January Newsletter 2016 – Change Happens

On this, the final day of January, I find myself instigator and witness to much change for the new year. When we are subject to significant change, it can be both stressful and exhausting. Engulfed with fatigue, I recall a quote by Edward Hirsch: “I need to live like that crooked tree—that knelt down in the hardest winds but could not be blasted away.”

Sometimes change is just about clearing out the dormant energy, the “stuff” that has collected of our possessions and “stuff” in our minds and bodies. But it isn’t just about focusing on the other end of this change. The work isn’t about getting from here to there. It matters that we pause to start where we are. It matters that we take time to recognize each aspect of the journey, noticing the pleasant as well as the unpleasant, and giving thanksgiving for all of it. Pema Chӧdrӧn (Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living) tells us, “You don’t have to transform anything. Simply letting go of the story line is what it takes,–that light touch of acknowledging what we’re thinking and letting it go is the key to connecting with that which we have.”

Before this year began, I set about letting go of the previous year(s) and asked for guidance.  Yet, I always think I’m doing it all alone. While cleaning, I came across a big metal button that says, “I just look like I can do it all!” A week later in an old journal I found this note, “Memo from God: Do not feel totally, personally, irrevocably responsible for everything. That’s my job.”

“Breathe!” my daughters remind me. Martha Beck would have us begin with wordlessness—a deep practice of not paying attention to words, but of paying attention to feelings, to stillness, and seeing our surroundings with soft eyes.

In The Translucent Revolution, Barbara Marx Hubbard is quoted as saying, “At a time of deep personal change and crisis, I came to see that all my efforts are, in a sense, in vain. Something beyond all of us is guiding the change we are passing through, and we have no choice or say in that. Our only responsibility is to surrender, and to allow that to do its work.”

Arjuna Ardagh, the author of The Translucent Revolution also reminds us, “…the process doesn’t imply a specific point of arrival. It is a way of living life with art and humor, returning continuously to here, and here, and here, always steeped in the vastness of the view and blessing each moment with a gift of creative presence.”

Let us be reminded, change is going to happen. Change is. We can fight it, but our survival may depend upon remembering to flow with it.