You know you need to cut out sugar.

A little voice tells you it’s time to get out of your marriage.

You know you should leave your job.

Or quit drinking.

Or lose weight.

Or get into therapy to heal with your childhood sexual abuse.

Or start exercising.

Or stop smoking.

Or step onto the spiritual path.

Or [insert self help action here.]

And yet…you’re not ready. Yet.

You know what must be done. You kick yourself every morning because you’re not doing what you know must be done. But the truth is, you’re just not ready.

The world will pressure you to change. You’ll try beating yourself up, hoping that, in the wake of the beating, you’ll finally do what you know you must.

But darling, don’t you understand that readiness is the one thing you cannot force?

A Meditation of Acceptance

Instead, try this meditation Martha Beck taught me. Just start by taking deep breaths in and out, then add these mantras…

Breathing in, I realize that at this moment, there is nothing I can do to make reality anything but what it is. Breathing out, I allow everything in the world to be as it is, because I cannot change this moment. Breathing in, I accept my sorrows. I allow, because I cannot change this in this moment. I allow all of the circumstances to be as they are in this moment. I offer no resistance to the things I cannot change. I lay down the burden of trying to change anything in this moment. I surrender to allowing reality to be as it is. I will create no more suffering because of my resistance. It’s okay. Allow everything. Accept it, even my non-acceptance. I accept.

A “Change Me” Prayer

If it’s not working to just accept yourself where you are, knowing that you won’t be able to force something until you’re ready, try this prayer, inspired by Tosha Silver’s book Outrageous Openness.

Change me into someone who is ready.

Be Kind To Yourself

Most importantly, be gentle with yourself. You can’t hate yourself into change. You can’t shame yourself into change.

It just doesn’t work. The one way change can happen is if you can love yourself as you are, and then, from that place of love, you can muster up the faith and courage you’ll need in order to do what must be done.

Are You Ready?

Tell us your story in the comments.

Trusting your timing,

PS. My public television special Heal Yourself: Mind Over Medicine airs tonight in Atlanta at 7pm EST! For other air dates, check the schedule here.

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  1. jplatt27

    Part of me is so ready to jump into my next career as a life coach and part of me feels so scared, anxious, resistant. I can hardly think about other things and feel tension and anxiety in my body, in my solar plexus that is so strong and distracting. On Super Soul Sunday this weekend, Steven Pressfield said that resistance is natural and is that feeling that comes up when you want to do something that will change you for the better. And that the resistance you feel is in direct proportion to the good it will do for your soul. It’s an equal and opposite reaction. That makes me feel a little better because it explains why this experience has been so intense.

    I like the prayer “change me into someone that is ready.” I think I’ll try that.

  2. Ellen M. Gregg

    Truth beyond measure in this post. There have been so many points in my life when I thought I was ready, or thought I was supposed to be ready, to lose weight, or get married, or have children, or go back to school or, or, or…

    I was measuring my readiness against my peers and others’ expectations of how and who I should be. (My therapist once told me she’d like to see “should” stricken from the English language.) I don’t do that anymore. Now, I pay attention to my intuition and heed its wisdom.

    And guess what? I’m losing weight, because I’m ready. I’m going back to school, because I’m ready. It’s like magic; the best kind of magic: soul magic.


  3. Not ready today

    wow. you mean, I can just …wait? until I’m ready? Everybody says I need to file for divorce, now. Yesterday. I’m not in physical danger. I have a lawyer. I have figured out all the logistics of being a single parent. I’ve taken all the steps except to file. My life coach wants what’s best for me but she clearly feels it’s divorce. So do my parents. And my friends. And I see too that it’s probably the best thing. But I’m just not quite ready to take that final step. …Really refreshing to hear someone say that it’s ok to wait until you’re ready. I have been beating myself up about how pathetic it is that I can’t seem to make the decision and why am I so weak. Yup, doesn’t work. Can’t force yourself to be ready.
    You know what, I’ll do something different today. I’ll do the meditation. And the prayer. And I’ll just leave it be at that. No beating up. 🙂
    Thanks, Lissa. I love reading all your posts, but today’s just really hit home.
    Thank you.

    • Sara Smith

      I was separated for three years before my divorce was filed for. I couldnt let go and I kept hoping. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. When your ready it should be on your terms and no one elses.

  4. Monica Wood

    Lissa, I couldn’t believe the timing of your article. A friend of mine was recently assaulted and raped. I wasn’t sure what to do to help – when to push and when to leave alone, and your article helped me to understand that you don’t always have to be taking action. And as you can imagine, she has received a lot of feedback on what she “needed” or “should” do. The message that it was “ok” to not be ready was right on target and definitely needed. Provided a little much needed peace.

  5. Shawn Marie

    Thank you for this! I haven’t been to the site in awhile, but I checked in today, looking for help with this exact issue, and the post was right there waiting for me. So awesome.

