Have you ever experienced an aspect of your life come into harmony, only to find that equilibrium suddenly disrupted? This happened to me recently, albeit in a small-scale way (and one which of course seems like the tiniest ripple on the ocean in comparison to what others in London have experienced this week). In recent months, my work life had felt in perfect balance: just the right number of yoga classes and quantity of the architecture work I still do some of. And enough downtime. Then, last week, a couple of projects unexpectedly fell by the wayside. And it left me feeling unsettled, disappointed. Why, I found myself asking, when things were going so smoothly, did they have to change?
A few days later the Spring Equinox arrived. One of only two days in the entire year where the sun’s rays shine perpendicular to the earth’s surface, creating equal hours of light and darkness. It was such a good teaching. Day and night in equilibrium. But, only for a moment before earth continued her orbit around the sun and things shifted again.
It is so easy to forget that change is the essence of life. That, ultimately, everything is transitory. And the dance of life is the pulsation of things emerging and then dissolving. These cycles are present wherever we look: in each breath we take, in the spring buds now blossoming on the until recently bare trees. And yet we can still struggle to accept that impermanence also weaves itself through the fabric of our lives.
It’s only human to want those times when life feels like it’s flowing effortlessly to last as long as possible, and to find it challenging when circumstances change in ways we didn’t choose or desire. But the great gift of impermanence is appreciation. Because we know something won’t last forever, this renders it precious. If life were always easeful, would we fully appreciate that ease? I suspect we might actually get bored.
Can we come to thoroughly savour the sweet, harmonious cycles without taking them for granted, or assuming that because they have graced us they are meant to stay. Can we love them all the more because they won’t last forever. And when the time comes to let them go, can we do so as graciously as possible, honouring whatever emotions arise in the letting go, and trusting that while we may not choose or like everything life brings us, that there is always the potential to grow from any experience. And that every goodbye also offers the possibility for new seeds to be sown.