By Grace Maselli
by Tanya Markul
that made you
the odd one out
is the story
that connects you
to a healing world.
An abrupt (or slower-to-manifest life change)—whether because of a major move, job loss, natural disasters, or perhaps the most difficult to adjust to, the death of someone beloved—can feel unimagineable. It can feel to the person going through the experience of quantum shock that the “me” he’s known for many years is gone, replaced by a phantom. It can take months or years, sometimes, for confusion to turn to acceptance, or trauma to subside. For some people, acceptance of changes large and small can be more or less difficult; this may depend on how attuned a person is to this mortal coil’s impermanence.
In her beautiful book, Wake Up Grateful, The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted by Kristi Nelson, the author poignantly writes, “Getting comfortable with impermanence allows us to more deeply appreciate all the things we do not want to take for granted—our body, emotions, relationships, and mystery. There are few things more certain than the fact that we will experience change and loss in many aspects of our lives and, ultimately, loss of our own life.” The reference to mystery, and the idea that nothing in this life is promised to us, is particularly moving.
“Stop thinking of change as interruption to a story; the story was always going to change, many times. It was never guaranteed,” says Maggie Smith in, Keep Moving, Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, adding, “In fact, only change is guaranteed. Expect it today, and from now on.”
Sometimes acceptance of what’s in our control to manage and what’s completely out of our control can be a way to deal with overwhelming change. When change feels unmanageable, reaching out to support systems, TBT friends or people throughout the Florida Timebanks network, can make the difference. There are moments when a connection to someone willing to spend quality time listening deeply to our pain can tip the balance in the direction of our ability to endure difficulty.
It’s what Markul’s poem Eleven aims to express. You don’t have to run from the pain of change and the humanness that allows a person to feel. Sharing grief with others holds the promise of what can “connect you to a healing world.” And as Kristi Nelson writes, change, and the grief that can often attend it, “is the cost of loving and respecting life, our Earth and all its inhabitants, and our values of fairness, safety, justice, love, and dignity…The more we love, the more we courageously commit to walking through life thin-skinned, bound to the full range of how much the heart can feel, break, and break itself open—ultimately into even greater wholeness.”