I woke early this morning. It was very late before I fell asleep. A short night; there are potential consequences later in the day, when I start to feel fatigued. These days that is nothing more than something to be mindful of, to account for with kindness and compassion – and patience with myself.  At this early hour, that’s all theory for later. For now, I am quietly enjoying the too-brief tranquility of mornings and studying. This morning I am studying concepts of attachment and ‘clinging’ that undermine growth, development, ‘becoming’, and emotional resilience.

Sure, why not?

Sure, why not?

I spent a few moments, recently, grieving the loss of a particular experience I wholly enjoy. Like so many things, it could be that its time has simply passed; change is.  I experienced the sadness of that, the loss, and generally such moments feel destructive, joyless, and despairing to me. Yesterday I deviated from my norm, some glitch in my programming turned up and… I understood concepts related to attachment that I have been struggling with for some time now.  Change is. Growth happens through change – whether we embrace it or not – but the nature and extent of our growth may be affected by whether we embrace change or struggle with it.

Change is part of life.

Change is part of life.

I’m not saying I like the concept. I’m just saying yesterday I woke up to an important idea, and accepted it; when I can let go of attachment to specific experiences, possessions, or qualities of character I have chosen as ‘my identity’, I can achieve something new, try something, experience more, and move forward on life’s trajectory.  Even the most perfect of lovely mornings, repeated endlessly, could grow stale.  So, okay, I can find contentment in change…loss still hurts. Saying good-bye can still feel sad. Grief and grieving are still honest and heartfelt emotional experiences that are likely for most of us, at some point in life. Nothing unique there… but I grieve a broken porcelain demi-tasse cup with the emotional depth and intensity that some save for losses of life, and it occurs to me that may not be the best way to take care of my heart, or treat myself well.

I see this same scenario play out in other lives, too; at work, having to change schedules unexpectedly, it isn’t unusual for a coworker facing such a change to take it all very personally, to cling to what they know, and to fight change with a ferocity one might find reasonable on a battlefield…and then to see that same coworker happily embracing new opportunities opened by that change in schedule, once they experience it. Change is scariest when I cling tightly to what I have right now, to avoid facing change, itself.  It mattered yesterday because I was contemplating a change in household hours/schedules that can’t help but throw my own routine out of whack, and that sort of thing sometimes takes me weeks to adjust to.  I realized I was not helping myself by holding on to my attachment to what had been.  I still feel sad that I may be letting a delightful emotional butterfly flutter away…but I am also grateful to have enjoyed it so much, for so long.

My garden in summer, a surprisingly fragile 'now'.

My garden in summer, a surprisingly fragile ‘now’.

There are so many experiences I have enjoyed that just aren’t part of my experience now. Every one of them remains part of my experience over time, and my history. Each has value as a treasured memory. Each exists as a sort of random card in an infinite deck of things I enjoy that could reoccur. Many of them won’t. Holding on to them, refusing change, prevents me from embracing new experiences to add to that infinite deck.  Sounds so easy, so obvious…but…

I really like sipping ice-cold root beer and sitting near the fan on the screen porch at Grandmother’s house, eavesdropping on adult conversations on a humid summer afternoon.

I really like playing monopoly or cribbage by the tent stove, with my motor pool colleagues, waiting for my guard duty shift.

I really like running bare footed down the trails in the woods, where I was not supposed to be playing and could generally be found (with some effort) any childhood summer morning.

I really like lazy Sundays with generous brunches, sleeping in, a lot of sex, a great playlist, and a bit of gardening.

I really like late night strolls through park-like old residential neighborhoods on balmy summer nights.

I really like spending the day out on the water on my grandparent’s sail boat.

I really like being out at the range, honing my skills, and competing with myself and feeling like a bad ass.

I really like keeping a few chickens.

I really like slipping away to a nearby swimming hole on a Friday when I could be working, but the broad blue skies of Oklahoma suggest otherwise.

I really like hanging out with a lover, sharing anecdotes about who we each are, growing closer, and laughing together over coffee or lovemaking.

I really like new love and romance.

I really like being between jobs and taking months off for me.

I really like summer vacation.

…And I miss these things. There are a lot of experiences, moments, and relationships that I enjoy right now that I won’t have in some tomorrow down the road. Just like that list of experiences I am not having in my now.  Some of them I may experience again. Some of them I may never experience again.  Hell, some of them I don’t want to experience if to do so I have to return to the life or context in which I had them before. That’s something to consider, there.

So. Sure. It makes sense to let go. To accept change. To adapt. What comes next? Something new.

Clinging to what has been can prevent me seeing something new.

Clinging to what has been can prevent me seeing something new.

Today is a good day to embrace change.