Life Is Change

I stood next to my mentor. On the beach. It was bitterly cold. The wind was rushing in from the ocean. Lifting waves of loose sand, blowing them toward the dunes. The waves crashed into the shore, the wind adding catching a fine mist of water, blending it with the sand. The wind stripped away any body head I had. Leaving me even colder. My hands were numb. My ears ached. I found myself wishing I could go inside. Or back to the car. Anywhere that was out of the wind. “You wonder why you are here, yes?” He spoke. Always, he started with a question that he already knew the answer to. I merely nodded. Then he began the lesson of the day. He began walking toward the dunes. Along the way, he stopped, picking up a handful of dried, dead sea grass. It had that dull, gray-brown color. “Everything changes, young one. This is something you must learn.” He walked back toward the ocean. Right into the wind, with it’s sand, and ocean mist. Stopping just short of the waves. He made a fist, crushing the dead, dry grass he’d collected. Leaving only pieces, shards, fragments. Collected in his hand. Protected from the wind. “The people of this life collect up a few things. A career. A home. A car. A spouse. Children. All the things they believe define success. Much as I hold this dead grass in my hand.” He looked into the wind. “But the wind of life. It blows. The ocean of life. It’s waves come and go. It’s tide rises, and falls.” He looked up and down the beach, motioning that I should do the same. “As the wind blows. As the ocean’s waves come and go. The beach changes. It does not stay the same. It lets go of old things. Old forms. And welcomes new things. New forms.” “I can make what’s in my hand stay the same,” he explained. “So long as I keep it all within my closed hand. Where the wind can not blow it away. Where the ocean can not carry it to sea.” He smiled at me. “ I nodded my head. Then he continued. “I can interfere. I can block the wind. I can block the ocean. And keep what I have in my hand.” He looked at me. “But this is like me being able to stop, or control the weather. It would stop the flow of life.” He faced the wind, holding his hand out in front of himself. Opening his palm. And watching as their crushed, brown fragments blew away on the breeze. “Or, I can let the wind, and the water, do what they want to do. I can let them change what is in my hand.” I watched the fragments as the wind moved them from his hand. “Do you understand, young one?” I answered honestly, as I knew he would know if I were to lie. “No.” He smiled, then spoke. “Over the coming 6 months, you will spend the time required to come here. To this beach. Once a week. And you will stand here. And take pictures of the beach, both to the North and South. Examine each picture. Compare it to the other pictures. Remember what I have said and done here today. Then you will understand.” I did what he had asked of me. And as the six months came to an end, we reviewed my pictures. It was very clear what he’d said. The pictures showed how the beach changed, every week. How it was not static., always changing. He’d tried to warn me about the trap of losing my awareness of life, becoming defeated by always trying to prevent change. For as the sands of the beach changed each time I was there, with each picture I took. I realized that change simply is. And that static, and unchanging, is not. I spoke with my mentor then. About the pictures. He spoke. “Change is natural. It is part of the order of life. Static is not. It is part of the way of death. Where everything becomes stagnant. And slowly dies.” I remember his words to this day. Even now I can see him as he spoke those words. Life is not constant. Not static. It changes. And to prevent change is to prevent life. Gradually killing the very life you attempt to capture, and protect. It has been a difficult lesson to learn.

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