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What inner change have you made to shift the entire trajectory of your life?

Serendipity can force change on any one of us.

Someone dies. A business closes. A tree falls. The lump grows too large to ignore. The spouse leaves. Love comes along. Lightning strikes.

But what inner change have you made knowingly and willingly -- even though it may have been very difficult -- to shift the entire trajectory of your life? Why? In what way(s) has this change made a difference in the manner in which you live?

For me: Mindfulness meditation works daily in and on my life. Few people are aware of this, though family and friends know my history of study. It helps me back down when I'd rather retort, it helps me move toward when I'd rather edge away.

These decisions are often quite insignificant in the whole play of life. You know, because you have your own scenarios. You let someone into the line of cars or you don't. We decide, sometimes in a split second. We all face these decisions.

You decide to continue to send a quick wave to the neighbor who never acknowledges anyone. This, instead of reacting: "Hey, she doesn't deserve it."

The influence of mindfulness: If you're someone who waves, then you wave.

So, mindfulness meditation over time has helped pumice my roughness, helped me take a breath before responding, to remember it's not all about me. Never was.

You: Have you adopted a philosophy or shifted course or educated yourself in some way that has made all the difference in changing the trajectory of your life?

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    Jun 20 2013: i quit my teaching job and started a band after listening to the Pink Floyd album "Dark Side of the Moon". some of the lyric made me wonder why i was wasting my time working a job that i loathed and helped give me the impetus to do something i wanted to do instead of a job i felt i should do.
  • Jun 23 2013: I decided that if the changes I want to have happen were going to happen, I was going to have to take an active role in making them happen. This often involved uncertainty and risk of success, but I found strength in the knowledge that I would be unhappy if I did not use my energy and resources to at least try to make the change.

    Some things have worked out. Some have not. Some may eventually work in my favor.

    However, I feel better for every attempt!
  • Jun 22 2013: Hi Dear Betsy Shea Taylor:).Reading and thinking help me to have big change in my life.I tried very hard to have some changes in my life.I found I have the potential in my body ,and they have been explored by reading and thinking.
  • Jun 22 2013: When I was in Grade 10, French was mandatory in the school system I was part of. However, I was not really good at French and by that I mean oil and water not good. The entire french department went to the vice principal and said "find something else for him to do". The only thing in that time slot was "data processing".
    That slight change did two things for me. It started me on a career that included working for both Sun and Microsoft (that transition was unpleasant to say the least) and it made it clear to me that what I thought were rules were just guidelines.
    From then on, my education path was the one I wanted, not usually the designed path. Prerequisites were just opinions and anything could be accomplished with enough signatures.
    Whenever I talk to students I try to emphasize that any opportunity that even hints at coming by should be pursued and seized if possible and if everybody is doing something you should consider it toxic and do something else.
  • Jun 21 2013: I've become more positive and open minded to other people's mindsets, beliefs, and religions and I've adopted a few aspects of each.
    I've gotten into meditation to the point where I find myself doing it subconsciously, it has helped alot with my previous issues of anxiety and pessimism.
    And I became a vegan.
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    Jun 21 2013: How does one know the entire trajectory of one's life, let alone make a shift to change it? Will you explain please?
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    Jun 21 2013: A decision.
  • Jun 21 2013: Every few years I've tried to revamp my life.

    If I lived in the desert with temps at 112 at midnight, I moved to the mountains.
    If I lived in snow up to my waist, I moved to the beach.
    If manufacturing became a bore, I became a salesman.

    If sales became less than I had imagined, I became a business owner.
    If Businesses began to bore me, and I have only had 21 of them, I changed,

    All those changes required education, but not the education most of you know about.
    To revamp my life required a decision, and then to learn everything I could about change.
    Revamping my life had also an easy part, "taking the first step".
    I find few people that will "take the first step".

    Years ago while being interviewed,
    I answered the lady's query about how I got started?
    I said in reply, "I took the first step.".
    She gave me the blankest of blank stares.

    That's life...
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    Jun 20 2013: I choose to be happy, always, no matter what.

    How much happiness i can give is measure of my success.
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    Jun 20 2013: I don't know that I have made much inner change. I was a nice kid, a nice young adult, now I'm a nice middle-aged adult. What prompted you to make the change you made?
    • Jun 20 2013: Greg, thank you for your response to the question.

      I'd characterize myself the way you characterized yourself. However, I had certain beliefs about the world and my place in it that had no structure on which to hang. One day I was in a bookstore and found writings by Thich Nhat Hahn, a Buddhist monk. I thought: "Well this is what I've been seeking -- a community of like-minded."

      My desires: I felt I needed more patience, though I had quite a bit, I felt I needed more ease with the concept of "don't know" rather than always trying to find answers, and I wanted help in focusing more on the present moment than on past or future. I was granted that structure and support when I picked up that first book.

      Meditation has helped me make things stick.
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        Jun 21 2013: well, come to think of it, I have made some changes, but they usually feel rather passive, they were just a response to outer changes. For example, at some point I started fighting noise. Growing up, I was rather wild, played a lot of loud rock music, noone ever complained, I never realized it might be bothering other people. Then I had a surgery, and when I came back to my apartment, I had a headache from the anesthesia, and the rap music from the apartment next door was bothering me. So I went next door to ask them to turn it down, and after that I changed, I started really becoming annoyed by people playing music in the apartments around me and it bleeding into my unit, so I started asking people to turn it down, I became very educated in the municipal noise codes, asked for help from the building management, occasionally called the police. For me it's been a good fight, at age 53 I like and need peace and quiet.

        The other big change I made was getting interested in the Masai people of Kenya, they are very oriented toward the cow and milk, they don't have a lot of different jobs, they're all dairy herders. After I got interested in them I moved from Hollywood, California to a dairy area about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, Ontario, California. I tried for three years to get a job milking cows. Today I've ended up in my original city, Glendale. I like it here because it's where my mom and sister live, but there's no dairy work to be had here. But I do live on milk, for the last five years, 365 days/year, I drink about two gallons of skim milk a day, and don't eat or drink anything else. It's been pretty great, I'm trying to get this diet approved by the nutrition establishment so I can start advocating it to other people.