds and repeat damaging behaviors. Day after day, you are bombarded by life's negative forces and you do battle, often without realizing just how much of a fight you withstand. Until, of course, at the end of the day when you crash from exhaustion!

You might also have much difficulty being happy and enjoying pleasurable experiences. It may sound funny, but true happiness comes from within; in a world where most people are so busy and full of worry, happiness and joy is left on a wish list somewhere Change is possible.

You can learn to sensitize yourself to your pain. You can also learn how to be happy and enjoy yourself. But you cannot do either if you are running on a treadmill. You have to slow down enough to assess your life and learn about yourself -- your likes, your dislikes, what makes you unhappy or uncomfortable, where you are frustrated or angry -- before you can begin to change anything.

So here is your coaching challenge; it is twofold.

1) Pay attention to your emotions and identify what frustrates you or annoys you in your life. Where are you angry, disappointed, or uncomfortable? List these things in a notebook. Identifying them and writing them out is cathartic in that it raises your awareness and you become sensitive to where you are hurting. Many of these items you can eliminate quite easily. Others will take some time. Go slow -- there is no rush. It reminds me of my own situation when the woman I professed marrying jilted me because I was considered poor. The problem was so overwhelming that it took the divine presence of God to save me. In fact, I changed the whole episode into a play and titled it, “The Fatal Decision. After finishing the play, the anger and frustration evaporated into thin air.

We start with identifying what hurts because this way we can create space for what feels good. Many people have so much pain that they don't know what they want; they just know they cannot take it anymore! If you know you want something better in your life that's great! But don't skip doing the exercise above. You are still living with annoyances and old hurts that will hold you back and interfere with happiness and success if you continue to allow it. You first have to unearth these things so you can deal with them.

2) What do you envision for yourself? What do you want? What would make you happy? A vision is a compelling force that will solidify your commitment and pull you toward it. It provides direction for your thoughts and actions. Without vision, how will you know where you are going? You will continue to be buffeted by the circumstances of the day, throwing your power to the wind.

Identify your pain; envision your pleasure. Start saying no to what makes you feel bad and start thinking about and considering what makes you feel good. That's your work for now.

As the philosopher has said “The best preparation for the future is the present well seen to and the last duty well done”

By His Grace, I shall be back.

Columnist: Appiah-Adjei, Daniel