When I got up the other morning the world was transformed by a blanket of thick snow. No one appeared to have gone out in it yet and everything looked pristine and beautiful. Walking among the trees and shrubs in the park felt magical and I just had to take some photos, as I wanted to share all this beauty. It was still early, so most of the snow was still completely untouched and my footsteps were the first to appear.
When I came back to the same area a few hours later I noticed that several paths had appeared in the snow that already looked well trodden. This reminded me of the neural pathways that we create in our brain when we practise a skill, or indulge in a habit. When we try to change something about ourselves, we literally create new neural pathways; not unlike walking in the snow for the first time. The more people walk along the same snowy path, the more others will follow, and the path becomes clearer and clearer. Similarly, as we practise doing things differently (whatever that may be) we strengthen the new neural pathways, so that eventually they become the pathways of choice: like the well-trodden paths in the snow.
So transformation can happen both suddenly and gradually. The blanket of snow made everything look different, however, underneath the snow there were the same streets, trees and cars. Similarly, through counselling or psychotherapy we can come to view our life differently. However, for things to change longer term we need to put in the practice.
The more we walk the new path, the clearer it will become.
(See the following articles if you would like to read more about this): http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=36389