Change. Impermanence. Everything changes. What kind of cosmic joke is that? Change is a universal experience for everything and everyone and I am just as subject to change as the rest of creation. The changes brought on by Multiple Sclerosis are my personal object lesson in physical impermanence. But even the sadness and discontent I experience at times as I grapple with physical limitations can dissipate completely given the right stimulus. And to top it all off, MS limitations themselves also change and give me no certainty from day to day that any of my well laid plans will come to be.
Life is like a river full of events, flowing constantly. Where there is life there is change. A simple concept with profound implications. The very ground I try to plant myself upon and affix my world to is simply unreliable. How do we get through life with so much turbulence? Are we kind of numb to it? Do we tune in to a different channel to obscure the facts? Are we zoned out much of the time to escape? How am I supposed to cope with so much serendipity?
There is a way.
I do not remember when I first began to think that I was separate from the whirling storm of feelings and ideas that crowded my thoughts. Was it as a little girl who grew up in a home characterized by chaos and uncertainty? Was it there that I took a step back to observe without internalizing the relationships and situations? Or did I just block out the dissonance and wait for the liberation of young adulthood? If I could have said anything to the teenage me those many years ago, it would have been, “... you are really close, but let me tell you about compassion, self care and love.”
Mindfulness meditation is about embracing life as it is and myself as I am. With the awareness that change is inevitable comes the understanding that everyone experiences change. We are all connected to one another by the ways in which life impacts us.
As I steer my vessel across the river of this life I will encounter other vessels and will likely bump into one or two. When that happens I may find myself at odds with the pilot of the impeding craft. Once I begin to see that the occupant and I are one, the opposition vanishes, whether the pilot is a face with a name or a disease I attempt to hold at arms length.