One day does not change everything. Change is inevitable but one day does not define it. Where really is the beginning and where is the end? Any day can be a marker to start something or end something. Each doorway a threshold for change or an intention setter for your container. Just because it is January does not mean I have a clean slate or that it is time to start creating a new me. I don’t need a new me but I could stand to have a new perspective of me.
Buddhists believe life is a never ending circle with no beginning and no end. At the same time there are infinite beginnings and infinite ends. We keep traveling on, forward, around. The patterns we enact come again, like a merry-go-round (though not so merry if you ask me!). “I’m going to do it differently this time.” And maybe I do, slightly, but the results are the same and the change has not be drastic, the pattern not broken.
This year I learned about the importance of seeing the change, however so slight, because then I recognize the process of change. A tree doesn’t die and fall and rot overnight. And neither do I or my patterns. Learning to see the success in just noticing and being aware when i get a chance again to do it differently. That’s the out-breath or the space between the in and the out of meditation. The moment I have choice. And then the out-breath happens again, and if I did decide to do it differently and the end results are the same I can say that what I learned was a little more and what I saw was a little different and that next time, again, i will have a chance for choice, for vision, and see, again, what changed and what remained the same. And each time the change becomes more noticeable as the birds move out and the maggots move in. And the next time as the maggots leave and the microbes take over. And the next time when there is a sprout, a new, fresh beginning out of the compost of my death.
Mary Oliver, one of my favorite people who I only know by her written words, passed away from this plane of existence yesterday. Yet, she lives on through her words. She writes,
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
from Dream Work by Mary Oliver
published by Atlantic Monthly Press
© Mary Oliver
As I walked along a dried up creek bed in the high desert, I shared with a friend my despair and she shared hers. The sun lowered itself in the sky and met us eye to eye. As we walked and talked about love and heartbreak and new beginnings and warm winters and mental confusion, the sun continued moving toward the horizon casting a ruby hue on the mountains and the cacti radiated with color along the plain. Another day of light came to a close and the moon high in the sky, verging on wholeness became brighter to cast shadows that the sun had left. We said our goodbyes and went in. Another day. A new me. and also the same old me. All in one. And the days go on.