The New You
“Attachments color our perception of reality, distorting its nature and value. We may think we see reality clearly, but we usually adjust our version of events around whatever is most important to us.”
Wayne Teasdale (The Mystic Heart, p. 82)
We all have our attachments, don't we? I am attached to my way of life. Sometimes, we are attached to things simply because we don't know any other way to be. We think that our way is the only way, or at least, that it is the only way for us. When life changes, either suddenly, or over time, we are disoriented and off balance. I spoke with a friend of mine yesterday who is retiring this summer. She has been an elementary school teacher all of her adult life, but has several physical ailments that now make her job difficult. Her mind is reeling with the prospects of this major change—how will she structure her day? What will she do with herself?
When we go through the loss of a spouse, or a parent, or an important job, we feel unusually vulnerable and insecure. It feels as if we are suddenly not who we were; that we've become someone else, and we don't yet know who. When we are used to being robust and active, and something happens to slow us down—illness, or accident, or simply the aging process—we have difficulty recognizing ourselves. “This is not me!” we say. There is a funny book by Southern writer, Kathryn Tucker Windham, titled: She: The Old Woman Who Took Over My Life, examining this process of self-alienation. Windham was well into her 90's when she wrote it.
Learning to lean into change, rather than away from it is good for our mental and spiritual health. Our human tendency to resist change because it means that we must detach from something we hold dear causes us great anguish. We don't have to give in, or give up, in the face of ill health, or sorrow, or fear, in fact a fighting spirit is an asset. But we do have to accept that change happens, and when it does, we too must change. Change is reality. All living things change. If we are able to see change as an open door ahead of us, rather than a barred gate behind us, we will move with the flow of it and find new horizons and new challenges just as satisfying as the the old. Detach and you may discover yourself—the new you!
In the Spirit,