Change wouldn’t be so hard if you didn’t have to change with it. Even welcome changes that we’ve hoped and planned for present some cracks in the sidewalk for us. And when the changes we face are not our choices, keeping our footing gets even harder. No less difficult are the changes we feel we should make for our own well-being. In fits and starts and steps backward we struggle to make the changes we’ve set out to make.
Change is not an option for us, as we know. Wanted and unwanted change will come. Even when we’ve failed at some plan to change something like a habit, or an attitude, things won’t stay the same — a change has come just by making the plan. And, though change is constant we have a complicated relationship to it. We resist it, fear it, long for it, try to predict it. We dream of change, we run from change, we criticize change and we mourn it.
All in a day’s work. To be human is to experience change.
How we think about change can either expand us or constrict us. Learning and relearning to accept the coming together and coming apart nature of life can add grace and authenticity to our existence.
Perspective is a good teacher for us. Zadie Smith, an American novelist gives perspective on progress (change) and invites readers to consider the broader scope of cycles in life, giving us reason to hope in incremental change.
“Only the willfully blind can ignore that the history of human existence is simultaneously the history of pain: of brutality, murder, mass extinction, every form of venality and cyclical horror. No land is free of it; no people are without their bloodstain; no tribe entirely innocent. But there is still this redeeming matter of incremental progress. It might look small to those with apocalyptic perspectives, but to she who not so long ago could not vote, or drink from the same water fountain as her fellow citizens, or marry the person she chose, or live in a certain neighborhood, such incremental change feels enormous.”
I hope to see you at eleven:eleven this week for stories and ideas about change and the music of Gerry Rafferty, The Dixie Chicks, and Michael Franti performed by the eleven:eleven band.