Many people say they want change, but not everyone is willing or able to work toward it unless a crisis occurs. Sometimes it’s an external trauma that becomes the catalyst for a new way of thinking or being. The loss of a loved one, for example, sadly stops the world for a moment and puts everything in perspective. For some people that shock, that realization that the line between life and death is so fragile, becomes a springboard for a different way of thinking about life and how to live it. And sometimes it’s an internal pressure that causes the need for something new. If your way of being in the world hasn’t been working for you, then at a certain point it will become too painful to carry on blindly, stubbornly, or bitterly.
Sometimes we are forced to see that we’ve been living a lie in some essential way. That’s just no way to walk through life, and if that’s how a person has been traveling on his or her path, a fork in the road will come. One sign will read “Numb Out and Carry on Avenue” and the other, “Let’s Get it Together Trail.” Some people choose the avenue, but the trail is where it’s at; “it” being the beauty in life. The path to your truth and your peace, which may very well be full of ditches and blind alleys and caves full of sorrow, tunnels on fire and hail in your face. Tell me that doesn’t sound awesome?! No one would choose the trail unless the avenue had just become unbearable. But the the avenue is nothing more than a traffic circle.
Change is the only constant, but we resist it and flail about trying to avoid it or deny its existence. Sometimes we try to stop it in its tracks, as if we could stop the tides of the ocean. That’s no different than standing at the shore freezing and raw, screaming at the moon to stop pulling on everything so hard. The moon isn’t stopping, the earth doesn’t have a pause button, you have already changed since the time you started reading this post. Sometimes people grow in different directions and leave, and in any case, those we love dearly are on loan, as are we. What you wanted five years ago may not be what you want now. Maybe the way you treat the people you love most isn’t working for you. Maybe you’re treating yourself terribly; those things usually go together. You’ll know if you’re in crisis, there’s no mistaking it. And you’ll know if you need to make some changes.
Knowing doesn’t mean you’ll do it. You may decide to keep riding in circles for awhile because the trail looks scary from the comfort of a car we’ve been driving for years that might be on cruise control. Maybe the ride is not fulfilling, but at least it’s the gear we know, right? When your battery dies or you get rear-ended or you have a head-on collision, or you are just so freaking tired of sitting in traffic blaring your horn, you’re going to pull your car over, right onto the shoulder where there will be signs posted that you will be fined if you do that. You’ll do it anyway because you cannot take it another second. You will walk away from that car and head toward the trail and eventually you will look back and laugh. And shake your head. And wonder why you spent so much time driving in circles when you could have soaked yourself in the downpour of your own truth, could have felt the sunlight spill right into your heart, could have laughed the laugh you did when you were five. Maybe you’ll be someone who doesn’t need a crisis to do that. I wasn’t, but maybe you will be. I wish that for you. Sending you love, and letting you know the fines for driving in circles are a lot higher than anything you’ll pay if you pull your car over! Ally Hamilton