This morning, I peered out my window and saw golden leaves preparing to fall from the branches they’ve called home these last 6 months. I stepped outside to breathe in the fresh, crisp air of an autumn morning and a cold wind brushed past me, leaving behind it a trail of goosebumps up and down my arms. I realized it will soon be time to pull out my winter sweaters, and I thought to myself, “Change is here.”
And it always is, isn’t it? Whether it’s the change of seasons, a change of job, a change of scenery, or a change of the usual brand of milk you buy at the store, as humans we are deeply accustomed to change. You might even say, it is all we know. Think back to one year ago, how different was your life? How different were you? Even in the last months or even weeks, surely you have experienced much change to varying degrees.
To Soften Your Grip
Change is a fundamental quality of existence, and yet we resist it so much, often because it can feel terrifying. As humans, we spend much of our energy either trying to cling to what we don’t want to leave or push away what we don’t want to come. We try to create a sense of security by holding on to an illusion of control. But the reality is, in most ways, we are not in control. And much of the time what will come will come and what will go will go. Despite what we’ve got to say about it.
It is natural as human beings to want to seek safety and security. But it is by clinging too tightly to this sense of security that we become so easily disturbed when change does come. By softening our grip just a bit, we can move through life with much more ease. We can learn to relax into the innate cycles and rhythms of existence, whether that be the changing seasons around us, or within us.
And isn’t that the beauty of life? These ebbs and flows keep us moving and growing and shifting into newer versions of ourselves. There is an adventure in newness, a wonderful mystery in that which is yet to come. I believe the more we can embrace the ever-changing nature of life, the more at ease we will be as we live it.
For many of us, when we were younger, we were much more comfortable with change. We found excitement and thrill in life and all that it had to offer. We were explorers, relentlessly seeking to discover what else was out there. We dreamt wildly as to what we might possibly do with our lives. As we grow older, fear and practicality creep in and we tuck many of those dreams in a dusty old corner of a sock drawer, never be to reclaimed. We begin to limit ourselves, limit what we believe is possible. Our lust for life tends to grow dull as we quiet our desires to seek after the unknown and discover the newness of life once again.
A Beautiful Goodbye
This is not to say we cannot or should not grieve over goodbyes. In fact, I believe grieving to be one of the most precious and important experiences of life, and we would do well with giving ourselves over to that experience more when it comes knocking. Grieving is good for the soul. It takes us into the depths of our vulnerability and has the potential to become a doorway into dimensions of love that I believe we could not discover otherwise.
And yet, we run from it.
What if, instead of running from the pain of goodbyes, and therefore clinging on when it is time to move on, we leaned into the grief? We can allow it to take residence within us for as long as it needs, with an understanding that through it, we will be gifted deeper experiences of love and gratitude for what that person, that thing, or that experience offered to us. Grief tends to transform someone into something new, enriched with the invaluable experiences of love and loss.
Because we have allowed ourselves the closure of fully grieving a goodbye, perhaps we can somehow become even more excited and curious about what is to come next.
I believe the goodbyes prepare us for the hellos. The hellos, for the goodbyes. You cannot have one, without the other. With every hello, comes an eventual goodbye. Every goodbye promises a new hello. And there is profound beauty in both.
All You Are Is Ready
I believe each moment, each experience, is preparing us for the next. Much of our worry about change is due to a fear that tells us we are not ready for it. But what if every moment in your life up to this point has prepared you for this moment right here? All you are is ready.
Life is change. Look, it is all around you. We breathe in and out from moment to moment, and this is change. We can see that as scary, or we can see it for the truly breathtaking phenomenon that it is. We are immersed in mystery and possibility. This is life. It ebbs and flows like the tides of the sea. We are life, and we too ebb and flow.
I think sometimes we tend to hold on too tightly to an idea of who we think we are, not fully seeing that we are transforming. And when we ease into that acknowledgment, we can more fully recognize the infinite potential that always lies before us. You are not stuck. None of us are. By design, we are incapable of staying the same.
So, resistance to change is resistance to life itself. Let us not fight against life. Rather, let us look towards it with eyes of curiosity and a heart wide open, always ready to journey forward. There is so much yet to experience, so much yet to discover. There are goodbyes that will break your heart, and hellos that will put it back together again. There are dimensions of yourself waiting to be uncovered- tears and laughter, love and loss, all of it shaping you. Each experience making you a little more whole. The river of life is moving forward, ever forward. It is time to stop fighting against it, and allow it to carry you home.