Yesterday I brought my daughter to the sleep away camp where every summer for the last six years she has grown inches in height and confidence. We were among the first to arrive. She selected her bunk and created her space unfolding sheets, a comforter and pillows; unpacking books and clothes, shampoo, a flashlight, nail polish. As each girl arrived she was the first to fly out and greet them with a hug of excitement. I watched her in awe. Who was this beautiful butterfly that shined with joy, brilliant with energy? Where was the six year old who I once feared would not adapt to this new and unique experience away from everything and everyone familiar? And how everyday could I hold on yet let go just enough to step out of her way and let her sparkle as her own unique light?
Every moment we face change and transition whether it be on a personal level, as a collective community, or as a planet politically and environmentally. How do we face these transitions with grace and courage?
Breathe. Listen. Be present.
We have to hold on tight to things that we love – if we did not attach ourselves they would have no value to us, no weight. But, we also need to be able to let them go. We breathe to make space for this surrender. The love we feel are the roots that live inside us, the breath informs how we those roots grow. We must make room to soften into a surrender of what was and what is to become.
And in this expanded space created by our breath we listen. We listen to the sound of our heart beating, we listen to our children playing, we listen to the cars driving by outside our window, we listen to the voices of coming to us on the internet from around the world. We pause and we listen. And so we arrive in the present and we pay attention to it.
We can’t be certain of many things, but change is one thing we can be certain of – whether for better or worse. We can’t really let go of that which we love and value, it is already a part of who we are. What we can let go of is the expectation that has to to be a certain way – we let go of the outcome. That is not to say that we don’t take an active role in our lives and futures, and stand up for what is morally right – but we do so as part of a collective whole. We surrender our need to control, and accept that change and transformation are part of the process of loving, living and being present. It might be a little bit messy, like the kitchen after my daughter has made cupcakes, or the tears of love and pride that annually run down my face as I drive an empty car home from her camp – but the result is growth, transformation, metamorphosis……….and a richer, more valiant life of freedom.