Every once in a while (or perhaps more frequently than I?d like to admit) I find myself trying to balance my own life. Taking care of clients, blogging, writing, maintaining relationships (with those I love the most), exercising, answering emails, handling unforeseen crisis, cleaning clutter out of my garage, suffice it to say one of my greatest challenges is not only getting all these things done day after day but also understanding and assimilating the changes that I face day in and day out. Understanding and accepting change is a personal encounter.
Renewal may be the essential quality of life both in nature and in our self, so we need to keep a fluid sense of our self over our whole lifetime. But understanding and accepting change and flexibility is about true courage. A structure that’s frigidly rigid will soon break, but one strong enough to be malleable can bend and weather the tides of change. In the same way, having a supple vision for your satisfying relationship is key to keeping it alive, rich and fulfilling over time, while hanging onto a inflexible plan that doesn’t permit changes is a recipe for relational chaos.
For nothing is more dynamic than a living, breathing relationship. The myth of marrying young and living “happily ever after, til death do us part” doesn’t allow for the rapid changes of modern life or for our increasing life spans. Our jobs and careers alter with our interests; fashion shifts with the decades; children grow; and so do we. Our ever changing world, and self, requires we stay current with our surroundings to ensure we’re maintaining our own personal balance. Without diligent tending, our lives can become stagnant and brittle, leaving us wondering what happened to our comfort zone.
Before we know it, years have passed. We’ve manifested, as best we could, whatever visions we had raising a family, pursuing a career, establishing wealth, or building a business. These achievements can give us a sense of accomplishment, but may leave us wondering what to do next. Change is always on the horizon; wanted or not.
Why is change important? For me, the answer turns out to be the same metaphorically as literally: so I can maintain my flexibility and sustain vitality. Change often requires complex calculations and risk to arrive at the best answer in any given situation. In addressing change, we may have to take a step back and identify new ways to adapt to the changes that the world and the people in it send our way. We must take courageous action to restore the sense of security we had before the reality of change disrupted our old comfort levels. As Nichiren Daishonin wrote, A sword is useless in the hands of a coward. You can’t force anyone else to become happy with change if you yourself are unhappy with the ever changing reality of change.
The good news is that we can start right now to apply what we do understand about feeling safe with the changes we face daily and begin to cultivate a sense of self that’s balanced within all the lives and loves we touch.
Make a commitment to talk about your visions for your life with someone you love at least once a year, no matter what the stages of the relationships are.