Become totally empty.
Let your heart be at peace.
Amidst the rush of worldly comings and goings,
observe how endings become beginnings.
each by each,
only to return to the Source…
to what is and what is to be.
To return to the root is to find peace.
To find peace is to fulfill one’s destiny.
To fulfill one’s destiny is to be constant.
To know the constant is called insight.
Not knowing this cycle
leads to eternal disaster.
Knowing the constant gives perspective.
This perspective is impartial.
Impartiality is the highest nobility;
the highest nobility is Divine.
Being divine, you will be at one with the Tao.
Being at one with the Tao is eternal.
This way is everlasting,
not endangered by physical death.
~ Wayne Dyer version
Since as far back as I can remember I have feared change. Why? Because, for the most part, I have always equated change with negativity – ie “change is bad; status quo is good”.
In a recent conversation with my colleague Coco, who had a much harder upbringing than I did, I realised that my fear of change in my early years was largely due to the fact that I had a pretty darn good childhood.
I realise now that the times I’ve feared change most in my life are when things have been good and I’ve been happy. At those times I haven’t seen change – or the thought of change – as the opportunity for a new beginning, but more an opportunity for bad things to happen.
Coco, on the other hand, had a tough childhood which has led her to see change as hopeful and full of possibility.
I found that really interesting because it seems that the more cruisey we have it in life, the more inclined we may be to experience anxiety about the possibility of change, and to resist it when it inevitably occurs.
This may, in fact, be a major contributor to the ever-increasing amount of anxiety and depression in Western cultures, compared to those in developing countries. Just a thought!
Daily Endings As Beginnings
Our 7 Day Challenge (READ: 30 day challenge due to my delayed post!) around this verse was to notice the constant endings in our day to day lives and see them as beginnings.
I’ve been consciously noticing these never-ending beginnings and endings in my life, and it’s been interesting, to say the least.
I rarely wake in the morning feeling refreshed. I frankly don’t remember life when I would wake feeling well-rested and ready to spring out of bed. Usually I wake with at least a slight headache and feeling tired still.
Hence, my response to the alarm going off is usually not a positive one. I have had to work really hard to turn my negative thoughts on waking into more positive ones – or just not to think and to robotically move out of bed and into the shower (which I usually emerge from feeling a little more alive and ready for the day).
So this “new beginning” – the start of the day – is one I continually have to retrain myself to embrace. It’s usually only in that 15 minutes or so after waking, and I’ve learned some tricks of how to ease myself into it (snooze button once or twice, open blinds, set alarm earlier than I really need so I have longer to wake up properly), but I’m certainly not a sprightly morning person.
(Note: This is largely to do with the CFS/ME I’ve managed for many years, along with the electro-sensitivity headaches that don’t quite get fully ‘slept off’, although I’ll admit to never really being a morning person, except maybe at about 8 years old!!)
The ironic thing is that when it comes to the end of the day I tend to delay going to bed, and often go to bed later than I should (which perpetuates the tired-in-the-morning problem). I think, in a way it’s a fear of change because by night time I have a throbbing headache, and until I lay my head on the pillow distraction is my only ‘pain-killer’.
When the distraction of being up and about is no longer there, I am forced to be with the pain. This is something I’m still learning to ’embrace’, but it’s not easy.
I’m finding that meditation prior to bed and when I get into bed can be a good way to transition from awake-and-in-pain to trying-to-go-to-sleep-and-in-pain, but it’s still something I tend to resist at times.
There are lots of beginnings and endings other than my illness/pain-related ones in my day as well, but the start and end of the day are the most prominent endings and beginnings for me. I didn’t plan on writing about illness and pain in this post, but turns out that’s what came out. 🙂
Bigger Endings as Beginnings
I was also contemplating some of the bigger endings in my life that I can now look back on and see as beginnings of something else.
Hindsight is always a valuable tool in such contemplation.
At the time of the awful thing happening, it’s often impossible to see how it could possibly ever lead to anything positive, let alone be seen as an exciting new beginning, but this is how I see some of the biggest transition periods in my life when I look back.
When my first husband (aka best friend, soul-mate relationship, father of my child) walked out the door with his suitcase, ultimately resulting in our divorce 2 years later, there is no way I could have seen that as anything but a bloody awful ending.
It was heartbreaking, soul-wrenching, and life-altering in a way I could never see could be positive.
But when I look back, I can now see that that ending was the beginning of me knowing myself as a resilient person who can deal with whatever life throws at her.
Prior to my marriage ending, I believed that losing my husband was something I could never possibly endure. It was my worst nightmare, and one I had always dreaded from the moment I met him 15 years before.
The joy I felt from that first night together (talking people!!) was something that just seemed to grow as our relationship lengthened.
I truly never got sick of seeing this man walk through the door at the end of the day or hearing his voice on the phone. I couldn’t believe I’d got so lucky.
And thus, I was always waiting for the other shoe to drop. As Brené Brown so wisely states: “It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows“.
My fear of our relationship one day ending sometimes cast a shadow over the present moment, robbing me of fully experiencing the joy of that moment – the many, many joyous moments.
The day after I found out that my former husband had definitely committed to another woman, and our relationship was really over (or I thought it was – the saga dragged on a while longer as these things often do), I was scheduled to run a Tupperware party for a friend.
I was a Tupperware demonstrator at the time, and the party had been booked for some time.
So I made the decision not to tell my friend what was going on (because I knew she’d want to postpone the party for my sake), and I turned up with a smile, cooked for her guests, chatted and laughed, as if my world wasn’t falling apart.
Occasionally in the middle of the demonstration, or as I was cleaning up, I’d have a wave of nausea hit me as I remembered what was going on in my private life. It was surreal.
Life was going on as normal in that suburban home, with friends laughing together and buying kitchen goods, while inside I felt I was dying and my worst nightmare was being lived out.
When I told my friend at the end of the party, after her guests had left, she predictably told me I should have cancelled, but I was happy I didn’t.
That day was the beginning of my resilience. It was the beginning of me seeing myself as someone who could soldier on in the toughest of circumstances.
It was the beginning of me seeing that no person or circumstance had the power to destroy my life. It was the beginning of me truly seeing how powerful my spirit was, and how indomitable it is.
Life is cyclical
Ultimately in my very long one month pondering over this verse, I came to see just how cyclical life is, and started to question the whole nature of endings and beginnings.
Life is not like a piece of thread that can be neatly cut, with a clear beginning and ending. It’s a continuum, I believe.
Day does not just suddenly become night. There is no one point when you can definitely say that day ended and night began, and vice versa. It is a gradual dimming of the light of day, that moves into an often-beautiful sunset, which slowly moves into night time.
We could see most things in life as similar to this.
The sudden death of a loved one would definitely bring such a suggestion into question, but how are we to know what’s going on in the spectra of light that we cannot see, or in the levels of the soul that are not present to our senses?
Maybe if we could see all these, we would not see sudden death as sudden at all, and maybe we wouldn’t see it as death either.
These are just musings. I have never lost a loved one suddenly. I don’t pretend to comprehend the immense pain of such an occurrence or to trivialise it in any way.
I guess I’m just playing philosopher here, saying that perhaps there are many things we are not aware of with our senses, and that maybe there are many things in life that we see as endings that may, in fact, also be seen as beginnings of something else.
We may just not be present to the “something else” at this stage of our awareness.
Namaste my friends