A lot of things have changed over the last few months, but then again, life always changes. THESE changes, however, feel much more monumental––life altering, in fact. For whatever reason, I’ve recently been given the ability to see more clearly and to recognize situations I’m not willing to stay in. The entire dynamic is a privilege; I’m well aware of this fact.
I have been struggling with hard decisions and I’m still in the middle of that struggle but life isn’t about constant ease. We struggle so we can work through our blind spots, change the things that aren’t working and hopefully come out on the other side wiser, more grounded and hopefully happier, having gone through the ordeal and arrived at a better place.
The entire situation has provided me with the ability to put life in order, to reevaluate those things that are most important and to let go of the things that aren’t working. This is where I find myself today … still in the middle of it all but making decisions about the next best steps.
Using the ocean as a metaphor for life, I’ve been in all of the depths throughout my years––riding the waves of the highs and lows, in the abiding deep when life feels grounded, calm and peaceful, and in the twisting, twirling surf––a place of agitation when I’m still trying to figure things out. That’s the place that’s been most prevalent over the last few months, the place that says ‘this isn’t working any more; what are you gonna do about it?’ And that place begs the question, ‘what’s next and how am I going to get there?’
My first inclination was to take on more, do something different, challenge myself … but as I settle in the evening, I think ‘why, Heather? You’re in the eve of your life, not the morning or even the afternoon.’ The next thought, however, is that considering myself in the eve feels pessimistic; I do have a lot of life to live, God willing.
The questions. The questions. The agitation. The confusion. The calm. All of it. Life changes.
And I go back to what’s important (and as song that keeps running through my head): ‘I live a simple life … a coupl-a friends I really like … a little house outside of town, an old car that gets me around. Complications may arise but I live a simple life.’
I have been trying for years to live an embodied, slow, simple, reflective, learning, writing life, and for many years at a time, I’ve succeeded in all of those efforts. Yet for many other years, the ‘complications’ have been central, my judgement has been clouded and I’ve been caught up in the race. It’s time to go back to basics. Again.
Simplicity. Stillness. Movement. Prayer. Breath awareness. Checking in with myself each day. Putting my phone down. Quieting my mind. Spending time in nature. Journaling. Reading. Writing. Laughing with friends. Sipping my tea slowly. Sewing. Truly embodying the life of a simple human doing the best she can. Loving others. Feeling my feelings. Preparing food with my husband. Watching our daughter grow into an amazing young woman. Playing with our dogs. Sometimes just being.
Easy enough, right? I know I’ll succeed because I’m aware and I recognize the need. I also know I’ll fail many times too, because the only constant in life is that it changes.
Control is an illusion and a function of the ego. Sure, we can generate awareness, do our best, direct our days to some extent, but ultimately the entirety of our lives are working out for our own good with little effort from us individually. Trying to make sense of it all might be the biggest time-waster on earth.
It all brings me back to a mantra by Thich Nhat Hanh: “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” Just saying those words brings me the peace I seek to ride the constant change that is life.