Spring and the Nature of Change
It's officially spring in the northern hemisphere, although it didn't feel that way in Paris today! It's a time of year that brings a change in our wardrobes, a clean out of our homes, a buzz of activity, a renewed spirit, a sense of rebirth. Even though we mark the seasons changing, things are actually always changing, and a fundamental part of self-acceptance (which is in turn a fundamental part of style) is being comfortable with the nature of change. Here to my eternal rescue as I do my internal work is Pema Chödrön with a few words on impermanence and embracing the present.
Impermanence is the goodness of reality. Just as the four seasons are in continual flux, winter changing to spring to summer to autumn; just as day becomes night, light becoming dark becoming light again—in the same way everything is constantly evolving. Impermanence is the essence of everything. It is babies becoming children, then teenagers, then adults, then old people, and somewhere along the way dropping dead. Impermanence is meeting and parting. It's falling in love and falling out of love. Impermanence is bittersweet, like buying a new shirt and years later finding it as a part of a patchwork quilt.
People have no respect for impermanence. We take no delight in it; in fact, we despair of it. We regard it as pain. We try to resist it by making things that will last—forever, we say—things that we don't have to wash, things that we don't have to iron. Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. We tend to forget that we are part of the natural scheme of things. Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don't struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality...
Relaxing with the present moment, relaxing with hopelessness, relaxing with death, not resisting the fact that things end, that things pass, that things have no lasting substance, that everything is changing all the time- that's the basic message...Giving up hope is encouragement to stick with yourself, to make friends with yourself, to not run away from yourself, to return to the bare bones, no matter what's going on...Without giving up hope—that there's somewhere better to be, that there's someone better to be—we will never relax with where we are or who we are.
- Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart (material from Chapters 7 and 10)
Here's to blossoming and growing, and being ok with being right here. Happy spring.