"Our whole lives are a process of transition…Many of us get lulled into believing what we have now will always be here. This is a central cause of our suffering. We want that which has the nature to change to stay the same…But facing the truth of impermanence actually frees us up to live our lives more deeply and to transform our deepest fears." - Kaira Jewel Lingo, We Were Made for These Times
I spend a lot of time thinking about transformation. I remember there was point about 20 years ago when I felt as if I were stuck in a chrysalis stage. I kept waiting for my proverbial wings to sprout - When is this going to be over, already? Eventually, I did move forward from that stage, but I don’t think I was even aware of the unfurling at the time. The growth was something that I only realize now in hindsight. Not surprisingly, outside forces then sent me back to metamorphosis with another life lesson to incorporate. I was back to spinning a metaphorical cocoon and hanging out in incubation.
It took me a long time to appreciate that process, to realize that we are in a constant and perpetual cycle of becoming. When we’re in that cocoon, we’re gathering strength, knowledge, compassion, a greater capacity for love - and that is what helps us to burst forth with the tenacity to spread our wings and fly who-knows-where. We might think we have a destination in mind, but the only constant on the journey is change. Dealing with change often requires a shift in perspective, and a willingness to release old beliefs to open ourselves to what might be possible. To be is to be present - to come back, again and again, to the present moment. To be present is an active state; it requires diligence. To be present to the journey is to embrace presence itself, and that requires a certain amount of malleability.
One would think it would be simple to live in the present moment when the present is all we have. It’s simple enough in theory, but simple is not the same as easy. We are lured - sometimes haunted - by memories of the past. We live in loops of what we did or did not manage to accomplish last week, words said or left unspoken umpteen months ago, and losses that we have yet to process. We are seduced by constructs of a future that does not yet and may never exist. I don’t have enough time or money or energy to focus on X today, we think. I’ll look at it tomorrow.
But tomorrow is not a guarantee, and we will not be the same person in the future. Events shape us, our environments shift, relationships begin and end, and families expand and contract. Scientific American reports that the human body replaces 1% of all its cells daily. Again: change is the only constant. We can’t hold onto the present moment; we can only endeavor to be present for it.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I’ll be offering 30-minute LIVE seated mindfulness meditation sessions via Instagram LIVE on Thursday nights at 9pm ET through May 2023. Just follow me on Instagram and add a reminder to your calendar to tune in.
Paid subscribers to my Substack receive access to a 10-minute recorded mindfulness meditation once a month. Your support is greatly appreciated.