Our personal awareness of change varies. Some of us refuse to even acknowledge that things DO change. Others are terrified by anything changing, and fight it tooth and nail. Most of us lie somewhere between those extremes. But deny it or fear it all you want … change is inevitable. When I first took part in the A to Z challenge (in 2011), it was a lot less organized, though still a great idea. It has morphed into a well established and organized project, and promises to keep changing for the better. I mention this because one aspect that is new to me is the OTHER posts, such as the pre-challenge posts and the reflections post. So, though I have been part of the challenges a few times, this is my first reflections post. How has this effort changed me? How would I change what I have done? Would I? These are definitely questions for reflection. And in some ways, difficult questions for me to answer. My last post provides a beginning of answers. So does the image below. Now the challenge is for me to explain my answers so others might relate a bit. Here goes …
Change is essential to our perception of reality.
I have never expressed the idea in quite that way, but this is a concept I often share. Change provides the contrast that allows us to differentiate between now and then. It provides a template for our understanding of improvement (or its lack). Without change, we cannot truly learn … or even understand … ANYTHING, simply because the very act of learning and understanding IS change. Change is inherent in the very definitions of time; life; existence … basically all the core concepts that define reality.
Without change, everything simply stops.
Recently, I have found myself exploring both extremes I mentioned above. I have both been denying much that is changing around me; WITHIN me. I have also been fighting against it. Both are not norms for me, but that in itself is one of the changes I face. Where once I thrived on frequent change, I now see more clearly the value of a certain level of constancy as well. I look back at my life, much of it shared by means of my creative endeavors, and I both see how much I have changed, and how much I have NOT. The very world around me has drastically changed even as it remains the same. Part of that is the essence of change itself, part of that is my perceptions of the world change as I do. Thus I become more and more human, yet never felt so distant from the rest of humanity.
And only I can change ANY of that.
Taking part in the challenge this year has reminded me of all that I have just rambled on about. I needed to remember that change is inevitable. I also needed the reminder that I have very much input in what changes FOR ME, and what does not. For that matter, I am the ONLY one who can choose those changes for myself. By abdicating from life, I am giving away this fundamental right and essentially casting myself adrift in the flow of time. In many ways, I am the same me I was as a child … I just understand THAT me so much better now. In other ways, I have grown so far beyond that child that I no longer recognize him in me. This is neither right nor wrong … just the way things are. I recognize the “flaws” in me that have shaped my path through life. More importantly, I recognize that they are only “flaws” if I choose to see them as flaws. I am, and always will be, me and the only change that I require of myself it to let myself be the best me I can be.
So the very short answer to the questions I posed: I would not change anything. I would continue to be me, which itself is a constantly changing concept, and allow me to take me where I will go. For no matter how much we might change, we are still we. It is like the flow of water in a river. The water is ever changing, but the river remains a river. And even if that river dries up to be a mere creek, or disappears entirely, the river that was is still the river that was. I will be the me that is, even as I am still the me that was. I will continue to create because being a creator is how I have defined myself. Whether or not the rest of the universe even notices my contribution is immaterial, because I was, I am, and I will be for a bit longer, and this simple reality is one that is immune to change.
I have no idea what to expect from the future. I cannot bemoan the loss of the past, because it is not lost. I can only continue to create my present. The rest will fall in place on its own.
The above image is a digital expression of what I have just written. It is my own creation, emulating the wonder that is inherent in nature. It is far from perfect, yet still has its own beauty. The me that was has become the me that is through learning the skills necessary to make this image, and I will continue to learn and change into the me that will be (with future creation). The image well portrays changelessly changing, in the form of flowing water. Thus I change as I remain the same