What to Do When What You Know Is No Longer
“When you leave the house of what is familiar to you… you end up standing someplace in the road. I would call these places that are without houses crossroads of ambiguity. They are not comfortable places. But in them, one acquires the freedom to move” – Anna Deveare Smith
Perhaps you may have experienced (or have at least witnessed) some great shifts or life changes as of late. I won’t go down the well of judgment (well I’ll try not to) and label said shifts “good” or “bad,” but even the most closed-off and unobservant among us can agree on some level that the world seems DIFFERENT somehow, even if we can’t exactly put our hands on what is underfoot. I have been simultaneously experiencing and seeing great movement in my own life and in the lives of many I know, and when I am not squeezing in some extra meditation (or whatever modality comes to mind to re-center in short order), the overarching commonality I am seeing is this: many things that used to be are no longer the same they used to be.
And what exactly is the problem with this pattern? Isn’t variety the spice of life? Well, the “variety” suggested by this pithy statement references changes that are voluntarily embarked upon and chosen. In this context, most, if not all, control factors that come into play are, well, “controlled” (or at least somewhat identifiable prior to taking the leap). The changes of the ilk I was referring to earlier do not remotely resemble this description. In fact, “upheaval” is more of an accurate term. And this upheaval is striking the core of what we as a society – and in our personal lives - just knew in our hearts was ABSOLUTE TRUTH. And, we relied on such just as fervently! Religious institutions, college sports programs, relationships of all stripes – heck, even our ability to receive our mail! – are all in varying stages of re-evaluation, re-adjustment (if not hanging on a thread).
When something in our life experience has changed to the degree that is no longer provides the same comfort, satisfaction or makes the world as coherent and safe as it used to, consider how fortunate you are that you have the ability to evolve. Your differing reaction to what was wouldn’t be possible otherwise. The discomfort you feel is not only an exquisite reminder that you are alive, but that you are growing.
While the realization that all elements of your life experience will not follow you for the duration (at least not in the same form), the baton is being “passed” to the next elements / players who will accompany you along the next lap of your experience. No one would assert that it would be a blessing to remain perpetually four years old! Or with X, Y or Z in our inner circle, who in hindsight were better off on the curb where we left them. People come and go, we try on beliefs and affiliations and discard as warranted and we can “spring clean” our personal and professional landscapes from time to time as circumstances dictate. When what we know is no longer, revel in the space created to insert something into our experience – for we’ve been given a gift that will heal the pain of exile from the familiar as we make our way down our own ordained path of continued exploration and expansion.