Barbara Emrys

Shock and Awe

This past brought me another birthday, and even more reasons to celebrate. Birthdays are fun; but I enjoy the company of people I love, no matter the occasion. I enjoy little ceremonies of appreciation between people. I enjoy springtime rituals, most of which are still available to everyone– like moving weary house plants to the brilliance of the outdoors and opening windows to bawdy breezes.

I like seeing the world turn green again and watching new blossoms burst into being. I love the family of quail that marches single-file along the top of my fence every morning, and those bunnies nibbling on new shoots of grass. It’s fun to watch noisy birds take turns splashing in a water bath. It’s wonderful to sit outside during long evenings and to witness a moonrise. It’s great to celebrate my own life and the lives of those I love– and to see life-celebrating itself so boisterously.

We humans like to pretend we’re weary of the world, but I’m not sure we really mean it. These days, it seems many of our values have been flipped upside down and reversed; things that were deemed sacred are ridiculed, and ridiculous things are considered sacred. This may all seem shocking, but the shocks will keep coming. The absurdity is ongoing. There is no normal. The ‘status quo’ is constant disturbance.

Personal evolution depends on our ability to accept the differences and to acclimate to change. We can’t evolve if we believe everyone should agree with us, or that everything should stay the same. We might think we’re going through the same doors and admiring the same scenery, but we aren’t. We may think transformation is only an idea. It isn’t. The world out there is in perpetual upheaval– your inner world, as well.

The face you see in the mirror changes from one day to the next. The person you rolled over to greet this morning is not quite the same person you woke up to yesterday. Take a closer look. Life doesn’t stand still. Life doesn’t express itself in only one way. Why should humanity? Why should you?

Every once in a while, the world reminds us it’s out of whack. We’re in conflict with our own species. Families don’t get along. Team members follow different playbooks. Fellow patriots rise against each other. Lovers fall out of love. Still, we’re sharing the same space on the same planet. We’re all watching the same spectacle– those blossoming trees, hopping bunnies, and heart-stopping moonrises. And we’re part of that spectacle. We, too, are in life– in constant transformation.

Pay attention to the evolution of all matter. Celebrate your mind’s evolution, too. Keep challenging it to think less and imagine more. Appreciate the fact that you’re alive and always changing, whether you intend to or not– whether it feels comfortable or not. In fact, insist that you get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Enjoy the awesome ride while you’re here.

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