By Patti Brown
“Oh my darling, you will never know how happy I am, there aren’t words good enough to explain my happiness or how much I love you.”
On July 8, 1946, a mere seven months after the end of WWII, on ash tone, faded stationary with thinly scripted cursive hand writing, my father wrote the above heartfelt words to my mother.
Sixty-six years ago marked a very different time.
Freedom. Hope. Endings. Beginnings.
Seasons of change were embraced with the belief that a future filled with opportunity, security and peace was possible. Two hundred and sixty four seasons passed with more expressions of love; a death, a marriage, dreams, children, more deaths, a move, confusion, laughter, pain, heartbreak, secrets, disappointments, anger, travel, health issues, grandchildren then…. another move. Further changes came knocking at the door. The man, my father, who wrote the opening words of this post “oh my darling…” died three years ago, leaving behind a woman, my mother, who since then, began losing her way. Health issues were exacerbated, the mind became increasingly troubled, making room or better yet, forcing inevitable changes. Then… another season barreled through the door. A move into assistant living has marked yet again another season of change.
As I draw the blinds open in my mother’s new bedroom, I am stilled. My eyes are diverted to the young maple tree swaying just beyond her window, hinting of Fall. Words spoken by an eloquent, beautiful young woman I recently met flood my mind and fill my heart. I am remembering. In an exquisite moment, I listened to the unfolding of her story; the unexpected changes in her young life brought about by a cancer diagnosis; a life altered forever. She poignantly shared, “As I went on my walk this morning, I noticed one tree amongst a long line of green leafed trees bursting with vibrant crimson red leaves. One”, she stated with amazement. Staring off, she went on to say, “this lone tree bursting with vibrancy is trying to show all the ‘others’ that it’s okay to let go, another season needs to come, it will be alright. A transformation is about to happen.”
Those profound words poured over me now as I gaze out my mother’s window. I notice. I’m slowly swaying in sync with the movement of the tree. Aware of my in breath and my out breath, in this moment I feel a sense of peace.
Yes, seasons change. People change. Relationships change. We change. We are not always prepared. It’s impossible to foresee what life has waiting for us around the next corner.
Whether it is a cancer diagnosis, a relationship change, a death of a loved one, a change of heart or change of mind; the seasons will invite us into transition. We choose. We awaken or fall into a deeper slumber. The question remains….how will we navigate these crucial crossroads? How will we listen differently? Lean in? How will we allow ourselves to be changed by these life transitions? How do we resist these changes? How do we welcome them?
Fear can wreak havoc on us as we traverse the roads of change. It can be frightening to encounter these unexpected or even necessary changes that occur in our lives. It’s compelling, profound and sometimes down right excruciating. How we deal with the swirling, dizzying, chaotic, sad, unsettling changes in our lives determines the quality of our lives, whatever time we have allotted here or number of seasons we encounter.
It’s helpful though, to begin by noticing your breath, not holding your breath as new seasons approach. Breathe through the pain, trepidation, fear and uncertainty.
Slow down. Take it in. Be still. Listen. Be mindful. Honor.
Oh my darling, we will never know what the future holds.
A new season is upon us.
An awakening. An invitation.
Freedom. Hope. Endings. Beginnings.
“True change is within; leave the outside as it is.”
~ Dalai Lama
Recently I have enjoyed listening to Tara Brach when I need a little support with my mindfulness practice ~http://www.soundstrue.com/shop/Mindfulness-Meditation/3954.pd