Changes often hurt when they first emerge, but resisting them goes against the way the world works. In my teens and 20s I lived in a spiritual community where days and nights of ordered living, rules, and obedience made it seem like change was something that happened somewhere else, to other people. For us, life felt unchanging, certain, solid. And then a scandal flamed through the group like a fire through a tinder-dry forest. In a flash, one identity ended, and my new life began.
I had no choice but to open up to the kaleidoscope of possibilities inherent in every moment. And it was one heck of a ride. I started working in the arts as a producer, creator, and performer. And I finally knew who I was. Or at least, I thought I knew who I was, and then that changed, too, as everything does. Nothing sticks around. Nothing stays the same. How many versions of us come and go over the days, the months, the years? The child gives way to the adolescent. The adult ripens and rots.
Change brings us face to face with impermanence. This awareness could easily breed anxiety or terror or rage.
How can you plan for your future if you don’t know what it will be, what you will be or, even worse, if you will be? Most of us react to this groundlessness by trying to stop things from changing. But how far do we really get with that?
Even change for the better can feel unpleasant. You get a new job, with more money, and then worry starts to bloom. What if things don’t work out? What if they realize I’m a fraud and I actually have no clue what I’m doing?
But the truth is we don’t know much about what “will be.” All we can really know is what is right now. To read more from Elaine Smookler, click here.