070407 – Saturday – Change, the only constant

A friend’s family is going through some big changes. And when she and I talked about it the other day, she was feeling mixed about it all. She was wanting , on one hand, to embrace the changes and she was mourning a bit, perhaps, on the other hand, for the things they were going to leave behind.

I told her that I don’t think change can be avoided. In fact, when we try to avoid change, change will end up stalking us.

All life, all existence, is change. And riding over the changes are cycles. We assimilate and then we act. We design and then we build. We save and then we spend. We learn a way of life and then we transcend it. We are born, we live and we die.

If we are here for anything, we are here to experience, learn and grow. As life happens to us, we are offered choices. We can choose to try to hang onto what we have and to consolidate our gains but sooner or later, the cycle will turn and we will be called upon to strike out again and grow and learn and accumulate more experience. Those who resist are denying that change is a deep law of existence and they will come into conflict with it inevitably. Those who listen to the gentle urgings calling them out to transcendence are honoring how existence works. Those who try to stand still in the river of time, will feel the gathering press of the rising river of change.

Look around. You will see the evidence of this everywhere. People trying to hang on to their youth while time moves past them. People trying to hang onto their job, just as it is, while the corporation and its requirements evolves around them. People of a conservative bent, trying to keep their lives and their societies just as they were in an earlier day – and over the long run losing the battle as the historical dialectic unavoidably derives the present from the past and the future from the present.

See the middle-aged men who, when they were younger in their twenties, dominated the young women they were with because those ingénues were still trying to work out their places and their roles in a male dominated culture deeply infused with the iconic deceptions of the suggestive sexual role advertising blitz we all live under. Now older, these women have found their feet and their centers and they know much better who they are and what’s important. The balance of power between the sexes shifts as we age and the macho men who thrived on compliant women now find themselves playing to an unappreciative audience. A deep reevaluation or a fall into the bottle are often the only two choices faced by men who’ve never developed the art of introspection and a willingness to change and grow.

Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
You been out ridin’ fences for so long now.
Oh you’re a hard one, I know that you got your reasons,
These things that are pleasin’ you can hurt you somehow.

Don’t you draw the queen of diamonds, boy,
she’ll beat you if she’s able,
you know the queen of hearts is always your best bet.
Now it seems to me some fine things
have been laid upon your table
but you only want the ones that you can’t get.

Desperado, oh you ain’t gettin’ no younger,
Your pain and your hunger they’re drivin’ you home.
And freedom, oh freedom, well that’s just some people talkin’,
Your prison is walkin’ through this world all alone.

Don’t your feet get cold in the wintertime?
The sky won’t snow and the sun won’t shine,
it’s hard to tell the night time from the day.
You’re losin’ all your highs and lows,
ain’t it funny how the feelin’ goes away?

– Desperado by The Eagles

I remember my mother and the sad habits she fell into towards the end of her life. Rather than embracing life and walking into it as one might walk into a warm caressing wind, she decided to draw lines in the shifting sand and then fought to hold them. She was an alcoholic and her life settled into a repeating cycle. When she’d just emerged from a binge and she was gathering up the pieces, she would decide that if everything in her house was as neat as a pin, if she had the right job, if her finances were organized just so and if the place she lived in was quiet so that the neighbors didn’t stress her, then everything would be alright. She would fight to make it all just as she wanted it – and she would achieve it. But, always, something was missing. Politics would arise at work, the apartment, which was so quiet when she moved in, would seem to get noisier the longer she stayed. The finances she worked out so nicely would be upset when her car needed a repair. In short, the perfect world she tried to create always faltered against the chaos of reality. Today’s quiet apartment, which was so much better than the last place she’d lived, would slowly become the new status quo – and the noise levels would ‘seem’ to increase. And the only answer was to move to a quieter place again – but the problem would repeat. Further and further she painted herself into corners of her own making – resisting and denying and refusing to accept life and existence as it was and trying to make it fit her plan. And then one day, she’d have a drink, slip over the edge, lose her job, blow her finances, make her neighbors crazy, and a week later call me to come over and save her from the spiders on the wall. She’d be deep into delirium tremens and I’d spend hours assuring her she was sane and that it would all pass. Then, we would begin again.

Change is good. It’s what’s on the menu here. Enjoy what you have and remember that it all may, and probably will, change at some point. Your children grow, the face you look at in the mirror ages, the people you are competing with get smarter, everyone dies. It’s the plan, it’s the way and we can grok and embrace it and make the very best of it and ride the waves of change to maximize our growth and experience before we’re called away – or we can resist the impossible and waste the time that’s given to us.

– for Katy –

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