Sunday, March 4, 2012
This, too, shall pass
We are cyclic beings living in a cyclic universe yet we try so hard to be linear. I wonder when that began - was it during the Enlightenment?
Trying to force ourselves into the paradigm of a straight line never works well. For instance, those who diet reach their "ideal" weight and then believe they can, they SHOULD be able to maintain that weight no matter what, a very frustrating experience for many, since the natural cycle of weight ebbs and flows with the seasons and life phases of all humans. It doesn't ebb or flow extremely if we eat well, exercise, breathe, sleep, and such, but it does vary. I feel sad for folks who weigh themselves every day and worry about a pound or two of difference from day to day. Those two pounds might reflect the cycle of fluid retention, a full stomach or other variables. We are encouraged, culturally, to worry about the slightest of changes even though it's perfectly normal.
I have a client who is working to learn a second language. Some days all the synapses click and she can speak fluently. Other days she feels "off" and can't remember how to conjugate a simple sentence. Part of that has to do with her age (it's hard to learn a new language after forty) but it also has to do with the ebb and flow of the mind. The ability to focus can be practiced; that's why I meditate, but I'm not consistent in my ability to stick with my breath, even after meditating for thirty years. It's cyclic, sometimes I'm with it, other days not so much. Meditation practice does not follow a path of accomplishment. It's not about being a beginner, intermediate, or advanced practitioner. Some days I'm all three simultaneously! It's not a straight line.
One of my mantras has to do with remembering that whatever is going on at the moment, physically, mentally or emotionally, will not last forever! Change is inevitable because we are cyclic beings. If you're having one of those years during which you catch every cold, this doesn't mean you will now be sick every winter forever. It's likely that next year you'll do a lot better. Likewise if you're moody right now, try to be gentle with yourself. Your mood will pass like the ever-changing moon. If you're stuck in a mood, seek some help to move more smoothly into the cycle of emotion (that help might come from a therapist, an acupuncturist, or massage therapist, or might entail getting outdoors for some vigorous exercise or making sure you have some nights of solid sleep).
I think aging is difficult for many because we have such a hard time identifying as cyclic beings. We are achievers, wanting to climb ever higher, become ever better. We want to climb the infinite mountain of goodness and greatness without ever glancing back. What a lovely fantasy, though unfortunately it has nothing to do with the nature of life. The cycle of youth passes - it does! We baby boomers had our time, now it's someone else's turn to be young, full of piss and vinegar. For many of us, especially of my generation who promised never to trust anyone over thirty, the truth comes as a bitter shock.
We are dynamic, cyclical beings, ever changing. Whatever is going on for you right now that you don't much care for, no worries, it will pass. Sad to say that whatever is happening that's just perfect at the moment will pass, too. Make sure you enjoy the moments when you're happiest and most satisfied.
Nothing is cast in concrete, nothing, because we are cyclical creatures. There is no end to the circle, no end. Shalom.