December 31, 2019 Blog No Comments

How interesting that impermanence is what’s facing me as we move into the new year. There is a somber and an exhilarating message to this concept that I’d like to share. It seems fitting as we consider 2020, a new and likely auspicious decade.

The somber part of impermanence has to do with death and loss. Both our cats have died in the last month. Gifford died by natural causes, Baxter by a car. Grieving their loss is ongoing and will likely last a while. Then there’s the loss of natural habitat and wildlife at the hands of policies that are based on greed. That’s a source of grief for many of us that will likely be ongoing as well, unless we act quickly.

The exhilarating part of impermanence has to do with creating change. We are responsible for designing our lives, as well as our role in our communities. In the vacuum of loss, we are invited to seek something new. At any time, we can consider our options and make plans that are a better fit. I’m busy considering all these opportunities. Now is a perfect time to consider what change is calling to you for 2020.

Here are some thoughts to stimulate your reflection as you make your New Year’s goals.

NOTHING IS PERMANENT

To understand and accept impermanence and suffering is the core of the four noble truths of Buddhism[1].  They are birth, aging, sickness and death. While our Western culture likes to focus on the happiness of birth, we don’t handle the other three very well, fighting it with medical technology and limited tolerance. The ancient Hermetic Principles also recognize the constant ebb and flow of change in the Law of Rhythm, noting that everything follows a natural cycle of transformation, having beginning and end points before renewal.

How are you facing change in your life and in everything around you?  I am certainly in shock and disbelief having lost both beloved members of our family in such short time. It’s made me reflect on their meaning in my life and the meaning of their loss. There is a message for me in this. I am challenged in my meditation practice to deeply understand and accept impermanence.

Look at the flow of your life and reflect on its impermanence with acceptance rather than resistance.

LEARN FROM YOUR LOSSES

It’s intriguing to understand how positive attitudes toward loss help people gain insight and courage to launch themselves anew – especially in the business world. While people experience loss with far greater impact than success, according to psychologists Kahneman and Tversky [2], adapting an attitude of acceptance that it is part of the process of creativity and expansion has also fueled the success of many big tech companies. Amazon leader, Jeff Bezo, has infused his company with this attitude: “Failure comes part and parcel with invention. It’s not optional. We understand that and believe in failing early and iterating until we get it right.”[3]

As we face personal losses, I am reminded of how it’s been the springboard for all the positive change I’ve made in my life. Starting in childhood, I’ve had more than average losses that have forced me to learn and grow. They have made me more self-reliant and introspective. The process of learning to turn the negative into something positive has fueled much of the work I do.

Examine any loss, setback or negativity for the lessons that will help define your next more positive move.

WHAT IS CHALLENGING YOU TO GROW

If you look at your current situation, what challenges are you facing and how do they encourage you to grow? Part of impermanence is recognizing when it’s time to push yourself to move on. Stagnation will hold you back, making change more difficult. The New Year gives you this opportunity to consider what is wanting to happen in your life.

I have a sense of time moving quickly while the needs of people keep rising. I want to respond by offering more enlightened and helpful services, training and political action. I want to create more positive messages about the power of collaboration and cultural unity through the work of our non-profit. I want to make the technology infrastructure of our work competent so all this can be done. Most of all, I need to get busy!

If not now, when – take the challenge to bring what you want/need into your life.

BE BOLD

The most exhilarating part of impermanence is the invitation to claim yourself and your gifts and be bold with them. What else is more important? By accepting our impermanence, you can also sense the liberation that comes with knowing that there is opportunity whenever we are willing to take it – to move on – to do what is needed or to be what you have dreamed.

How can you put this into operation this year? What is calling to you to be more of who you really are?  I want to teach new classes, try new therapeutic techniques, consult, travel, support environmental action, engage with people from other cultures, host more events. There is so much, the challenge to be bold invites me to step up and get organize.

Consider the reality of impermanence like a battle cry to be bold,  get yourself out and do it!

Impermanence holds a wonderful lesson on the polarity of loss and creativity. We all face the somber meaning that nothing is permanent in life and with reflection and acceptance can learn from it. There is also the exhilarating meaning that challenges us to grow from loss, along with a call to be bold and push yourself to be fully who you are meant to be. What does it mean for you?

If this speaks to you and is something you’d like to explore, I welcome you to reach out. My Transformation Coaching/Therapy and Training is structured to provide answers to these life questions. My Manifestation Master Class, coming on February 8th will give you tools for this exploration. Reach out at www.spectrumtransformation.com and use my Free Consultation link to reach me. I’d love to hear from you.

Resources

  1. https://tricycle.org/magazine/four-noble-truths/

Dali Lama, The Four Noble Truths, Harper Collins, 1998

  1. https://www.apa.org/monitor/dec02/nobel
  2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/annapowers/2018/04/30/failing-your-way-to-success-why-failure-is-a-crucial-ingredient-for-success/#7ade1fbe6170

 

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Written by Connie Milligan, LCSW
If there is anything I’ve expressed that speaks to you, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at my email, connie [at] conniemilligan [dot] com