My life in the past few weeks has prompted some pointed contemplation on the nature of change and loss and death. I was telling my husband recently of one drive home. I had been thinking about the job I was leaving, feeling how it all felt in my heart, how it bubbled in my brain. I was leaving a particular geographic region, shifting out of consistent interaction with a specific cohort I had come to know over years. I would be parting from work relationships that were work specific but genuine and touching and that took time to develop and deepen. It was bittersweet for me. Sad and free.
I thought about how all the things I am leaving carry on. How any exit is both a recognition of severance and quiet witness to our, my, unique insignificance. This is far from self deprecating but rather true and humbling. The world continues on, continues to grow and build and more than sometimes it is our leaving that feeds that left world with a good dose of vim and vigor. Sometimes the leaving, my leaving, anyone’s exit, is what best feeds and frees a new greatness or direction. Such is the structure of our conditioned realm. Life needs loss and leaving to thrive and evolve.
Any end is practice. It is feeling the rhythm of approach. It is learning to yield, learning to learn. It is coming to know the larger landscape beyond preference. Ends teach us to be with change on a spectrum of instability; to be open eyed and curious at any cost. This of course is always a choice. Sometimes ends “teach” no more than to guard and protect in spite of ourselves. Endings can prompt a fear response to hunker down and freeze, or react. But there is always a deeper call to lean into what is there beneath our myriad reactions, what is really offered to be known.
In listening in time to the latter call, ends can be practice for the grander dissolutions, practice for being wed less to earth, being more in kinship with sky. And in time practice may be learning less to be like sky and more capable of venturing well beyond any known thing (whatever that might mean in terms of identity, loss, shapeshifting and consciousness). Regardless of the present extent of our stretch, we are all implicitly invited, within all change, to be and become open to those radical potentials due in our various human trajectories.
I am aware often that my love of words and communication will also change in dimension and adhesion, will find an unmasking and freedom, will cease to be the same comfort I know, that supports the me I feel myself to be. I am aware that to make true friends with change and death is to learn to step out of the skins of my narratives and into walking with no watcher, no commentary, no reference. And I can’t say I am comfortable with that because I don’t know it outside of my concepts. And to proclaim full understanding or conviction is totally pointless at a certain juncture. Regardless of belief, the real leap is a true flight, one with little reporting back.
As I drove and thought and pressed into the corners of paradox and uncertainty, I courted a wild, willful wish to continue to explore, to really be free: a longing aimed at a much broader horizon. Driving in my sturdy but aging car along a country road where anything can happen in one split second, where anything can change the groove of a familiar route and propel a whole different story, or the end of one, I drove on. I felt grateful for quiet rumination and spaces between. I felt grateful for this life so far and for whatever mystery I drive toward.