The process of becoming new: hope in 2014

by Holly Hurban, Ph.D., TBT volunteer and former board member

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.” ― Eckhart Tolle

 The post-holiday season, particular when we pass the new year, frequently entails a re-evaluation of where we’ve been and what we hope for, as well as hollow promises to somehow be different. I use the term “hollow” because the truth is that in every moment we can choose to be different or new. It simply doesn’t involve the turn of a new year, or any other symbolic gesture, or even spending significant time in thought, building up some limiting expectations of ourselves. We can just be new right now.

When we promise ourselves to suddenly change because a new year has passed, we frequently end up with the same old disappointment, regret, and self-deprecating thoughts when the old habit shows its ugly head, and we then beat ourselves up for failing to keep our promise to ourselves in the random time-frame that we’ve created. Being new is often a process, like everything else, and always takes a lot of practice. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. When I think of that saying, I believe it comes from the fact that carefully thought out plans don’t necessarily bring positive results; practice does.

Being someone new or doing something new in any given situation is the beginning of personal change, and proves absolutely that we can do it, whatever “it” is. When that one situation or moment becomes the next, and we again choose a “new way,” after awhile these moments string together and we honestly start to feel like a new person. The feeling comes after the practice. Moreover, if we are able to accept that behaving in a new way always feels uncomfortable, we can drop our storyline that these feelings of discomfort equals failure. In fact, this discomfort really resembles courage more than anything else.

The value inherent in the Truth Be Told programs is the fact that they introduce incarcerated women to the practice of being someone new and a window into the possibilities of a new way of life. Graduating from a TBT program means that a woman has the courage to take this opportunity while incarcerated to become something different or new, regardless of the cell she returns to or the unwavering voices that may be telling her it is not possible.

In fact, my guess is that after a graduation some women may feel like they can’t maintain this new way of being. But to that I say, “so what?” It is just a passing thought and just a passing feeling, nothing more. If change doesn’t happen immediately after a graduation, then maybe it will happen in a moment tomorrow or whenever another moment arises that they remember the courage to be new. When a person can say “so what?” to their internal negative dialogue or doubts, then true choice can take over, and practice can begin.

So, as you contemplate the beginning of 2014 and the changes you might want to make in your life, remember that change happens one decision and one action at a time.  Failure is not making another poor choice. Failure is allowing your emotions or negative stories to keep you from trying to make better choices in the moments that will come after the turn of the new year.

fresh start woman

Art by Karen C, Behind Bars graduate, Hilltop Unit, Gatesville, TX. “Thank you, TBT, for choosing to bring the captives precious treasures and unforgettable gifts. You have inspired me so many times to NEVER GIVE UP and to keep pressing on for excellence, truth, and freedom to break free from every chain that binds me.”

3 Responses to The process of becoming new: hope in 2014

  1. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. Sounds like you have tuned in to the live streaming going on inside of me! At the tender age of 64 I am learning to step back from my definition of failure, pause to notice what else might be going on, and practice on a daily – sometimes momentary basis – to love myself through the uncomfortable moments of becoming new. Having started this process well before the new year, I will say that practicing is really important. While difficult at first, it gets easier. Changing one word – from “kicking” myself to “loving” myself changes everything! Emily

    • Hi Emily. Thanks for your comment. I like your phrase “love yourself through uncomfortable moments”…..says it all right there. Love and practice loving responses to yourself and others even in uncomfortable (or painful) moments.

Leave a Comment


Email* (never published)