Monday, November 21, 2016

Upside Down


Every time I drag out the box of last year's hats and scarves from the back of the closet, I am reminded of a conversation I had years ago with a pond specialist. He told us that lakes turn over by themselves twice a year - even the ones that are not fed by fresh water. The changes in water and air temperature turn them over each spring and autumn - the bottom water coming to the top and the surface water to the bottom, bringing in fresh oxygen.

Life insists on change. It's always turning things upside down.

If I attempt to keep things the same, over time, my energy gets depleted. It steadily seeps away with the effort to resist. On the other hand, if I can move with what life seems to want of me, my energy gets revitalized.

Times of change ask me to re-think things: habits, people, activities, beliefs, assumptions, obligations. "Do I really need to bake him an Angel Food cake this year? Does he care?" "Do I think that anyone other than me cares about my hair?" "Is it okay if I don't go to every meeting?"

Times of change ask me to wonder "Who or what energizes me? and who or what depletes me?" so I can make choices based on today's reality. That hat may have worked last year, but, ummm, not this winter.

I resist though, because this is when some of the murkier bottom-of-the-pond stuff might float up. "I'm not as limber as I was. What if it's just a downhill slide from here?" "If I don't go to all the meetings, will they think I'm just there for the pot luck in June?" "Jenny asks too much of me. If I say no to dinner next week, will she stop being my friend? Was she ever really a friend?"

Yet it's no co-incidence life has given me this right now. These fears don't float up before their time. They float up at the perfect time. Life does its best to bring balance and joy and ease. I have to trust that.

It helps me to dial back my responsibilities during times of change. If I don't, life might do it for me. Ever ended up with the 'flu when you've been doing too much?

Then once I have enough energy and room to assess, I can see what's floating up and work with that.

Sorting through the box of winter stuff felt good. "I forgot I had those boots. They'll be perfect for tomorrow." "That hat has got to go." "Well look here... five bucks in my coat pocket."

The five bucks was nice but the real payoff was the sense that I was working with life. Like the pond inversion, it renewed me.

First published in December 2016 in my free monthly email newsletter, Starry Night. Sign up here.