This life will not allow us to stand still. You will move, or you will be pushed. Change is a planetary law, no resident may live without it. Fighting back is like fighting yourself. How do you win a battle against a perfectly matched enemy? You can’t, no one wins. We only commit ourselves to a perpetual struggle that degrades us. Either we submit to change, or we forfeit our entire lives to emotional torment.
Wading at the beach on a hot summer day. The harsh sun rays beat against your skin warming it to the touch. The thick blue, cool shimmering water splashes against your shins as you march toward the deeper water. It rises higher and higher until it reaches your knees. Then a wave approaches, a whooshing, tumbling, tall and determined wave squaring up with you, what do you do? You could try to stand as absolutely still as possible, in a sense fighting against the tide, squaring up yourself, ready for battle. So how does it end? If you have been to the beach, then you know how this ends. The wave violently knocks you back, off of your feet, and you land square on your as*. The momentum throws your head back, and despite your toughness, your eyes squeeze tightly shut, like a child bracing for a whooping. Water rushes into your nose and sinuses, as you fight to stand up choking for oxygen, snotting and snorting. Congratulations, you just fought back, smooth.
I am a great swimmer, and I have been to the beach lots of time, and this still happens to me once in a while. Why? Because, foolishly, even after having experienced it time and time again, I get gassed, and think, I have the power to fight back, I can win. The wave represents change, and it has crashed upon all of us at one time or another. For some misguided reason, we still believe that we can win against it. Win against change? But we cannot, and we will not under any circumstances win this fight. Recognize, change is a planetary law, not some small force that we get to swipe left.
As the wave approaches, knees bent in anticipation, snarling and confident in its power, we are faced with a choice a simple but essential choice. Will we work with the wave, with change, or will we foolishly try to stand up against it. We know the outcome, we have all tried to float this boat before. The decision is made, and as the wave approaches we put our hands together acting out our best fish impression, our eyes squint in anticipation, we bend our knees further, steady, steady, and through the wave, we go. We pop up, on our feet, refreshed! We are not celebrating, no time, we pop up ready, and set for the next wave, the next obstacle. We are a change surfing machine, and we don’t feel degraded, quite the opposite, empowered, assured.
One may be able to stand up to a small wave or a small change, but remember the power of a mere constant ripple. A seemingly small and insignificant wave over time can move a coastline. It is not always an intense storm of change that degrades us or empowers us, often it is just a small constant ripple. It is our awareness, and our acceptance of these ripples, and cyclones of change alike that blow into our lives and weather us. All of us will be weathered by the hands of time and the winds of change. Will we waterlog, rot, and decay from our pride, and our insistence to fight. Or, will we expand, grow, and increase with a beautiful patina, lasting, and enduring for our days?
To embrace change is to embrace life.
Aaron L. Carroll
Photo by Leo Roomets