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Dear Sheila::
I keep coming back to our short conversation about change in the kitchen last Thursday.
I was so very excited by your observation that you are becoming more and more aware of new things about yourself--aware of how change is happening in and for you. It has been my experience that the times in my life that have been periods of easiest and most profound change have been when I have been simply noticing and allowing changes that are already occurring rather than forcing change to happen because I think I would be a better or happier person for it.
We are constantly changing and adapting and we are never going to be able to fully comprehend the various factors that are operational or motivational in our lives (in large part because it isn’t all about us) nor the diverse and mysterious ways in which we perceive and come to know things. I remember having the thought, one bright summer day on a sand-dune in the southern US, “I am walking like a pregnant woman,” weeks before Nikki’s conception was confirmed by medical tests and without ever having had the experience of being pregnant before. There was just something I noticed, in the way my body was naturally moving, that was different and somehow I knew the significance of that change.
I have a growing suspicion that the decisions that we think we make through logic and often with much angst are just final realizations or acknowledgments of a change that has already taken place without our conscious awareness. Often these changes come as a shock, but they needn’t. The ‘decision’ to leave a job or a spouse or partner is just the belated recognition that you have really already withdrawn your life energy from your employment or your relationship. By the time a letter of resignation is submitted, the real change has already happened and what remains are just the details of working out a leaving date, replacement and the final paycheque. The part of us that is actually making choices in each moment is far more sensitive to ourselves and our environment than we can comprehend and responds to an infinite number of factors that are outside the realm of our personal understanding. It is also able to move with great speed and assurance; to instantly drop a habit or pattern that is not life-affirming and always willing, even eager, to consider or try something new.
It is my experience that life and its circumstances are constantly nudging us towards wholeness, love and compassion EVEN WHEN IT DOESN’T LOOK OR FEEL THAT WAY. When we see new leaves on a tree we feel excited and wax poetic on the beauty and wisdom of nature. When we see leaves curling and dying in preparation for winter but in advance of the cold and snow, why are our hearts not just as full with wonder and appreciation that the tree knows perfectly how to ensure its ongoing life?
It seems to me, the greatest service we can extend to life-affirming change is to recognize and have faith in the newness that is growing in us, to take delight and to not impede it; to realize that we are naturally and with a profound sensitivity to ourselves and everything around us, taking the evolutionary steps that will enable us to be deeply happy without impeding the ultimate happiness of others and to be a blessing all around. It seems to me that we come to faith through experience and this is why I was so excited by your internal experience and awareness of this mode of change.
I hope it is clear that I am not suggesting a passive approach to life and our constant evolution. It’s more of a different understanding of the source and nature of growth and how we can experience change as a period of ease, grace and assurance rather than stress, striving and doubt.
So, there you have what was stimulated in me from our brief conversation.