One of the gifts of recent parenthood has been living into the liminal spaces. Liminal spaces are those that are marked by transition. From the latin limin, meaning threshold, liminal spaces are times of change. Babies are all changes all the time. As soon as we’ve gotten used to the latest pattern- from how much they eat or sleep to how much they weigh or what they can do (rolling over yikes!), well as soon as we are good and used to things, they change.
I say gift because being a new parent has put right in my face something that is always happening-change. As the old saying goes, change is the only constant. We joke about this, have bumper stickers that allude to it and authors like Pema Chodron build a life on learning how to live with it. And yet..
It still surprises me. What something changed? How? When?
Especially people. I expect people to be absolutely constant. So, whatever I’ve decided about you in the first ten seconds, well you should just behave according to this perception all the time.
Of course I am exaggerating a bit here. But I do think a good deal of us spend an unfortunate amount of time living out of our stories of others as well as ourselves. When folks do enact genuine change and transformation they often encounter immense resistance by those who love them the most in their life. You need only watch one episode of the Extreme Weight Loss to see change-resistance phenomena in action. Or talk to anyone who has stopped acting in accordance with an abusive or oppressive system.
This month our theme-based ministry resumes with the theme of compassion. The more I study Buddhist practices of cultivating compassion and the more I try to cultivate compassion in my own life, the more it seems that compassion relies upon a healthy embrace of change. When we can grant ourselves the ability to grow and let go, as well as gift that to others, we ultimately become more compassionate beings.
The cynic relies upon life as it is and will always be but the hopeful, compassionate heart is open to the process of change and transition.
It is hard spiritual work to be open to change. Sometimes it feels like a screaming child at 2 am that awakens the soul to the fact that things are in transition! But ultimately, when we can embrace the evolution of life in unwelcome changes (cue screaming baby at 2 am) we open ourselves as to the blissful (such as the acceptance of our humanity at 2 am broken open there before the aforementioned baby).
Glad to be back friends, looking forward to living into compassion with you and what’s more sharing a bit of our journeys together.
In faith and compassion,