The world turns on its axis, all day, every day, millennium after millennium. Why is it that despite the fact that the world is in constant motion, we find it so difficult to welcome and embrace change? We even balk at the change that can ultimately bring us great joy, choosing at times to stay in a place of misery rather than risk change.
Is it possible that it is the very constant of our planet in cyclical movement is what keeps us from changing direction? When reading “Catcher in the Rye” in high school, I remember a conversation in class about being caught on the carousel. Around and around it went; an occasional rise and fall of a wooden horse or dog, or pig, but for the most part, a constant, steady ride, and although the music was joyful, it was still a trap. The only way to actually go anywhere was to jump off. The jump was likely to cause some bumps and bruises, and maybe even some broken bones, but without the jump, you’re just stuck in the cycle FOREVER.
Despite our desire to stay in the comfort of what we know, life often forces change. We don’t always have anything to do with it. Sometimes it is another person making a decision for their life that affects our life so severely that we have no choice than to change. At other times, we lose jobs, people we love pass on, new people come into our lives and turn what we thought we knew to be true on its ear. We have to adjust. We have to learn to bob and weave. We have to change direction, change our pace, change our perspective and set our sites on a new life, we may never have imagined in our wildest dreams.
In Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert wrote about the “Physics of The Quest” — a force of nature governed by laws as real as the laws of gravity or momentum. And the rule of Quest Physics maybe goes like this: “If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey (either externally or internally), and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared — most of all — to face (and forgive) some very difficult realities about yourself… then truth will not be withheld from you.”
The Quest has been the constant in my life; the desire to always be moving, to always be learning, to never get too stuck in my tracks. In my life, I’ve been accused of never being satisfied; of never being happy. As long as I feel like my life is on a forward trajectory, nothing could be farther from the truth. I am a happy soul, if not always a content one. I know that for me, the lack of contentment is an actual source of my happiness, it drives and compels me as long as it is being fed and nurtured. It’s easy to confuse contentment for happiness; to expect that if you HAVE enough, that you ARE enough. True happiness isn’t about material comforts it’s about soul comforts: a partner whose love challenges you and nurtures your growth. A love that expands your vision and not locks it down as one would a possession.
Transitions in life can be frightening. They often make you feel the sensation that all is lost, but life has taught me this; no matter how difficult things seem to be, the situation you find yourself in is temporary, because basic physics tell us that the world will continue to spin on its axis, gravity will hold, life will go on, and if we’re brave enough to keep moving, to keep learning and keep believing, the truth will come to us and life will be a beautiful gift.