Changing Your View of Change — on learning to go with the flow of life
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If ever there was a prescription for a fulfilled and contented life, it is understanding this:
the lessons life provides are not over until you are.
One of the curses of modern life is the incessant busyness of it. People seem driven, and complain that there “Simply isn’t enough time.” There’s “Too much happening.”
Which leads to the question — what is the nature of life?
The root nature of life is change. Everything, always, is in a state of flux. Every cell in our body is being replaced, right now, in this moment. There is only flow — there is no beginning, no end, to anything, until we curl up our toes. And even then, the jury’s out on “what’s next.”
Many folk have not learned the gift of contentment within this flow of change; thus the pull toward trying to get things to stop, to stand still, to be manageable.
Part of the acceptance piece is learning to thrive within change… yet, it’s so hard to admit that I and everything around me is changing. I can’t depend on anything staying the same.
Look, for example, at relationships.
If you really open your eyes and have a look, all the relationships you are in are “fluxing” all the time. Darlene and I never say to each other, “How are you today?” Rather, we say, “Who are you today?” We’re not kidding.
There is only one way to accept this premise — that everything is always changing
I have a great old story for you — from my counselling days. A client arrived at my home office, and happened to end up talking with both Darbella and me — this as he doffed his coat.
In session, he presented a long list of what his wife “always” did — as if his wife was fixed in stone.
I gave him my “I don’t know a thing about Darlene” speech — it’s part of the “Who are you today?” concept. I said, “You and I talked to Dar before our session started; but I’d be a fool to bet that Darbella will be exactly the same person when we come out.”
At that moment, the house phone rang.
I said, “It’s like that phone call. Right now, Dar could be hearing that a crazed killer has just wiped out her family. (I know… I’m weird…) But I won’t know for sure until I ask.”
I was making an exaggerated example for dramatic effect. Anything… literally anything could have happened in Dar’s part of the house, and in Dar’s head, in an hour.
In other words, time had passed, and she had changed.
Well, anyway, after the client left, I went into the kitchen. Dar was bent over the kitchen counter, holding her head… and I immediately interpreted (otherwise known as guessing — and doubt coloured by my “crazed killer” comment) that she looked sad and depressed.
I said, “Oh God! What happened?”
She looked up quizzically, then replied, “What? I’m reading a recipe.”
I know. Long story, little point.
I’m flitting around the idea that to achieve contentment we have to learn to flow with change. And to accept change requires curiosity and flexibility.
In other words, nothing intrinsically means anything. Nothing is as it was a moment ago. Indeed, all there is, is this endless, eternal moment going by — the eternal now.
For more on this, read my book, This Endless Moment 2nd. edition
Of course, we are required to play the game that the project we are working on, or the person we are talking to, is the same project, the same person as yesterday. But if you really wrap your head around the concept of flux and flow, you’ll realize that, as the Native People say, you can never enter the river at the same place.
Each week, when I approach The Pathless Path, I come at it as a changed person. In fact, I even change as I’m writing.
It’s quite hot here in Costa Rica, so Darbella and are are going to pull up for a quick dip in the pool.
Right now, I’m on a roll, writing. Where and who will I be when I come back?
I can guarantee I’ll be different. I’ll likely be cooler. We’ll likely meet people from the condo complex, and for sure we will see things. And I’ll be thinking about The Pathless Path as I float.
How could my approach, given all of those variables, not be different when I return?
Same with me and Dar… or me and other people I am in relationship with. Who will they be, next time we talk, we meet? I don’t know. Are they predictable? Hmm. For sure they will have shifted. No surprise there.
This week, explore your relationship to the idea… the reality of change. How stuck are you? What do you believe you can’t change, and why? How are you giving your life over to repeating behaviours and understandings?
You’re not actually stuck at all, you’re changing all the time. Denying this reality doesn’t change the change.
It’s easy to rail against change and, at the same time, to pretend to be stuck. But being stuck is nothing more than your choice to repeat what isn’t working.
And here’s the joke — even when you’re stuck, you’re changing! You’re making the situation worse by repeating what doesn’t work, and in that way lowering the bar of what you expect to happen.
If you want your life to be different, recognize this: you can’t stop change, but you can obsess enough to make yourself miserable. Instead, look at your life, see what you are doing to yourself, and simply ease into structured, intelligent, soulful, joyous change.