Monday, December 29, 2014

Liberal Hunters, Flowing Art-to-Wear, and How We Change

I happened to run across one of the family members of an old friend I haven't seen in years over the holiday shopping season, and of course, I asked after him. I was surprised to learn that this gentleman, who was a pretty much a liberal, anti-gun kind of guy when we were well acquainted, is now a hunter who is slowly amassing quite an impressive collection of firearms for both himself and his children. My expression must have revealed my astonishment and curiosity as to what could have prompted such a complete change, because the family member laughed and explained simply that my friend had been in a relationship with a lady who came from a family of avid hunters. Nothing more needed to be said; nothing is capable of changing us so utterly and completely as love.

Still, the idea of how dramatically we can change stayed with me, and I ponder this now as one year fades into another. What about us, if anything, stays constant, and just how much is fluid, ever changing, at the mercy of relationships we enter into, places we live, careers we choose?

The streets of my town are so unbelievably amazing this time of year that it takes my breath away. On a night out with friends this weekend, visiting a new cafe here in town and enjoying some mild winter weather, we discussed change, what it means, and how it affects us all. Changes in us and changes in others, from fashion styles to deeper, more personal changes, and what might prompt them. I thought of changes in me over the past few years, ideas which I've touched on in previous posts, Personal Growth, Football Season and Blog Branding and Containing Multitudes.

Looking out from inside towards a downtown illuminated with 7,000 sparkling white lights, I thought about holiday gifts I'd received from a family member - flowing art-to-wear garments that I might have had a penchant for pairing with leggings and Nomadic State of Mind Sandals back in my late twenties/early thirties, but that I've not been partial to for almost a decade. This person doesn't see that, however; she sees the me that existed in a certain space and time, not who I am today. It's a wee bit maddening, but then... is impossible for me to imagine my strong-willed, set-in-his-ideas-and-ideals friend suddenly blazing through some crash course on Southern Outdoorsmanship in order to win favor with the family of his lady love. It would be easier to imagine him trying to convince them of the error of their ways than vice-versa, but here is where I underestimated my friend's ability to adapt and change when the time and proper motivation comes. Perhaps this was just the change he needed; perhaps the him I knew needed to fade, and fast, into this new, robust person. After all, is it required that we must remain the same, always?

I've always been somewhat mystified by people, even close friends, who proudly profess, "That's just how I am and always will be!" and the staunch unwillingness to change that statement (and similar statements) implies. Change is growth, just as adaptation is a survival skill. When I received my initial Reiki training, I was told to expect changes, but to also expect to lose a few people as a result of this, because not everyone we are close to can or is willing to grow with us. Also there is the idea that who we are in any given moment ebbs and flows in conjunction with the lessons we need in life; in other words, there is no core 'who we are' but rather, like a river, a constant flowing pool of growth and change as we adapt and react to situations both old and new. This kind of thought kindly disguises for us the reality that change and even growth can be volatile, especially when it is not desired.

And here, dear reader, is where I'd love to have your thoughts, to continue this dialogue on another day. Are you who you were last year, last week, yesterday? What has prompted your greatest growths and changes? A huge catalyst for me was becoming a mother, but of course, this metamorphosis happens to all of us who become parents. Still, even within this role, there must be room for growth and change, often quickly, because our children tend to become completely different people right around the time we think we we know so much about parenting them that we could write essays about it.

And that, I believe, is the gist of it - change and adaptation just at the precise moment we thought we had a good, strong grip on who and what we are.I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

1 comment:

Virginia ("Ginn") said...

I have moved frequently and worked with so many different people from such differing backgrounds. This makes life interesting since each new peon in my life seems to evoke from me a different aspect of my personality. Their image of who I am seldom really matches my own idea of who I am. I remember business trips with the technicians I worked with. We would often find ourselves whiling away some of our time away from home wandering through malls. It always amazed me to hear the recommendations they would make when I asked for an opinion on whether something suited me or not. Their opinions often opened my eyes to other lifestyles, other ways of being, other ways of being me. In the end, I believe it is one of life's delights to continue growing, changing, exploring. It is good to embrace the nuances, to lean into life with some enthusiasm; to know that we are not poured in concrete. We are living, beautiful beings, growing, changing, evolving. Life is good. Life is big. - Ginn