Acceptance and change

  • Scientists estimate the sun will run out of hydrogen and burn itself out in about 5 billion years.
  • In just one billion years the sun will be so large that it will boil off all the Earth’s oceans.
  • In 250 million years, all the Earth’s continents will come together once again – forming supercontinent Pangea Ultima.
  • In more current timelines, over the next century, non-linear climate change effects will destroy most major US crop production.
  • During the next few decades, we will see more intense hurricanes and extreme weather events, and global temperatures will rise between 2 and 5 degrees F.
  • During 2021, more of us will be tracked in everything we do than ever before. Our ID will be mostly defined by digital presence than physical presence. (Forbes)

Sound frightening? Yes. No. Maybe.

“But the truth is, everything is temporal. Everything is in a state of going to compost.” – Sunray Kelley

Sunray Kelley is a designer, builder, and old-time hippie. He spends most of his time barefoot, grazing off the land, and creating very cool off-the-grid, earthy buildings for people across the globe. And he understands the truth. Everything is, in essence, going to compost. Everything in the universe is in a state of entropy, of decay – changing from what we are to something else – every single minute. Nothing stays the same. Ever.

And thank goodness! (maybe)

On those days when I wake up with a new ache or pain from growing older or trying something new, I am so grateful to know that it will pass. And if it doesn’t, well, I know it can’t last forever, because eventually I’ll get it treated or I’ll die, and the pain will cease.

Whether it’s enduring political turmoil, living through and recovering from a natural disaster, going through treatment for cancer, or facing a hard decision, all of these things will eventually resolve into something else, something new, something different. The same is true for the good times, too, though. The giddiness of first loves, the thrill of success, the sun rising and setting – they, too, all pass, transform, become something different.

It’s a hard truth for us humans to wrap our heads around. Too often, we want things to stay the same. We get comfortable, we want to feel in control, we like routine. And when things change around us or within us, we squirm, we worry, we wish for them to go back to the way they were. That fretting only increases our suffering.

We often want things to stay the same, but that’s not how the universe works. Change is the only constant, and we must accept it.

Acceptance doesn’t mean we should throw up our hands and give up on climate change, social injustice, systemic racism, stopping a pandemic, healing our bodies, or any other important issue in our lives. We can – and should – do the hard and necessary work to create a safe, just, healthy world for ourselves and all living beings. No, acceptance is not resignation.

Acceptance is acknowledging what is, honoring our feelings about the way things are, and breathing in the calm and sacred space we need to respond and act with wisdom. It’s about letting go of expectations and letting in possibility. Imagine looking up at the sky and watching the clouds as they change shape, but the shapes aren’t what you want them to be, so you get angry and yell at the clouds. Sounds a little ridiculous, doesn’t it? Getting angry doesn’t change the clouds, but it makes you miserable.

When we don’t accept the way things are, we are resisting reality. Remember that old Star Trek phrase “resistance is futile”? It is. Truly. I’ve gone down this path of resistance thousands of times, just like you and everyone else. It’s part of being human. But I’ve learned to let go, to accept things faster than I used to by being more present and practicing daily meditation. By walking through the woods, sitting on the earth, marveling at a bee or a butterfly or a flower.

My mom used to say, “Don’t wish your life away”, and she was right. Wishing for things to be something they are not is resisting what is at this moment. And this moment – whatever it is, wherever you are – is perfect. Live in it. Learn from it. Love it.

There is only now. Embrace it fully.

10 comments

  1. I just thought about how much I enjoyed your posts over the last years and here you are! You always seem to be on the same wavelength as I am at the moment. (just finished updating our wills and my thoughts are perfectly put into words by you)

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