Tending to Impermanence with Wonder
This past weekend, my husband, in-laws, and I snuggled up in the basement and played ol home movies on VHS (VHS!). While it was a true delight to see my now-family, 20 years earlier - men in shortie shorts, women with perms, and all of the mustaches - a heaviness tugged on my shoulders and heart. I saw aunts I’ve never got to meet, lost to disease and tragedy too early. I saw unflappable 20- and 30-somethings who have since reckoned with grief, loss, and medical issues. My own weariness, I am sure, hangs heavy in part from witnessing what was then, and what’s so now. I also believe I’m experiencing pre-emptive sadness due to change within my family and friends as we inevitably age, and too reckon with disease, tragedy, grief, and loss.
You see, I love being “youthful.” I am somewhat embarrassed at this admission. I have very much loved my 20’s and the feeling of youthfulness that has accompanied it.
And I also know that change is the game. Impermanence is the nature and aging is inevitable. The life-death-life cycle will not spare me, no matter how much I cling to my youth.
A quick side story: I travelled to Los Angeles last month and was taken with the breeziness, and how the ocean met the mountains. I spent 72 hours in a state of full-bodied wonder. I hiked the desert, salty and sweaty, and plunged in the infinite ocean after. Tears spring to my eyes writing this. I was in a complete flow state, in awe of the Winnebago-lined highways and the air that tasted like freedom.
My LA experience of full-bodied wonder was so palpable, so tangible, that I can still touch into it if I close my eyes.
So, now, I’m tending to impermanence with wonder. How wondrous I get to be here in this body, as I (goddess-willing) make it to old age. How wondrous I get to experience the height of love, mirrored by the depth of loss. How wondrous I get to be in relationship with others and myself, practicing Love until I’m all wrung out and used up, whenever that might be. My call to you for the week: wonder more, and let me know how it goes.
Finally, a piece of a poem by Jennifer Welwood (The Dakini Speaks):
“...Look: Everything that can be lost, will be lost.
It’s simple — how could we have missed it for so long?
Let’s grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings,
But please, let’s not be so shocked by them.
Let’s not act so betrayed,
As though life had broken her secret promise to us.
Impermanence is life’s only promise to us,
And she keeps it with ruthless impeccability.
To a child she seems cruel, but she is only wild,
And her compassion exquisitely precise:
Brilliantly penetrating, luminous with truth,
She strips away the unreal to show us the real.
This is the true ride — let’s give ourselves to it!…"