I am finding that like choosing your hard, change is an undercurrent. We fear it, crave it, pray for it, become complacent with it. Change is the most steadily resisted factor in our lives. Change is happening all the time, so we normalize it and create parameters for it. All in a misguided effort to somehow, someway manipulate it into being less scary than it is.
We seek permanence. We demand permanence. But nothing, absolutely nothing lasts forever...not even us.
We make promises, vows and commitments to each other, for each other that none of us really have the power to follow through on. We say forever, but really what we are all saying is today.
Change is the undercurrent of our lives, yet still we resist it, think we can alter its course and even delusionally think we can prevent it.
What if we tried to just allow change its rightful place in our lives? What if, instead of resisting and trying to control it, we just allowed each moment to come to us, fresh and new and didn’t add anything else to the moment? What would our lives be like then?
The pandemic has brought us all to a global table that I do not think we have all ever sat at together, especially at the same time. We are all sitting, whether we like it, accept it or resist it, at the great table of change. None of us knows what is going to happen next. So very many things this past year have drastically altered our course. So many things that we said could never happen, did in fact happen. And are still happening.
I think it is interesting how society has bifurcated itself into two camps. We have divided down political lines for the most part and have made non-political issues of health and safety (mask wearing) political. Why?
For me, I see it as a desperate need to orient towards something stable. Align yourself with like minded people to support your beliefs (which is nothing new - we do this all the time) but we are doing it now with a fervor and kadence that is perhaps more intense and definitely louder.
One of the weird things that has happened during the pandemic is we have a change crisis...stores are posting signs to have us all pay with either exact change or with plastic. Why? Why is there a sudden dearth of coinage?
According to the news, the economic slow down curtailed and almost stopped the flow of change. We were not out in stores spending money, we began ordering online and not wanting to exchange paper or coin money due to the virus. Which has resulted in a national coin shortage...which has left us all short changed. How apropos is that???
I find it ironic that during some of the greatest change in our lives, we still have a crisis labeled “change shortage”. This in a time where there has definitely NOT been a shortage of change. I know I am playing with words but I think that there is a lesson here...
Perhaps we do not really have a change shortage, but a change shortfall or change delay. We have labeled it a shortage but is that factually accurate? Or did people just stop using coinage in the way they used to? Change didn’t go away, it is just being held and not spent in the manner that it used to be...
My point is that this coinage shortage is due more to our perspective and definition of it than it is as to what is really going on. We do not really have a shortage...we have a delay. The pandemic didn’t cause change to evaporate, it just slowed down its circulation...and boy can we relate to that!
All of us slow down our circulation. We ceased a great deal of movement...and that caused lots of unintended things to happen...to include the passage of coins through our stores and economy.
Regardless of the label we place on what is going on, we are always in a state of change. Being moved from one moment to the next without any real regard for how much we will like it, or hate it, or even accept it. Life is like a moving river, sometimes it is swollen and coursing and other times, it meanders and takes its time.
As with everything in life, change can be viewed in drips and drabs and change can be torrential and sudden. Regardless, life changes with every breath we take.
For me, I am not going to accept the label of a change shortage during a time when everything, literally everything, has changed. I am going to call it a change up, or change delay which some may argue is just semantics but I think if we are going to label things, we might as well get it right, or at least more accurate.
Change is hard. But does it really have to be?
Can I not get up everyday and acknowledge to myself that I have no real idea what is going to happen? Isn’t there a way to make peace with that instead of running myself ragged trying to keep out the hard change and only make room for soft, easy change.
Every day I can appreciate change in its many, varied ways that it comes into my life:
Change of seasons
Change of perspective
Change of weather
Change of mind
Change of heart
Change of security
Change of direction
Change, hard or not, is coming for me, to me and at me all the time. To insist that my life somehow be exempt from the changing landscape of time and life, seems like folly to me. An endless tilting at windmills that will forever come unmoored and chase me down a path...
I do better when I accept the one, unaltered and insurmountable truth: change is the only constant. I can take comfort in it because it will always come for me. It will sometimes come at me, for me or against me. I will label it hard or good or bad or destructive. I will lament and cry and elate and celebrate it...forever. Perhaps, my most nobel purpose is just to accept it. Change will sometimes be hard. But it will also sometimes be grand. Regardless of whether I like it or not, it is here, in the minutes and hours of my life. Change moves me forward toward the end. I can’t escape it...but I can make room for it and incorporate it into the fabric of my life.
And that is often the hardest change of all...finding a way to live my life in the moment instead of all at once. It really makes no difference whether my life circumstances cause me to hold on or let go...there will always be a reason to feel like there is a shortage, a delay, a windfall, a gap, a rush, a torrent...because change, regardless of its perceived trajectory, is forever happening because life is impermanent. And we can only escape that fact for so long...eventually we all must reckon with our greatest teacher...change leaves no one in the dust. Hard change is part of a full and rich life. Acceptance and benevolence to the forever changing tides allows me to ride the highs and lows breathing deeply into each moment in an attempt to learn the lessons of my life.