I finished changing over my closets today. It is something that still feels a little odd after so many seasonless years in sunny San Diego. While I welcome the change and am rather enjoying the need to wrap myself in cozy sweaters once again it also feels harder this year. This past spring and summer were quite transformative and by packing away all of the clothes I wore during that time I am admitting that it is time to not only change my clothes, but my life. I am now faced with the very real reality that I must now do something with all of those transformations. I must now put into action what I learned.
Change has never been my forte. Okay, I downright hate it, well except for when the oppressive heat of summer changes into the crisp cool air of autumn. I have been actively working to accept change and not freaking out over every minor detail, every minor shift or sway, but I am still very much a work in progress. When I was a child the doorknob on my bedroom door had to be replaced. I had gotten locked into my room because the doorknob had broken. I basically had to climb out of my bedroom window to get out while the whole doorknob issue got resolved. Long story short, I got a drastically different new doorknob. Never mind the old one had broken in a locked position holding me captive in my own room. I wanted it back. I hated the new doorknob. There was nothing wrong with it, and it didn’t randomly make me a prisoner by breaking, but it looked nothing like the old one. It felt nothing like the old one when I wrapped my hand around it. It was a change. I recently relived this moment all over again when my kitchen sink sprung a leak. After a dreadfully long day of multiple plumbers trying to stop water from spouting from my kitchen sink I wound up with a new sink and piping underneath. Now the piping I do not have to look at daily and there is a bunch of stuff under there to distract me when I do peek. The actual sink however gets used daily. And well, I missed my old sink, even though the new one is almost identical. Okay, I admit it, I still miss it sometimes. The new one just isn’t the same. Change. Both of these stories are about change. Minor, yes, but change all the same. And really, if we want to tease things apart a doorknob and a sink are not so minor considering they get used daily. Okay, I digress, and I have now demonstrated how painfully hard change is for me. I am still talking about a new doorknob I got when I was eight for crying out loud.
So here I am, a grown woman complaining about change and ruminating on the fact that twenty-two years ago I got a new doorknob and a few months ago I got a new kitchen sink. I’ve got a tough life I know, all over the world children are starving to death, people are dying in senseless wars, and many, many other unfair atrocities and here I am, complaining that not only did I have a doorknob and a kitchen sink to break, but the means with which to have them replaced. I lead a rough life, it’s true. The changes it is time to make in my life go far beyond a doorknob or sink. The feelings are the same though. There is fear and resistance. Even when the old is broken, I still cling to it, because it is familiar. It could be worse. It could be worse than being trapped in your own room or having water spout all over your kitchen. I have recently returned to Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart. I will leave you with two quotes that seem pertinent right now.
“We are given changes all the time. We can either cling to security, or we can let ourselves feel exposed…”
“To think that we can finally get it all together is unrealistic. To seek for some lasting security is futile.”