Impermanence



Isn't it true that when we are happy and enjoying ourselves, time seems to move much too fast, and we wish that the good times would continue on forever, but when things aren't going well for us, time seems to stand still, and we can't wait for the unpleasant situation to come to an end? But, in reality, we know that nothing is permanent, and that all circumstances, whether pleasant or unpleasant, are subject to change.


Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh speaks of the impermanence of everything in life and how if nothing ever changed, a seed would never grow into a plant, or a baby would never grow into an adult. As a matter of fact, every aspect of our life is in a constant state of change. As we evolve on our journey of higher consciousness, we are always transforming, shedding our old skin. I am not the same person I was a year ago, a month ago, or even a week ago, and I believe this is because I am growing. In my quest to become a better version of myself, I find I need to be open to change. As a matter of fact, I often jokingly say that Change is my middle name.


And what is change but the death of one phase and the birth of another? The Roman Emperor and philosopher, Marcus Aurelius, is quoted with an inscription in one of the walls of the Paris Catacombs: "Where is Death? Ever in the future or the past. Once here, already gone." I understand this message to be a reminder of the impermanence of our life and every aspect of it. We could be talking about death literally -- as in physical death -- or figuratively, such as the death of a phase in a relationship, the completion of a chapter of our life, or the ending of a lifestyle. As much as we all wish that the great things in our life will never end, they are bound to because everything in the universe is subject to change.


I have come to accept that nothing in my life is fixed and written in stone. And as I transition from one phase of my life to the next, I shed my old skin -- outdated beliefs, habits, relationships, and coping mechanisms that no longer serve me for my highest good. I am thankful for the valuable lessons I learned along the way, and I move on to the next step along my path.


Talking about impermanence, I remember that until the summer of 2018, we used to love going to the Ahalanui thermal ponds just down the road from our house. The water temperature was always around 88-90 degrees. It was so relaxing to float in the warm water. Never did it occur to us that we would lose the thermal ponds to the lava from the volcanic eruption. I see this as a reminder to enjoy what I have now because it might be gone tomorrow.


Embracing change also means being comfortable with the unknown and the unfamiliar. We all know the popular saying: "When one door closes, another door opens." But, what happens if the new door doesn't open right away? We may need to sit in the dark hallway for a little while before we go through the next door. It's important to be okay with being in the interim phase of 'no longer' and 'not yet'.


That's where trust comes in. When we believe that good things are coming to us, we trust that the universe has our back, and that we will be okay no matter what. When we have set an intention for the next step, we can send it off and let it go, knowing that blessings are on their way to us. This believing, this knowing, this trusting in good things to come -- that is what helps us to accept the impermanence of our life and make a smoother transition from one phase to the next.


Do you trust?


© Erika Marie McClane and Good Vibes, 2021