“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be in no-man’s –land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.” -Pema Chodron
The worst way that I fool myself is when I resist what is happening by longing for what was happening before, or sillier still, spending time anticipating a future I can only guess at. As my past recedes from view, from the years of my daily mothering lifestyle and my small love business outgrowing even my own expectations, I catch myself missing things that once only felt like unpleasant chores and burdensome responsibilities. I try to take this wisdom to heart as the continually changing landscape of life slowly becomes more familiar. The only moment of life that we have any real impact with is the one in our grasp, and I understand better than I ever have how swiftly that this too will become a memory.
It is tempting to resist the truth of change because it triggers a deep insecurity that we all share. Our drive to establish and maintain a sense of control and stability is ingrained in us in a cellular way, creating a kind of selective thinking about the time we are in. We gravitate towards what we know in life as we do our cognitive processing. For most of us, most of the time, our daily thoughts are repetitive- we keep going back to what we know. And we glorify the familiar in memory, even if we didn’t particularly care for it when it was fresh.
It is easier for me to miss the chaos of multiple clashing schedules of my kids busy lives than it is for me to contend with re-inventing a life without their daily presence and demands. Back then, time alone was a luxury that I envied, but now I am often overcome by the silence that greets me when I return home. Same for my business, which has long felt like a child I am pulling behind me, is now moving forward with a momentum that often makes me feel like I will never catch up.
The most painful and jarring change is, of course, when the seemingly senseless accidents of nature, the unexpected and unbidden moments of life, death, illness, and loss are thrust upon us. But even the life changes of our own design- children growing up and away, businesses transformed by success or failure- all contain the same seed of instability. Remembering ourselves deeper than our circumstances is the ongoing challenge of a living in the presence of ongoing change.
One way in which I have found comfort is to be a change initiator. I do this with my products, always striving to make it a little better than the last time, with my writing, and with my home. Deliberately making the world a little different every day puts you briefly into communion with the forces of change that are propelling us through our days. And if you are reading this on the new and improved ‘Making Love Sustainable’ blog then maybe you will appreciate my point. In order to get to this much more beautiful and sane page, I had to give up the daily magazine, (which never fully achieved its potential, as well as the idea of writing several different blogs at once). Carl Rogers once wrote, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” This is true for ourselves and for our lives. Letting things be what they are- the good, the bad and even the ugly- gives them the room to transform and change in a way that you can bless and embrace as yourself and this lovely brief collection of moments we call a life.