The older I get, the more apparent it is to me that whatever control I thought I had was largely illusionary. Beyond having real choices here and there (what to wear, eat, do in various moments), most of life is beyond my plans. This brings to mind two important quotes that guide me — one from my friend Shelley. When she and her then-partner received, a year after they adopted their daughter, received the phone message, “Would you like the brother?”, she quickly realized that “Life has more imagination that we do.”
The other quote comes from Pema Chodron, and I know it’s about how we humans are wired for solid ground while life is the opposite, but when I looked through When Things Fall Apart for it, I found this quote: “Impermanence is a principal of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality.”
Life is more imaginative. The only way to find the groove is to stop fighting change. All true, but why does thinking about this shake me sometimes, even bring me down to sad stillness? “This shaking keeps me steady. I should know,” Theodore Roethke writes in his great poem, “The Waking” (the one with the line, “I wake to sleep and take my waking slow”).
I watch the window, the sun almost burning through the clouds but not quite. The tree stands bare with just one remaining leaf shaking. A remnant of a spider web blows against the glass. It’s all always changing and even the lack of birds in the tree, something I just noticed, has been remedied. How little control we have, and yet this is the gift of being alive.