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Impermanence: Celebrating the Ebbs and Flows of Life

August, September and October were hard months for me. For both external and internal reasons. Projects ended. New projects began. Physically I was exhausted. I lost my wallet. The earthquake happened – literally shaking the ground beneath me and testing my resilience as I – a kapha, obsessed with grounding and stability – was physically and emotionally ungrounded.

This is life. This is existence. We are constantly in motion, constantly fluctuating, expanding, contracting, and transforming. Ultimately, all we are is energy, and have you ever heard of an energy that is not in constant dynamic motion?

Today, November 3, 2017, I am finally feeling a lightness, like I have moved through the stuckness of the past months and am finally out on the other side. What relief! I feel like celebrating, and celebrate I will. I’ll hold onto this lightness and happiness for as long as possible, but without gripping. I have learned in my mindfulness practice and studies, that the more you grip, the more painful life is. As we are constantly in motion, changing, and flowing, it is inevitable that this lightness will trade in for heaviness again. Darkness, difficulty, transition, discomfort, perhaps even pain. And so I celebrate knowing that that this is a fleeting moment to enjoy, but not to grasp onto. Because it will eventually give way to another emotional state, which will in turn only last briefly. The more we resist by gripping and attachment, the more we make our lives difficult when it is time to let go.

Photo credit: Megan Swanick

It’s like holding a coin or a stone in your hand. Try to hold it with your palm facing down – what happens? Either it falls out or you have to contract and clench the muscles of your hand. Now try holding the coin or stone with your palm facing the sky. What happens? You’re able to hold the object, but with gentleness and ease. This is the energy I’m talking about – nurturing yourself and your emotions without attachment or expectation that it will last forever., because it won't. Inevitably.

Nothing is permanent. Everything is temporary. Including, and especially emotional states. The trick – I’ve found – is to practice presence and mindfulness so that when we do enter the darker times, we have the mental wherewithal, resilience, and context to endure with lightness, knowing that the darkness will eventually give way to light. And when the light arrives, celebrate we will.

This is it. This is life. Don't resist it.