All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
My friend Anne recently shared a story about seeing Norman Lear interviewed on Oprah and in this interview he shared what he believes are the two most important words to embrace in life.
Over and Next
Because in at least one area of your life, something is now over and invariably, something new is next. Winter is over...spring is next, a marriage is over...single is next. A precious life is over and our life feels so very empty...what's next?
It's that "What's next?" question that really gets us...isn't it?
For 2 reasons:
1. Because it implies a callousness, like if we move on too quickly from what is over, and don't suffer or grieve enough in the process, we somehow dishonor, disrespect, or otherwise negate the importance, love, and meaning that held for us.
2. Sometimes...maybe most times, we really don't know what's next, because we were enjoying "what was" so much, we hadn't really thought it out, so now we are left with this big hole in our life and we are scrambling a bit to find our bearings again.
In that sense, I envy Mother Nature for her unassuming ability to be so very objective and practical when it comes to change and death. She doesn't fight what is or linger over what cannot be changed, but instead embraces life on its terms and carries on thriving just the same. She expects things to change because change is her very nature.
New life emerges around you and from within you again and again throughout your life...whether the changes are welcome or not...the only inevitability in life is change. And because we are not separate from nature, change is our very nature as well.
And whether you wanted this change or not, something is now over and something new has begun.
Your only job is to decide how you will handle the emergence of this new life.
So for your contemplative exercise today...I invite you to reflect on the following questions:
Are you currently experiencing any melancholy?
If so...What is now over?
What is next?
If you are suffering in any way...are you fighting, denying, or resisting the new?
What one surprising or unexpected good has come from this ending?
In what way might this ending align with the big picture of your dream life?
What is one small way that you can embrace this new normal for yourself?