I’m sitting at this computer, trying to remember how I used to let my fingers dance across the keys. Shouldn’t there be some memory? A muscle memory? Let me try to find this rhythm again, but I’ll take the advice I often give: fake it ‘till you make it. Jump right in.
This blog is about transitions. That’s what nearly all my blogs have been about, since I started writing them back in 2001 on LiveJournal. That’s why I always loved this name The Leaves Change, because they always do and they always will. Change and the seasons of life are the forever truths of our earthly experiences. And I find blog spaces to be open grounds to mark and write about these transitions. I can come to this space, crack myself open, and spill myself out, either drop by drop or in a deluge.
I was linked to this Onion article a week ago and couldn’t contain my smile. People around me have complained, forlorn about the dip in temperatures as they signal the coming of winter (the article even ends with the emergence of Mr. Wintertime Asshole Man). Woah, WOAH! I say. We’re just hitting autumn (my absolute favorite season) and we’re not even going to enjoy it? We’re just going to rush right into and cry about winter? This cannot be how it all works.
My friends took to calling me the Plan Nazi at about age 15. I organize my life and achieve goals, both short and long, by planning them out and taking measurable steps towards them. I’ve been this way for a long, long time. And it has benefits, sure. But this anticipatory nature comes with some difficulties too. It’s difficult to just sit right here and be ok with sitting right here. I experience intense emotions or discomfort when the unexpected arises, be it a simple shift to a social arrangement or a sudden illness. When I see some kind of change, challenge, or problem coming in the future, I have a habit of shifting, scaling back, or, let’s be honest, completely throwing away my efforts too early and thinking, desperately, maybe I need a new plan? or even, what’s the point?</i> Call me Ms. Future-Oriented, Fearful Lady.
I first studied meditation when I was 17. In the upstairs of Main Building at Vassar College, my Introduction to Eastern Religious Traditions professor led us, an interested offshoot of class students who signed up for an additional mini-course, through our first sitting practice. We sat cross-legged, eyes just barely open, gazing at the patterned carpet in front of us. I still remember the lessons and feelings from that very first experience, the most weighty being that there are a lot of distractions and that meditation really is a process-based (rather than results-oriented) exercise.
And these are the lessons that I keep finding myself needing to learn again and again and again. Be sure. Be steadfast. Be still.
Autumn does indeed signal endings, but it hits me with the promise of renewal as well. Maybe my mind holds onto the school schedule that shares its beginning this month. Maybe it’s because we clean out and prepare our garden beds and put things to rest. Maybe it’s because the promise of change and transition is so evident and encapsulated in these three glorious months.
I’m still here. Shaky, sure, but ever excitedly seeking.