It has been awhile since I have ventured into this neck of the woods, writing and posting regularly on this blog. I am venturing back, because nothing stays the same for long. My absence from this blog will morph into a strong, regular presence, which, in all likelihood, will transition into periods of quiet again. Impermanence. The basis of our human existence. Inescapable, perpetual change.
Earlier today, I walked out of a yoga studio in my neighborhood to find freezing rain pelting me through my layers and heavy down coat. I stopped in a wine shop around the corner to pick up a bottle of red that would pair nicely with the vegan meatballs and spaghetti I had planned for dinner. When I walked out of the shop the freezing rain had practically stopped. Two blocks later there was the lightest, loveliest snowfall. As I write this, less than a half hour later the snow is falling so furiously I am left feeling like I live in a snow globe that has been viciously shaken. I am grateful to be indoors picking at the remains of my lunch and settling in for a long afternoon of writing. I am also grateful for the reminder of how nothing stays the same. And, in the grand scheme of things, change occurs far more rapidly than we like to admit. Perhaps not as quickly as the change in precipitation over the span of 45 minutes, but rapidly in the context of our short life spans.
Last night, as I carried my friend’s 5-year-old home after dinner at my place, she snuggled her head onto my chest just as she did when she was a baby and toddler. My arms ached from the 45 pounds of little girl I was holding. My mind and heart ached for a time when she was so much smaller. When did she become five? Where had all the time gone? I love how independent she has become. I love that we can now have conversations and she is becoming her own person with her own ideas and distinct personality. And yet, sometimes it feels hard to let go of the baby she once was. Watching her age is a constant reminder of my own aging, and the passing of time in my own life.
Impermanence. We are born. We get older. We die. And a whole lot happens in between – a whole lot that we cling to, attach to, and over identify with. There has been a lot of shifting and changing in my life over the last six months. A lot of my personal suffering has stemmed from resistance and longing for what was instead of embracing what is. We don’t want our relationships to change, or end, unless we are the ones initiating the changes. We don’t want to let go of our ways of believing, seeing, and doing. We are dissatisfied with what we have. We convince ourselves we will be happier with something different, something better. We fail to appreciate what we do have, and then…poof! It’s gone, or it has morphed into something we no longer recognize. This is life…for all of us. Karen Maezen Miller writes, “There is no secure or unchanging ground, and we make ourselves safe only when we see and accept the way life is. Utterly spontaneous and impermanent.” No one is immune from the unexpected, unplanned, unwanted, or desperately wished for and suddenly received moments of life. Embrace them all.