Monday, April 9, 2012

Jane flows with the current

Change is scary, exciting, overwhelming, scintillating. It can make your spirit soar or your stomach hurt. But one thing Jane has learned? Change is inevitable.

Jane thinks of change as a current. Sometimes it moves along very slowly so you almost don't realize you've gone from point A to point B. Gentle, easy, painless. You arrive at the new destination, climb out of the boat and stretch your legs with anticipation. Here I am, ready for action!

Sometimes the current is swifter and the ride somewhat less comfortable. Maybe there is some hand clenching the side of the boat going on. Maybe the scenery slips by so quickly that once the destination is reached there has to be a bit of recovery. Whew, that was fast. Okay, time to steady those legs and step carefully onto the shore. Hang on, take a few deep breaths. Look around. Regroup. Gingerly move on.

Any of this sound familiar? Jane has experienced change in both those forms and she bets you have, too. The second type might take a bit longer to embrace, but once those legs regain their strength after the bumpy ride things generally go along in a way that, while different, isn't overwhelming.

And then there's the other kind of change. The one where you don't even realize you're in a boat at all. In fact, you're not. You're standing on the shore minding your own business when the current reaches up and grabs you. And what's more, it's not a calm, quiet current. It's not a quicker but manageable current. This is a swift, rolling current of change and no matter how you hold onto the shore, to the branch that might happen to be within reach, you're not going to be able to remain in place. Nope. No way, no how. You can cling with determination but at some point the current will loosen your fingers and you'll be bobbing downstream before you know what has happened.

It's not a gentle ride. Jane has discovered this and she can say, with the assurance of anyone who has experienced the dazed confusion of such a turbulent ride, that the only way to get through it is to simply let go and flow with the current rather than fighting it. Eventually you'll wash up on shore and crawl to some point that is not, thankfully, moving. And you'll rest there and breathe. And that's it for awhile. That's enough for awhile.

Ultimately your breathing becomes deeper and calmer and you regain feeling in your legs and you might even stretch and sit up and look around. There's no rush to stand just yet. The landscape is completely different. Survey a bit. Nobody expects you to leap to your feet and navigate through the new terrain.

Jane knows the urge to walk back to the river and look upstream and sigh. She knows the longing to find a boat that will take her right back to where she started. There's no such boat, though. There's only Jane and her new location and the aftermath of change that brought her to this point. And the only real option is to turn away from the river and face the trees and the paths that disappear into whatever the future might bring. The only real option is to put one foot in front of the other and move towards those paths. And pick one. And bravely march into the unknown.

Change is scary, exciting, overwhelming and scintillating. Change is inevitable.

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