The Direction of the River

by | Sep 21, 2020 | ShiftHappens

It has been said that a person cannot step in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and you are not the same person.

In case we needed a reminder, 2020 has shown us the relentless constancy of change.

In theory, change is a hopeful thing that many of us profess to welcome. This might be political change, a change of scenery, social change, change of careers, change in relationship, or any number of things we may wish were different about life or the world.

In practice, change is something we more frequently resist.

Uncertainty, fear, and anxiety often keep the idea of change firmly rooted in the theoretical, chaining us to old patterns that have long ago stopped feeling joyful. Change is uncomfortable. Perhaps you have had moments in your own life during which you chose unhappiness, the “devil you know,” over the fearfully uncharted unknown.

Yet in truth, for all the ways we so desperately cling to the familiar, change will happen whether we want it to or not. Even the idea of control is little more than an illusion. And how fortunate we are that the world does not conform to our desire for sameness. How many fixed views and habits from the past would we retain? Even the most richly wonderful things about life would be less lovely if they were permanent. In the words of Donald Richie, “beauty lies in its own vanishing.”

It feels as if this year has been a time of tremendous change.

In reality, change has always been the natural order of things.

What is there to do but go in the direction of the river, accepting what life offers, and reaching a helping hand for those we meet along the way?