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in these anecdotal,
sometimes inspiring, sometimes personal meanderings of the Heart's opening in the every-day-ness of Life...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Grocery Store Wisdom - Change

Today’s noticing Life living Itself is about change – and no not the pocket kind. This has been my theme for the week it seems. Sunday night my computer crashed, requiring me to change to my husband’s old lap-top – a difficult adjustment; plus all my files are now inaccessible – maybe forever, which has large implications. The computer is in the repair shop to see if it can be repaired, or at least the files retrieved. Monday I wore my new glasses for the first time – another change requiring adjustment in vision and focus, forcing me to *see* differently. And today I went to a new grocery store – well the same chain that I go to, but in a different location – another change, but one I brought on myself by choosing to try this new location.

So what I’ve noticed here in all these changes, is that I don’t adapt very well. When the river of life bends I resist. I want familiarity and certainty. Uncertainty unnerves me, which is ridiculous really because life is full of uncertainties – change. And yet I live under the illusion that I can somehow create that certainty by following the same path, the same routine, and avoiding change as much as possible. But sometimes change is thrust upon us, by age or by circumstance – by the river of life flowing in ways we don’t anticipate. And sometimes I’m paddling my little canoe like crazy against the flow – resisting where life is going, not wanting to accept the changes that come my way – fearful that the change will be harmful. I want my old computer back – because it’s familiar. My eyes don’t want to focus in a new way, and the unfamiliarity in seeing in a new way is causing anxiety. And looking in the mirror with my new glasses reminded me that I am in fact aging… Darn. However, I actually loved the “new” grocery store. So at least one bend in the river this week didn’t drop me over a cliff.

And even the new grocery store had familiarity to it, as there were a couple of the old department clerks working there from the other store, which brought the old familiar smiles and light banter to a strange setting.

Last night as I watched a brief interview of Meryl Streep, the interviewer asked her: “What grounds you?” She said: ”Sustained uncertainty.” Wow I thought, what an incredibly profound statement. And it was said with such ease, like it was second nature to her to accept uncertainty, to be grounded by uncertainty. Something I envy – to be able to just accept that life is always uncertain and changing, that this life-stream that we’ve entered is always changing course – without wanting it to be other than the way it is.

And then I remembered some things that Pema Chodron has said in her writings, that I have posted on my refrigerator as reminders. (She even wrote a book called Comfortable With Uncertainty). But the quotes I have are from her other writings. And the phrases that popped out at me when I went to the refrigerator to read them were: See that everything is in transition. Be a child of fantasy - be curious instead of afraid. And, Rest in the nature of Essence – the Primordial State of everything.

And maybe it seems we have wandered away from the grocery store a bit, but at least the refrigerator is where the food goes after you bring it home. :) So the wisdom that emerges for me (present tense, as it’s always unfolding every day) in facing change and uncertainty appears to be this: Practical reality changes – period. There is either acceptance or resistance about it – in the mind. That which we are – the Essence – this unchanging, non-dimensional “Awareness,” that is our basic nature, is always curious. It *meets* life with a completely open, innocent curiosity. Nothing is seen as “change” from this space of Awareness because it’s really just one continuous, seamless flow of Life, no matter what is happening. “It” doesn’t even hold a concept about acceptance or resistance, or uncertainty. When I *rest* in this Primordial Nature of complete open Awareness that is just aware, I am resting in this basic nature of acceptance of uncertainty with a curiosity about life. When I rest here, something expands in me, I relax, and I can play in the Primordial Pond of endless uncertainty… Well, little play dates in the pond – moment by moment. I don’t wade too far into the pool – yet…

My challenge then is to just notice change – with curiosity; to just keep bringing awareness to it and to the ways I respond to the inevitable thoughts of uncertainty that arises when the river bends… And - to follow the reminders that bring me back to that which is always present, and never afraid of change, until it becomes second nature… Any bets on how long that will take? I could always use some spare change… :) oh boo yourself…

Heart Smiles – MeANderi


  1. It's interesting to watch ourselves, isn't it? The thing that came up for me as I read your post are the words of my Zen teacher: " It's okay to have preferences as long as we're not too attached to them. " Sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves, thinking we should be different when what we're doing is really just an expression of human nature; in this case the discomfort that change can bring. It's okay to prefer that your glasses, don't make your head hurt but where we get in trouble is when we take this thought and create a drama or a big story (which certainly doesn't seem like you've done). But it's the attachment to having things OUR way that makes us do crazy stuff. I suspect we've all be to crazyville on that train!

  2. Yes, so true! - as you say, how crazy making it is "when we take the thought and create a story/drama" about it, and just focus on the story. When all we need do is soften the gaze and see *through* our stories as just all part of the unfolding of life. Choo-choo :)

    Thanks for adding your perspective here!