Monday, March 26, 2012

The Only Constant

I love family traditions. My family is extremely close and as I grew up we had many traditions which I came to equate with that close bond. Some of them were very simple, such as where we traditionally sat around the table during mealtimes, while others had a bit more elaboration, like how we would hang our stockings at Christmas time and the ritual of getting a plate of cookies and eggnog with rum in it for Santa. 
There were also many neighbourhood traditions. I grew up in an inner city community that had the feeling of a small town. Many of the families that lived there, and still live there, have done so for many generations. We were all very neighbourly and connected. One such tradition was the annual Christmas party hosted by one of the families on our street. 
The thing about these traditions was that they were safe and predictable. I looked forward to them fondly because of the general comfort in them. I knew how they would play out every year and I expected the result to be memorable in a warm fuzzy way. 
The Death Card represents
letting go and accepting change
As human beings we do this a lot. We take a holiday somewhere and it’s so amazing that we keep booking the exact same holiday every year because we want to re-capture that sense of amazement. Or we always order the same thing off the menu of our favourite restaurant because we know we’ll always enjoy our meal. Or we buy the exact same make and model of car as the last one because we’re familiar with the brand. 
It’s easy to say this is just fine and dandy because we know what we like and we stick to it, but I have come to learn that this insistence that we stay with what we know can be extremely problematic. 
If you always holiday to the same place then you never get the chance to discover somewhere new. If you always eat the same thing then you never know what other fabulous meal you might be missing. If you always buy the same sort of vehicle you could be limiting yourself to a model that doesn’t fit your lifestyle. 
In addition to missing out on new discoveries, you’ll also start to stagnate. Sticking with what you know, what you’ve always known, is extremely limiting. There is very little room for personal growth and life can become boring. 
Besides that, this stagnation generally doesn’t fly. Nothing lasts forever' can be a great comfort to someone going through a difficult time, but it applies to the remarkable, entertaining, joyful and happy times as well. When you rely on that meal being perfect every time there’s going to be an awful lot of disappointment when its not up to snuff. And I do mean ‘when’ not ‘if’ because the harder and longer you hold onto something the more the universe will challenge you to let go. 
Change is constant. When something is uplifting or makes us feel good we tend to cling to it because we are so adverse to feeling bad, but just because something gave us a sense of happiness once doesn’t mean it’s always going to. Nor should it. And we will be far less disappointed in life and we accept that the one thing we can rely on is that everything is changing all the time.


  1. So true. I just picked up the most recent copy of Shambhala Sun because it is all about embracing change and I'm going through a big one right now - moving away from the home we've lived in for over 10 years.

    I was struck by the notion that, while we are always trying to re-create that wonder of a special holiday or meal, part of what made it special was that it was the first time we'd experienced it. When you think about it that way, it is important to do new things.

  2. Interesting. I do this with some things, but not everything.

    Food? I always eat the same thing. Always. I'm weird like that. True, I'm probably missing out, but I stick with old faithful. Travel? As much as I loved some of my vacations, the world is a big place and I want to see it all!

    I try to make a sizeable change at least a few times a year, even if I don't want to - keeps me from getting stuck!

    1. I'm all about knowing what you like and enjoying it. For example, I eat bacon, a fried onion and tomato for breakfast every weekend. As long as it doesn't limit or restrict you from trying new things. I think it's fine to say you simply don't want to eat something, as long as you've given it a go and determined that it's not something you enjoy.

      I tried liver and didn't like it but now I know and at least I tried.

      The case of food always makes me think of 'Green Eggs and Ham' by Dr. Seuss.


Express yourself here
criticize constructively
I am receptive