In my life I've undergone many changes. I've changed many times.
There've been times I've wanted to change and did. There've been times
I've wanted to change and didn't, or couldn't. There've been
times I've not wanted to change but changed anyway in spite of myself.
Yet looking back, if I tell the truth about it, when I've changed I
changed because I changed. That's the truth, really. I haven't
always changed when I wanted to change. If I tell the
truth about it, when I've changed neither has there been much choice
in the matter. Mostly when I've changed there's been even less
intentionality. I'd go to bed at night one kind of person. When
I woke up in the morning, I was another kind of person. So I'd be that
other kind of person, at least for a while.
In the end, what it's come down to is this: I've changed when I've
changed and I've not changed when I've not changed. Wanting to change
and intending to change hasn't always brought on change. When I get
that, it's wryly disconcerting.
I may just as well have gone to bed at night wondering "Who will I be
tomorrow?" and then, come morning, I'd find out. And that's who I'd be
... until I changed again. If you asked me "Who are you?", I may have
answered "Well ... I knew who I was when I woke up this morning, but
think I've changed many times since then" (as Alice in Wonderland may
Alice may have been on to something here. She may even have a point.
But what I eventually figured out is she doesn't have
responsibility. And, when I changed in the way I changed ie when
I changed in the way Alice changed, neither did I. Eventually I figured
that out too.
It's a confront, really, to look at my life and to notice (and
unflinchingly tell the truth about) how much of it simply
turned out the way it turned out regardless
of me wanting it to turn out the way it turned out or not
wanting it to turn out the way it turned out ie wanting it to turn out
some other way. It's a confront, really, to look at my life and to
notice how many times I've changed regardless of wanting
to change or not wanting to change. I'm confronted by how
automatic it all is. I'm confronted both by noticing I've
not taken responsibility for it, as well as by noticing I seem to have
no power over its automaticity.
It's a step you have to take: if you're going to take
charge of your life, I mean really take charge
of your own life, you first have to confront and reconcile
exactly how much of it's totally on automatic. Keep
in mind, to change ie to become someone else, garnishes no
kudos. If I do something, I'll change. If I do nothing,
I'll change. It's automatic. I've changed? You've changed? So
what?! Everything changes, and so do you, and so do and I.
Change is the only constant.
The first level at which the game starts to get
interesting is when I intend to change when I'm changing. When I
take responsibility for changing when I'm changing,
that's when the game starts to get creative - that's the first
time the possibility of ease and
The canoe I'm sitting in seems bound for the rapids anyway. I can sit
here, exactly where I am, and be swept over the falls, possibly
inserted into a rock ... OR ... noticing the
coming changes, I can dip my paddle into the river just so,
thereby facilitating ease and
rushing maelstroms ahead.
Whatever changes for me when I change - my
ie whatever I identify with, my considerations ie whatever
I consider myself to be, my
ie whatever I do to survive life and it's imposition, my
belief system ie whatever I believe to be true about life,
my intellect ie that which I hold fast to in response to
tyranny of the mind,
even the way I earn a living, shaped as it is largely (again, if
I tell the truth about it) by whatever's expected of me,
by whatever's the right thing to do - none of that's
who I am.
None of that which simply changes because it changes is
who I am.
What (and, to a certain extent, who) I've been,
where I've been, what I've changed from, what I've changed
into and when isn't the topic of this conversation,
although since I'm asked about my changes from time to time, I've
a good many of them. The purpose of this
the purpose of this
if you will, isn't to tell my story. I'm suspicious of all stories:
yours, others, and my own - especially my own. The purpose
my life's changes, my changing ways, is this: since the truth is going
to be told anyway, I want to support it being told accurately.
Secondarily, I'm called to
coming changes by dipping my paddle into the river just so
and thereby facilitating ease and
rushing maelstroms ahead. Indeed that's useful to do: it
ensures I won't get inserted into a rock. Primarily, I'm called to
report on, to share my changing ways not because there's
any particular merit in telling my story, certainly not because there's
anything more special about my particular story than anyone else's
particular story - yours, for example. Rather, I'm called to share my
changing ways as a vehicle for telling the truth about what
happened - no more than that, no less than that. It's in the
telling of the plain truth about what happened, with nothing added,
with nothing taken away, with no embellishing and no drama that who I
really am like a possibility can emerge, the changeless
being endowed with changing ways.