If you spend a few moments perusing my bookcase, you will find dozens of books waiting to be read. Some are resting fitfully until their turn as one of my 42 books, but many others are biding their time until after I finish the project (just don’t tell them it will likely be several more months until that point). Even though I already own several unread books, I can rarely resist wandering through my very favorite used book store, Rivendell Books in downtown Montpelier. Tightly packed with an assortment of current bestsellers, romance novels, general fiction, Vermont nonfiction, children’s books and a vast array of books belonging to miscellaneous topics, I could easily wander their uneven floors for hours.
As I strolled through Rivendell this weekend (doesn’t that sound idyllic?) I snagged a copy of Melodie Beattie’s Journey of the Heart. I own a few of Beattie’s books and find her writing about codependence to be both clear and approachable. While I haven’t personally struggled as the partner of an addict or alcoholic, her work on “how to stop controlling others and start caring for yourself” resonates deeply for me. Journey is set up so each day of the year has a few paragraphs to focus your attention and a brief meditation for the day. Here’s what I found on the date I brought the book home:
Just as the world around us changes and evolves, so do the circumstances and situations in our lives. We live in a universe that is alive, vibrant, and constantly evolving. Change is the way nature, the universe and the Divine move us through each period of our lives and into destiny. We are led to our next lesson, our next adventure. There’s no need to deny change, to fear it or fight against it. Change is inevitable. Just as the earth is constant motion and transformation. So are we.
Melodie Beattie, Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing your Soul
I’ve been feeling unsettled and uncomfortably adrift of late. I recently described it to a close friend as a feeling of anxiety because some of my anchors are not holding me steady. Some are as firmly rooted as ever – my family, my friends – but a couple of the major ones have come loose and are not tying me down the way I like them to. There are changes to the grant that funds my job and I expect the next few months will see a great deal of change to the way I do my work. I recently applied for a different job (unrelated to the grant change – it simply seemed too perfect an opportunity to pass up) and while I received indication that I was one of the top choices, I didn’t get the job. I will be moving in the next month to live with one of my closest friends and while I’m very excited about many aspects of this new plan, there are buckets of unknowns as we move into this new living arrangement.
Several months ago while visiting my sister and brother-in-law, my propensity for frequent moves came up in conversation. My brother-in-law made a comment about how I enjoy moving, and I think my jaw actually dropped open. If you asked me, I would tell you I hate moving and that my twelve bazillion moves in the past 15 years were all because of reasons. Crazy roommates, divorce, too expensive, too small, awful neighbors, no parking, need a change – those are all reasons, right? Though I dismissed it in the moment, as the time approaches for me to make my next move I keep thinking of his casual assumption that I enjoy moving and I wonder if there might be some truth to it. Certainly, the reasons were real and there were uncomfortable and borderline awful situations to extract myself from, that’s not the whole truth.
This time of year, many people engage in spring cleaning – clean out the basement, pull out the clothes for warmer weather, move the furniture and clear out the cobwebs. Maybe that’s a piece of why I move as often as I do; rather than moving the furniture in my room, I uproot the furniture and move to an entirely different space to gently tuck myself into the new soil. I may not know the details of what my job will look like come July 1, but I have a job I enjoy, that I’m good at, and I work with people who value and appreciate me. I may not know exactly what hurdles I will need to jump with the new apartment, but I have signed the lease and I am starting to daydream about how I will set up my spaces and how we might set up the shared spaces. I’m working to channel the excitement and potential for greatness in the change, rather than the anxiety that grows from clinging to what I’m comfortable with.
Today I am letting go of my resistance to change. Change will always happen, even within the happiest and most stable of circumstances. I will focus on letting go and changing with the world around me, on taking care of myself and on giving myself room not only to allow for change, but to enjoy it.