Bending with the Winds of Change

By Laura Peters

When unseasonal weather patterns hit, and the economy’s boat is rocking, and social structures shift, and the computer keeps demanding that you change your password…all this change can stimulate an overwhelming desire to head to the bar, hide under the covers with a package of Oreos, or at least yell, “Let me off this roller coaster ride!”

Trees are my role model for gracefully engaging the winds of change. They have strong root systems that reach far down into the ground, providing a stable anchor. Their branches flex and their trunks can sway; they don’t stand rigid and immobile, but rather they give a little in response to the force imposed on them. They don’t run for cover, either; they stand their ground, continue to claim their place in the sun, yet they acknowledge the wind that’s rippling their leaves, perhaps even breaking a few of the weaker branches. They find a balance point between stability and change.

The modern era demands our adaptability. The pace of technological change alone requires that we constantly learn new ways to make a telephone call, research information, operate our entertainment equipment. We can grouse about this fact but it does little to alter our reality. Mindfulness practice helps us counterbalance this constant change in our outer lives by providing an inner anchor. Each day as we practice, we find within ourselves a still, deeply rooted center, a shelter from the storm swirling around us. Breathing in, breathing out, we settle into a familiar rhythm that has accompanied us through our entire life’s journey. Home, work, family, health, community, weather, economy, all can change around us, and still, we can tap into the timeless present within. We can come home to self-acceptance and inner peace. From that place, we can ride the waves of change with equanimity, swaying and bending like the trees, yet anchored, stable, and strong.

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