Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Life On The Compost Heap

We are living in a time of turmoil, both in our external world and also in the world that shapes us internally. Patience is no longer a virtue, but is considered an impediment hindering the already weak--the pathetic tortoises who plod along and don't concern themselves with the excruciatingly slow passage of time. The rest of us are dumping the old jobs, careers, husbands, wives, lovers, siblings, friends, and ideals in order to change into something new--without really knowing what that something new is or will become. All we know is the old center no longer holds us in place. We are literally flying off the edges of our previously and complacently accepted realities.

As disturbing as this may be to some, I am one of those optimists who believe change is a good thing, that it is a sign of a healing planet shaking off the last vestiges of a long sickness. Most of life is like a deep pond. In the peaceful and lazy Summer we dip ourselves into the cool stillness and stir the sediments with our physical bodies as our minds quietly sleep. When Summer is over, the cool winds of Autumn and the storms of Winter churn the depths and nurture the life growing deep in an organic stew beneath the surface. And in the Spring, new lives swim through the fresh and clean ripples of warming days and nights as a new Renaissance grows from the seeds of fresh beginnings.

This is the same process in every sentient creature. When it is disrupted, when it goes too long without making the transition from one reality to another, then stagnation occurs. Things begin to die. Life weakens. We lose our purpose. We become dank pits of rotting morality, ethics, and ambitions because the cleansing waters of the new seasons never come along to sweep away the sludge of sameness. Our lives lose meaning. Love becomes a burden instead of a joy. We make war because it is easier than working things out so we can live in peace. We hate because it is an emotion that requires little thought to maintain. We become as shallow and stagnant as a neglected pond.

But fortunately for us as a species, we are self-regenerating. If we stop long enough to listen, we will understand this ability comes from the part of us that we never managed to successfully cleave off from Nature, no matter how hard we tried. Inside us, the conqueror of the natural world and all its lessons of the senses, steps aside for the simple truth we could never defeat: change is inevitable. It occurs almost spontaneously when the forests dry up, burn and regenerate. It recreates itself from the eroded shores and devastated landscapes of hurricanes and tornados and becomes sand dunes, seawalls, and coastal ranges. It grows itself anew from the destruction of volcanic eruptions in a sea of fresh and fragile green clinging to dark lava-strewn landscapes. It is a natural process that compels us to discard our old lives and seek out something new every few decades, no matter how complacent we become. It is our salvation.

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