Wednesday, June 17, 2020

The calendar of ebbs and flows of the soul

Most of us don’t change until we have to. 

But the best time to prepare for change is before we need to. 

And so, why wait until things get visibly shaky? Better to habituate ourselves to the inevitable loss and uncertainty and fear that change brings. Better to train ourselves to make those small, effortless and irrelevant changes on the regular. 

That way, when the big kahuna comes along, we’ll be in a better position to ride it. 

Senge writes in his pivotal book about the dance of change our sense of surrender can make this process much lighter:

The notion that everything is in motion, in process, can relieve us of the pressure to have everything fixed and worked out. The only reliable thing we can know is that this situation shall change. And we can comfort ourselves with the knowledge that whatever we are experiencing is not forever. 

Imagine if you adopted that mindset. The prospect of change would not only become less cumbersome, but more attractive. 

It’s just a weather pattern. How long can it keep raining, anyway? 

Hawaii definitely has a few cities with the most consecutive days of rain in the country. But that happened back in the late thirties, when it rained for two hundred days straight. A meteorological anomaly. Outside of that, it never rains for more than a few days. Maybe a week. 

Thoreau once called this the calendar of ebbs and flows of the soul. He wrote in his legendary journals:

The mind is subject to moods, as the shadows of clouds pass over the earth. Pay not too much heed to them. Let not the traveler stop for them. They consist with the fairest weather. 

His concept not only applies to matters of the mind, but to matter itself. 

Change is taking place everywhere at every moment. And we can wait until it taps us on the shoulder to take action. 

Or we can throw our arms up in the air, surrender to the ebbs and flows of the soul, change before we need to, and have faith that the rain is going to pass eventually. 

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
Once you learn that small changes won’t kill you, what big changes might you try?