  6. Bonnie Cook

    Ah, Ah, Lisa, this is the answer to my prayer! Thank you and I send you blessings!

  7. carinamarianne

    Dear Lissa! Thank you for sharing this blog post at exactly the time that I needed it. Your reassuring and wise words warms my heart!
    Love, Carina

  8. CaroG87

    That was so me …. for YEARS, everyone tried to get me to lose weight (think BMI in the mid-60s at my peak). I tried several times myself but it was never for me — always an exterior reason. Finally, I was *ready* and decided to do it for myself. It stuck — because *I* wanted it not for anyone else, or any vain reason. I just heard the little voice say NOW. Funny, when I follow the timing of my little voice, it all works out. When I don’t…….

    And now I’m there again with a different situation. And though everything seems to tell me “Move now!” or “NO, STAY!” I need to wait and honor the timing of that little voice of my IPL. It knows when all the cosmic tumblers have clicked into place at the right time…… and then it should work out fine!

    Thank you — I needed this prayer today!

  9. Mere Dreamer

    Step by step I have waited. Waited till I was ready to leave my abusive ex … 16 years … and now the divorce is complete. Waited to change my diet and stop eating so much sugar … now I can’t stand the sweets I used to crave. Waited to start exercising because I’ve been dealing with chronic fatigue for so long and it always sent me into a downward spiral … I am accomplishing more than I could for years, and gentle flexibility training leads into joyful dancing … amazing!

    Waiting to tell the man I’m attracted to that I hope we might date someday … not yet … we’re good friends, and that’s enough to start healing. Sometimes I forget it’s okay to wait … but then I breathe again. What a lovely reminder!

    Somehow the next step comes, and I place my feet where I thought I could never stand … and then I am further along then I even imagined I could be. It’s a beautiful place, waiting.

  10. Tricia Ebert

    This is THE perfect meditation for me today, right now! I am so frustrated trying to help a client buy a townhouse in the Los Angeles area where there are multiple offers and people overbidding each other. I am angry with the listing agent, angry at the situation, angry that Realtors do not conduct business professionally like they used to. Grrrrr… a little ACCEPTANCE of things as they are because I cannot change them is definitely in order. THANK YOU!!!

  11. sel

    thank you for this post which is just something I needed Lissa 🙂 right now 🙂

  12. Effie

    This message couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I am fresh off the rejection by yet another man in my life. And the pressure I put on myself for being STILL single at 44 years of age is immense! This meditation is spot on and so significant for me right now I wrote it down I’m my journal. I’m also going to use it for a recent medical diagnosis that has thrown my world upside down and has me asking “why me”. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  13. Suzanne Jones

    When I am ready I’ll know it. So often in the past I have beaten myself up, forced myself to do things (which sometimes is necessary) and was no better off as a result. In fact the only thing that resulted was more frustration because of all the time I wasted trying to force myself to do something I didn’t want to do. This frustration led to sugar intake, episodes of anger and a sourness toward life.
    When I wait until i am ready, whatever it is comes with ease and simplicity.

  14. Renessa Bak

    trusting your timing? trusting nature’s timing. Trusting the universe’s timing in fact, it of the essence and have so relaxed with it, life’s working like a charm.
    listen listen to your spirit speak, it is the cosmic B-line, planting its IDeals in our mind. . for living the grandest version of its greatest visions for us.


    I liked this post. I waited and waited. Then I plotted and planned and finally stepped out into mid air. I still wait for some things. The next step. The next decision. The prayer to be ready came in the form of an illness. It was an or else. Now I’m free to be all I can be and the weight is coming off on it’s own. I feel like moving and eating well. The sugar, it turns out, exacerbates the depression. Without the sugar, I’m happy. I’m listening to me now. But I almost waited too long.

  16. lv2terp

    This is a beautiful post, as is all of yours! 🙂 It is wonderful to get permission to trust our own timing, and feel OKAY! 🙂 That meditation/affirmation section was BEAUTIFUL, thank you for sharing that! The prayer was also so simple, yet perfect! Thank you Lissa for sharing your light, wisdom, knowledge, and passion! 🙂

  17. Jessica

    Wow! Amazing. Thank you for this: I feel God’s love over me as I read this. I’m trying to change into someone that someone would want to marry. My best friend tells me that I don’t want to be married. She says if I did I would stop going out & stop having sex. I enjoy hanging out. I enjoy having sex. I have safe sex. Sometimes it makes me feel less than because I am just being myself. It’s been beating me up so much that I tried being who I thought I should be but it just ended up feeling like work. I truly just want to be myself. And I would like to be with someone who appreciates me as I am.
    I will try this meditation & prayer. I do want to be married. However I don’t want to have to be someone else to become engaged. At 27 I thought I would already be married. But this confirmed that things will & always happen in their own time.


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