I do believe I've used a very similar title in the past. I do not remember what the body of the post was about and I'm not going to look. Not because I am lazy, but because that was then and this is now. And that is pretty much what I want to talk about.
It is interesting how when you're in the middle of this life and you feel change occurring in you and around you you note it, pleased or displeased, and you move on. Mostly you don't see the extent of the overarching change even when you're on the other side of a particular process until you turn around and look back over the time period, the distance perspective and think, "Wow. I barely recognize who I even was before."
This is a not a new thing, this distortion in seeing the whole. Yet it always surprises me, this backward realizing glance. I remind myself that if I look at a detailed painting with my nose almost touching it, even if I move one step every day and see a different part, I am still too close to the see the whole - too close though I've stared at every brushstroke individually. Step back several feet and, "Wow. Surprise!"
I've been gazing backwards the last few days. This last year has brought changes, some subtle and a buttressing of things already in me and others that are more like wholesale reversals of how I was. I do not see this year clearly yet, still in brushstrokes, but clumps of them, not individual ones. I look back a bit further and I can can see chunks of my painting not yet connected into the whole piece though it is indeed one whole me.
How I know I've changed, but not yet connected all the parts is by my reactions to situations similar to ones in the past. This happened to me recently. The situations were not the same though they could be made the same. I felt the old me, "OMGs, here we go again. NNNnooooo!!!!" And then the new me stepped to left, pointed, and replied, "That is not you anymore. It was and you were awesome and horrible at the same time, but that is not you Now. Look at you Now. Step back, if only for a minute." So I did and I saw all of the painting and I allowed the new me to take the reigns of that situation and ~poof~ the all clear siren sounded.
At times I miss the Me before the changes in a bittersweet "ignorance is bliss" sort of way (which by the way is a big old lie because actual bliss does not come from ignorance). Most of the time I like the newer revealed version of me. I like the changes and they are useful to seeking and living in Joy.
I don't mind this life, living brushstroke to brushstroke. I did choose it, after all. I do very much enjoy the perspective of stepping back from it, seeing the whole piece, and falling in love with this life all over again. Living in it, though, feeling every gentle or hurried or brutal stroke as a thing unto itself? That really is what makes this thing we call human incarnation worth the time and the struggle. Worth the changing.
To quote (I hope I have it right) Richard Bach's title character in Illusions: The Adventure of a Reluctant Messiah in reply to a remark about heaven being unchanging and boring and how wrong that idea is, "Stagnation is a swamp and the Infinite Radiant Is ain't no Swamp Cookie!"
I ain't no swamp cookie, either.
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