Blog entry by Kathy Cleveland Bull
December 23, 2015
I remember the moment…that moment when I finally got it all together. My kids were happy and healthy. My boss loved me. My relationship with my spouse was on solid footing. The sky was blue and there was money in my wallet. Yes, I had at long last completed my quest for the illusory Holy Grail! What a blissful 2 ½ minutes!
Then the hamster died. And the towel rack fell down. I was faced with that altogether unpleasant and nagging reality of life that no one wants to face. Things don’t stay all together. Not even for one minute. What a bunch of bad news!
There seems to be an inner drive to get it all together. I see it in my clients, coworkers, friends and family. But nothing stays pinned down, pressed, folded, clean or neat. My daughter reminds me that entropy is responsible for her messy bedroom. Yes, bedrooms move towards messiness! Heck, life is messy and more importantly it is impermanent. Nothing stays the same. So why do we spend so much of our life force trying to make it so. Because we are hardwired to try to find stability in a world of instability. But there lies our frustration. It feels like an unfortunate set up. But in fact it is what makes life, life.
The next time you grumble because the bed you just made has been jumped on or the fruit you bought has now spoiled, try looking at the ways impermanence works for you. You get a cut, scape or burn and your body heals. You reach reconciliation with your partner after a blow up. Your bad mood shifts, the clouds lift. You begin to appreciate the rhythms of the earth, the sun, the moon, the changing of the seasons, the shifting sands and the coming in and going out of the tides. If it weren’t for impermanence a baby would never be born and a suffering elder would not die.
Now I try to look for bliss right in the middle of the instability and unpredictability of life. I appreciate that that perfect flower in bloom will not last long, so I take it in more fully with all my senses. I know my daughters will soon be launching into their own independent lives, so I stare at them a little longer and hold them a little tighter. And I keep the tools ready for when the towel rack falls.