The Power in “Will-Power”

The Power in “Will-Power”

So Osiris and I are sitting in a booth at the Frontier in Albuquerque New Mexico, and I’m complaining, as twenty-somethings are wont to do, about my inability to get anything done. Osiris, as you can imagine, is not his real name. It doesn’t matter; no one in the pagan community in the early 80’s used their real names. Among the pagans, Osiris and his wife were my earliest buddies, and my best teachers. Through them , I became immersed in a spirituality that bore no relationship with religion, and began to hone a sense of personal energy, personal power, that informs me to this day. And while we weren’t Wiccan, we drew from some of their practices and philosophies.

Myth  #1, “Wicca” comes from the word “wise.” Nope, shares root with the word “wicker,” (please reference the original movie, Wicker Man, and not the horrid Nicolas Cage remake) and implies the ability to bend. To bend, in this case, the will of self, of other, of nature. I focused on the first, because that is the essence of change, the ability to bend one’s own will.

We humans do not like discomfort. If we did, it wouldn’t be comfortable. This is why most resolutions fail. In changing our comfortable albeit unhealthy habits, we are leaning against the sharp edges of our selves, and it takes a certain amount of willpower to stay with the discomfort long enough to change, and through repetition, make that change habitual.

Which brings me back to Osiris. Ten years my senior, he is half again my age, so I assume wisdom from his lips, and he often delivers. This night, as we’re stretching our dollars, eating hash browns topped with green chili and cheese, a full meal for less than $4, he tells me something I will never forget: “Will strengthens each time you do what you say you will do, weakens each time you fail to follow through. So don’t say you will do something unless you fully commit to it.

Start off easy. If you know  you’re going to be able to get out of bed tomorrow morning, tell yourself before you throw off the covers, “I will get out of bed now.” Make it immediate. Long term goals take a fairly healthy frontal lobe, and to be honest, most of us are a little lacking in that department (more on your brain next time). Make the first “I will” statements in reference to almost laughably easy goals, and do them daily. Be consistent. This is a work-out. Build gradually.What’s really important here is that you are showing your will some respect.

Pagans love magic, and the building of a will that has the power to drive behavior is truly magical. Over half a lifetime later, the words “I will” have the magical ability to add oomph to my actions. And if I don’t mean it, I don’t  say it. Except that this year I will lose fifty pounds, eat only salads, and write a blog every week…well, we’ll see how it goes!

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