Change: I've been thinking a lot about that subject and how it affects me. At first I thought that because I am getting old I respond less well to change and there may be a bit of truth in that but then I realized that in truth I have never taken kindly to change, at least certain kinds of change. That caused me to ponder the whole subject.
This past week I've been exploring, as part of an online class I'm taking, the Japanese teachings called Morita. As part of the experience we had to do a number of things including keeping a journal throughout the day to note our feelings and what we were doing. That caused me to realize that most of the time I cannot even put a word to what emotions I'm feeling and that is no doubt the result of years spent denying the body and emotions as far as I possibly could. Noting what I am doing was less difficult of course because I'm focused on doing rather than being.
But another exercise involved listing things that I am in control of and things I'm not. That exercise was really an eye-opener for me and I realized that in fact as it relates to change, the changes I like are, not surprisingly, the changes I am in control of. I am now writing poetry, specifically, haiku although I'm starting to branch into other forms such as various 5 line forms. I am now crocheting and knitting amigurumi, little animals or creatures that are just plain cute. I have gotten a set of whittling tools and some chunks of wood and I'm going to try my hand at that. All of these are new artistic expressions for me and are designed to help me explore my artistic nature. New avenues of learning or expression have always appealed to me. I like learning or trying new things and that is why if I'd ever pursued a career, librarian was definitely the career for me on a variety of levels.
However, to return to the notion of change. I am in need of new ideas, new forms of expression, etc. and always have been. I like the challenge and I don't thrive well on repetitious tasks. But those types of change are within my control. I can chose what art forms to explore and while I might not become expert at any of them, I at least know where to go to get the needed information to learn about them.
Not all changes are like this. Many of the changes each of us has to face are not of our choosing in the first place and not within our control in the second place. I had no idea, and certainly no control over, events when my daughter, Pamela, decided to sever all connections with me without any warning (that I saw anyway). That was fourteen years ago and the pain never leaves me. But I'm having to deal with the fact that it probably never was about me, but rather about her need to individuate as an adult and at age 27, she certainly had not only that right, but responsibility and there was nothing that I could do except respect her decision. I've done that now for a lot of years and I realize that one thing I have absolutely no control over is whether she will ever choose to have a relationship with me again. I can hope for it and believe me that is one change I would welcome with open arms, but other than keeping my heart open to her, sending occasional letters and small gifts through a third party, and thinking of her with love and compassion, there is nothing I can do. My therapist keeps telling me that what I am doing is huge and that it has the potential to heal our family backwards through generations, but that is more abstract and more spiritual than I can get me head or heart wrapped around. Still, I do hold her words close to me, especially on bad days, and hope that the healing is occurring whether or not I live to see it. And the same is true for different reasons with my son, Eric, where I do have a tentative relationship and semi-annual visits, but nothing like what I thought my family would be. Change isn't always what I envisioned or wanted, but change is life.
And that is the bottom line. Whether it is change I pick or change I am stuck with, life is about change. I only have to look out my window to see that as the seasons change visibly each and every day. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and today it is pouring rain. A few weeks ago all the plants were dormant and now they are growing almost before my eyes. Change happens. My massage therapist will be gone from the island for a year as she pursues her dream to become a licensed midwife with a MA in midwifery. I have four more massages with her before she leaves. I am very excited for her and will be eager to hear of her experiences as she does her year's internship, especially the time she will be spending on a Navajo reservation. I will be eager to hear how her daughter likes her new school and her husband his new job. It is a very exciting opportunity for them all. But it will make a tremendous change in my life as I've had a weekly massage and sharing chats with her for about three years now maybe even more. Change happens.
And so it is time to think more about where I am and what I'm doing and to learn enough flexibility as well as major trust, both in myself and the cosmos, to realize that staying present in the moment, fully focusing on what I am doing, what I'm feeling, what is going on around me, being totally in tune with that, whether it is making a cup of tea, writing a blog post, scooping litter, or looking out my window at the crows hopping on my lawn, that staying fully present is the only way to go through life. The changes will happen. I need to go with the flow, not regret what happened in the past as that is over and done with and cannot be changed, not be anxious for the future, as again, that is out of my control and certainly out of my knowledge, but stay in the present. It is a hard task, but the only task really worth doing and the only one that can keep me fully alive in this world.