Fall is a Time of Reflection and ChangeMichelle Balaun
Change is Coming. Welcome to Fall Season.
You can feel it in the air, a change is coming. We look forward to harvesting the hard work we’ve put in throughout the year and letting go of that which no longer serves us. It is the moment to reflect and embrace change and plan on what’s to come. This year has taught us so much, we have expanded and constricted our emotional, psychological, and physical bandwidths more than ever. If there’s anything Covid-19 life has taught us is that the only constant we have is change.
For many, change when it’s out of their control leads to suffering. There’s a sense of unfairness, of stomping on the ground as if the more we complain the better the outcome. This year, we realized that complaining makes us feel worse and ungrateful. I read many books during this time and one that stood out to me is Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart. The following passage resonated with me and I wanted to share the following excerpt to illuminate a bit of what I believe many of us are experiencing.
The first noble truth of the Buddha is that when we feel suffering, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong. What a relief. Finally, somebody told the truth. Suffering is part of life, and we don’t have to feel it’s happening because we personally made the wrong move. In reality, however, when we feel suffering, we think that something is wrong. As long as we’re addicted to hope, we feel that we can tone our experience down or liven it up or change it somehow, and we continue to suffer a lot.
The word in Tibetan for hope is Rewa; the word for fear is Dokpa. More commonly, the word re-dok is used, which combines the two. Hope and fear is a feeling with two sides. As long as there’s one, there’s always the other. This re-dok is the root of our pain. In the world of hope and fear, we always have to change the channel, change the temperature, change the music, because something is getting uneasy, something is getting restless, something is beginning to hurt, and we keep looking for alternatives. “
Reading this passage was disconcerting and relieving at the same time. When we hope for something, we simultaneously fear we won’t get it. But, many of us use hope as a tool to get by- we are in a situation now that we dislike- so we hope for the best. I believe that hope/fear must be acknowledged and later accompanied by mindful action. It is only once we have taken in the gravity of the situation that we can forge ahead with a plan. It may seem daunting and exhausting because it means to really sit with all of it and come out on the other side. But, this is also about reflecting on this year, how much we took for granted and later gave up, how much we thought outside of the box to keep a semblance of the status quo. Now that we are in a new season, and also being an election year – it’s time to take stock of this year and reflect. What did you learn about yourself? Your family members? Society and politics? What changed that will never be the same? How do you judge it? If you find yourself struggling with coping with all of the changes 2020 has brought on, please feel free to contact me for a consultation.