Fall passes quickly here in the mountains. Our longest season is winter here in western Montana. Spring is also often short and summer is for many much much too short. For me, though, time and seasons pass in just the right amount of time. While I can get caught and attached and hung up in many varying elements of life the passing of time and the weather are areas I practice with to become comfortable amongst, accepting of, and in harmony with.
Sometimes, for me, like now, it is easier to embrace the changes of the season than to embrace my own changes. Somehow it seems we’ve been taught that change is not only not good but it’s looked down upon as something not supposed to happen. We’re always changing! We just don’t always take notice.
When challenges arise in our daily life it is easy to fall back on this common notion of how things aren’t supposed to change – life isn’t supposed to be like this. When challenges arise life is changing. And oftentimes change doesn’t start out looking so swell. In fact, it can feel pretty miserable and agonizing. Change, whether it happens fast or slow, is a process, an unfolding, and often involves a lot of unanswered questions, turmoil, agitation of past ideas, and restlessness. Change takes time and adjustment and patience.
Right here in this moment I want this change stuff, this transformation stuff happening to hurry up. I am in an awkward state of in between and I don’t like it. Life is changing for me, new ideas are forming, old ideas I was so sure of are less clear, I’m restless and yet often falling into lethargy. I’m turning to outside distractions to cradle me into a false and fleeting sense of safety. And there’s part of me that says, “This isn’t how life is supposed to be.” And yet when I look with the eyes of my practice I see that this too is part of life. Seasons are mimicked in our everyday lives. Sometimes it’s warm and sunny, sometimes colors are fading and the temperatures are dropping, sometimes very little movement can be seen or felt and it’s very dark, and sometimes life is coursing all around us and flowers are blooming.
In nature’s four seasons none of the cycles can be discounted or erased. Even if you live in one part of the world that doesn’t really see an autumn or winter they have to exist somewhere in order for the world to go on as it does. We are like this too. We have cycles and changes and seasons and while I may not like this particular one I’m in right now I also know that it too is part of everything else. Discomfort is often a necessary part of growth. If I’m always comfortable swimming along in life chances are I’m coasting in that safe little offshoot of water that keeps me moving really slowly, trying not to change.
Through these challenges I am facing I also see that this confusing, unpleasant state of mind that I am in is not permanent – this too, like all things, will change. And I am practicing to breathe deeply and embrace this uncomfortableness as part of and not separate from life. And some moments all I can do is come back to my breathing and know that I am breathing – and repeat.