” Most everything in the Universe changes with age: Stars consume their fuel and die: the Earth loses its atmosphere by evaporation into space and ultimately will become an airless, dead, planet and we, as humans grow wrinkled and wise.” Kip S. Thorne (Black Holes and Time Warps)
Change never takes no for an answer. Whether we are ready or not change will take us by the hand and dance us to its own rhythm, be that a Foxtrot, a Tango or a Waltz. And when change occurs with a clash of cymbals, a roar of timpani, or the deafening silence between, we know the moment, this moment, has caught our attention.
Some see change as “too fast’ or “too slow”. Some of us resist change while others jump into the abyss with wild abandon. Change brings out the best and the worst in us. We resist it, long for it, dread it and love it. All depending on our present circumstances and the moment in which we notice its arrival. For although change is ever present, we only notice it when the comfortable rhythm to which we have been dancing, suddenly shifts.
Whatever change means for you, for me it is most often about opportunity. How can I use this change, the one I had no idea was coming, to inspire myself and to re-member the whole is greater than the sum of the parts? Perhaps not all within me is aligned. Perhaps I have judgments about the physical, the material, the emotional or the mental parts of myself. Perhaps I have a habit I have not recognised until someone or something points it out. Perhaps there is a struggle that repeats itself time after time and now that I recognise it, have the choice to do something about it, or not.
How precious is this time of Change when we can look outside ourselves and see with startling clarity, the time to make a difference has arrived
JtB, my Teacher, for the past 20 years tells us “We were born to be of service.” That does not mean we have to jump up and do something. Our service to our world, to humanity, to the animal and plant kingdoms can come by simply taking the time to look at how we choose to respond or reacted to the changes around us. Have we struggled, complained, ranted against the powers that be, or have we discovered ways to take responsibility, accept our civil duty, share our compassion, kindness and in so doing bring a little more light into the world.
Meditating on what we want our world to look like, sending circles of light and love to every living thing in and on our planet for a minute or two everyday can make, literally the world of difference.
And yet, how and when we offer a hand, a meal or a little kindness depends so much on how and what we are going through ourselves.
The greater our struggle the more profound is the impact when we share something of ourselves.
When you think back to January and February last year what were your plans for 2019? Who of us imagined the world would literally stop. Billions of people have experienced and are still experiencing unimaginable change and loss. Millions of people are grieving the death of 1.8 million deaths due to the Corona Virus, not to mention 85.2 million confirmed cases people who have contracted the virus and whose health may have now been permanently compromised.
Here in Australia we went from catastrophic bush-fires to Covid 19 in a matter of a few weeks. No time to even consider rebuilding lives let alone estimating the loss of life ( at least 33 people) and animals ( estimated at 3 billion) when the virus arrived. Months of being in lock down, mandatory wearing of masks, profound feelings of isolation and loneliness, illness, deaths followed for so many of us. Loss of businesses that were build out of the dreams of their creators.
So you may ask how can we shift focus from our great losses to being of service. In my experience one does not cancel out the other. Grief and joy can coincide. After the sudden and unexpected death of my husband, in my darkest moments, I remembered the words someone once told me. If it was you and you are reading, this forgive me for not remembering your name and please let me know it was you.
When you feel you have nothing left to lose, give something away.
I contacted an organisation and asked whether I could volunteer. After police checks, car rego checks, insurance confirmations, I was at last welcomed into this organisation. The people I visit every week have no idea how much they give me. They could not begin to imagine the joy I feel as I visit them and see their faces and have a 60 second chat.
As we now get around like masked bandits it’s hard to smile at a friend or a stranger but crinkling my eyes and hoping those wrinkles convey a smile is my latest challenge.
Everything changes and there is no normal to return to.(Sorry but that’s the truth)
What sort of world do we want to live in? According to Sam Harris we want to live in a world where people are incentivised to do creative work that makes the world better and better.
But not just that. We want a healthier world where devastating diseases are controlled and eventually eradicated.
But not just that. We want food and clean water to become a natural and accepted part of Global distribution.
What sort of world do YOU want to live in? I have been asked this question a number of times over the past few months.
Personally, I want a world where diversity and difference is accepted. Where acceptance of self and other come before beliefs and opinions, although we have every right to have those too. I want a world where we understand the true meaning of Living in Harmlessness. And I want a world where random act of kindness become an intrinsic part of Man-KIND.
What about you? What sort of world do you want to live in?
The poem below is one of my favourites. Read it allowed. Read it slowly.
And then read it again.
One of the difficulties
in moving out of the familiar
is the temptation
to close off the full drama of change
before its own attractions
have a chance to ripen.
The sense of being bereft
of all that is familiar
is a vacuum which threatens
to suck up everything in its reach.
What is hard to appreciate,
when terror shapes a catastrohic gap,
is tha this blankness can be a fertile void.
The fertile void
is the existential metaphor
for giving up the famliar supports
of the present
and trusting the momentum of life
to produce new opportunities and vistas.
The acrobat who swings
from one trapeze to the next
knows just when he must let go.
He gauges his release exquisitely
and for a moment,
he has nothing going for him
but his own momentum.
Our hearts follow his arc
and we love him for risking
the unsupported moment.