- At the Desert Retreat House -
Some people may think that we don’t have any change of seasons in Southern California (especially here in the desert); and while the leaves don’t change colors and snow never flies, it’s not perpetually summer out here and the seasons most definitely change.
Yesterday afternoon, great gusts of wind roared through the desert canyon where we live and I went outdoors to take it all in. I could feel that “change” was in the air. It was as if the world of nature was looking at the calendar and, “right on schedule, it was ushering in a brand new season.
After the stifling triple-digit heat of this past summer months (which kept me indoors much of the time), I went outside this morning and discovered that air was delightfully cool and even crisp. The position of the rising sun, the colors in the sky, the fresh smell of the morning were all signs that told me Autumn had indeed arrived.
This morning as I sat outside to greet the dawn, I thought about “changes in the air” and I experienced the very familiar feeling that I often get when I become aware of change in my life - a strange and wonderful mixture of trepidation coupled with a sense of adventure.
It’s certainly much easier to stay within the comfort zone of our lives and so when we feel as if we are being pushed or pulled out of the “zone,” most of us tend to get a bit nervous. We all develop our routines in life, the routines of work and school, shopping, eating, going to the gym, and our routines can be good because they offer us a sense of stability in the chaos of everyday living. On the other hand, our routines can quickly turn into ruts and rob us of all the new and fresh possibilities life offers us each and every day. This is true for everyday living and perhaps even more true for the spiritual journey.
It seems to me that, for the most part, “all the magic” of life almost always happens outside the narrow confines of our comfort zone.
I am reminded of something Buddhist teacher and nun, Pema Chodron, once said:
To be fully alive, fully human and completely aware
is to be continually thrown out of the nest.
To live fully is to be always in no-man’s land,
to experience each moment as completely new and fresh.
This new Fall season reminds me once again that everything and everyone is impermanent, a constant process of change, always becoming something else. If I am to be fully alive and completely aware, I must approach each day with an uncluttered mind and an open heart awaiting all those new possibilities that will be manifested to me even in the most ordinary routines of everyday life.
Author and teacher, Alan Watts, once said:
The only way to make sense out of change
is to plunge into it,
move with it and join the dance.
It’s a new day and a new season, time for “all the magic” to happen.
Shall we dance?