Two weeks ago I resigned from my job. I didn’t go to work that morning planning to quit, but that’s what happens in life – unexpected changes. The ‘why’ does not matter. What does matter is that I was not prepared for this.
Change is the one thing we can expect in life. It may be a comfort when we are going through hard times that ‘this too shall pass’. But likewise, as we enjoy a fabulous meal, fall in love or land a dream job – this too will change at one point. Everything is impermanent.
Most of us are not taught to prepare for the inevitable changes life brings; sickness, loss, moves, aging. The ultimate change, death, fills us with fear. Yet change, like death, is one of the only certainties in life, so we must learn to embrace it, whether we like it or not.
Being suddenly without job made me feel like I had jumped out of a plane without a parachute, not knowing where, how or if I would ever land. As days go by, I have come to accept that the latter might be true. I am still flying through unchartered air, but I am starting to find comfort in the process, embracing the possibilities and no longer worrying where or if I land. Free falling is the new me.
In times of difficult changes, I turn to Rumi, the wisest of them all. This Afghani poet put my feelings into word some one thousand years ago.
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.