Recently my wife introduced me to the show My name is Earl. It's a hilarious show with an interesting premise about Karma and lists. On a side note I am glad I discovered this show now, as opposed to a few years back, as I can happily indulge in bad accents, which this show definitely provokes.
But what has interested me most is the concept of the list, and Karma holding the main character to fulfilling the list. The character needs to make up for all the bad things he's done so he can live a good life. It's simplistic in a way and the character's choice to do it is based more on a selfish desire than a genuine wish to make up for harm done, but he changes as time goes on.
I don't necessarily think I'd go and create a list of every bad thing I've done, but I do think there's some truth to the notion that how you live your life creates what comes into your life. For a long time I lived a very chaotic life. Some of that was due to circumstances I had no control over initially, and some of it was due to my own choices. I wouldn't say it was a bad life, but it was chaotic and as such I encountered a lot of chaos as well. Then eight or so years ago I started doing internal work such as the elemental balancing ritual and meditation to work through the internal chaos. And as I did this work, I gradually found that my life started to change. Less chaos, more stability, and more realization of the impact my actions had on others and myself.
Continuing to do this work even now has shown me that it is possible to change your life, but to truly change you must be willing to examine in depth and take responsibility for your choices and the consequences of those choices. I am not an enlightened person and I have definitely made my share of bad choices and mistakes and hurt some people along the way. I'd never deny any of that, for the denial of such things denies an essential part of my life and identity. But even as I don't deny my choices, I also don't deny that I've made some good choices and had some positive impact on others through those choices. Most important however is the continued work to recognize and release myself from reaction so that I can make choices from a well-considered, conscious place of mind, body, and spirit.
A magic list might just be what some people need to change their lives, but genuine change must occur at the core of the person, through a realization of what the person can become, as opposed to some nebulous force that holds you accountable to change. If changed is prompted by an external force is it really genuine? Only if that change brings with it a realization on your own part of a desire to change yourself because you recognize a need to be responsible to yourself and others for your actions. Transformation starts from within and manifests outward in the way you live your life and in what kinds of situations you encounter as a result of your actions.
I can't say I'm a good person. Then again it's not necessarily my desire to be "good." (whatever that is). I can say, more and more, that I am a person of my own conscious choices and that I am content to live with the consequences of those choices, even when those consequences aren't favorable. I couldn't have said that 8 years ago. It's the conscious choices you make, both internally and externally, that speak to your identity and its expression on the world. You don't need a magic list or Karma for that...but what you do need is a willingness to hold yourself accountable and make your choices based on values you have chosen as opposed to ones provided to you by someone else. Move beyond your reactions...embody the life you want to live, based on the values you've chosen. That's magic...living life on your terms.