There have been many changes in my life recently, and as I take a pause from blogging for the summer months, I thought it a good moment to reflect upon the nature of change.
In her book, The Places that Scare You, Pema Chödrön writes about the nature of change. She says that: “Stillness is followed by movement, movement flows back into stillness”. In other words, everything around us, even ourselves, are in motion, and while we think that the world just is, that it’s been a certain way forever, and will remain so, the fact is that nothing is static. Everything changes.
Perhaps this is no more true than for our world right now. As many places around the world begin to slowly re-open and awaken from the lock down caused by the coronavirus, we are hopeful that the world as we knew it will return. And while we will eventually be able to recover some of the activities and practices we once knew, it won’t be the same. Things have changed. Not necessarily in a good or a bad way. It’ll just be different.
The idea of change is so pertinent to me right now, not just because of all that the world has experienced recently. Right in the midst of mourning the loss of a close family member, I learned that out of more than 9,000 entries, I won the runner-up spot in the erbacce-press poetry prize. I think I experienced the true meaning of the words: roller coaster. Of course, I couldn’t help but think of Chödrön’s statement: stillness and movement, movement and stillness.
Change is inevitable. It brings about a sense of loss for what is being left behind, but it also forces us to go forward and create new paths, forge new friendships, and generate new ideas. Change is the reason I’m phasing out of my role as president of the Brooklin Poetry Society, which I’ve had the pleasure of leading for the past three years. (You can check out what I had to say about being president on the BPS website.)
Despite all this change, there are some things that remain for us as writers: the need to write. It is perhaps one of the few things that remains constant.
So whatever it is that you write about, and whatever happens in the world over the summer, I’d suggest dealing with change by following the advice of Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones: just write. We can’t prevent change, but we can start writing.