Changing without changing

water_1Many of us make great sacrifice to avoid it. Laws are written and put into place to stymy it. Large, expensive buildings are built to protect against it. Minds are made up against it and reject ideas that even hint at it. Blockades of all sorts are built against potential outcomes that may lead to it. The fights against it use energy we don’t even have to spare, in some cases, some putting themselves at risk in the process physically, mentally and emotionally. Heavy stuff.

I think about water. A lot. It has this exquisite power: water can change dramatically while retaining its original properties. It morphs into unrecognizably different states of matter while continuing to be itself, unaltered.

It is common to resist change. It seems we are conditioned against it in most cultures, generally speaking. Is it a natural reflex to resist it?

I cannot take credit for being steeped in a culture of change, I expect it, anticipate it. Since change is the only thing that stays the same, even as a child, it was clear: why not make friends with it and welcome such opportunities for growth and learning?

I may not be able to take credit for that, however, I am grateful and owe my resiliency to growing up in a way that forced me to face many changes and earn some hard won lessons that could not have been learned any other way. I can take credit for teaching myself to live better through it. I owe the quality of my life and my capacities to that experience.

Most people generally spend a lot of time, energy and resources fighting change. Inevitably change wins out and I watch them tire and cave into it reluctantly, often painfully. Meanwhile, we have to let others make their own mistakes. They have to make their own choices. There is no other way to learn. We can try to tell them but that won’t work. It only seems to inspire them to resist more zealously.

water_2Here’s the thing: fear is no fun. It causes stress. It is no good. It affects everyone around us when we give into it. My strategy for dealing with it is simple: I think about water.

Watching those I barely know and/or those I love with all my heart as they adapt to change, I think about water. I think about how long water has been doing it, changing, adapting, enduring and yet it does not really change, at least not in any visible or currently quantifiable way. Water does not waste time or energy in the face of the inevitable. Is that why we are so drawn to it? Is that why we want to live near it, sit beside it, gaze out at it, stroll along it, sail across it, throw coins into it, play in it, drink it, BE IT?

Water makes change a part of itself, becomes change, absorbing the landscape, becoming part of it, the way running rivers from glaciers find ways around obstacles. Every time. All the way. To the sea.