First I Dreamt The Journey – Part 19 – Change

I am grateful too for the discovery that change is the only constant.

We are human. We are not comfortable with change; yet to go forward we must embrace it.

We can spend days or months or years in cul-de-sacs off the road – cul-de-sacs which offer the illusion of safety and of security and of sanity. But they are just that – illusions. If we are not careful we will spend more and more time bolstering up that illusion. We shore it up with possessions, either in material or human form. We demand pieces of paper to prove our ability. We demonstrate our worthiness by creating a surface which is beautiful and attractive.

We become taken over by patching and fixing and working harder and harder to paper over the cracks – to maintain the illusion. And the faster and harder we work at that, the less time we have to spend on the work that is really required; the less opportunity we give ourselves to step back, to reflect, to look at the bigger picture.

Yet true beauty exists only within the soul. It is available to be seen through the eyes. Far too often nowadays all I see behind eyes is a shallow pool.

The embracing of change begins with willingness. Willingness will open the door to change and will continue to keep that door open. When I first became aware that I needed to change I seemed stuck by a lack of knowledge of how to do that.
So I changed what I could. I started to wear a watch; I had not worn one for years. When I had a bath I sat at the other end from I was used to. I changed the order when I got washed in the morning, brushing my teeth last instead of first. Actually getting washed every morning was also a change. I changed my hair style – out went the sideboards, the length at the back and the quiff; in came a short back and sides and a parting. Small changes perhaps,  Yet every day when I look in the mirror I am reminded that I was willing to change.

To this day I seek to prove to myself that I am willing to change. Although my living space is small, on a regular basis I will change around the position of the furniture, change the pictures and their placement on the wall.
It is a way of ensuring I do not get stuck in my comfort zone, that I do not become a prisoner of my own habits.

Once again my model is the sea. Given that I have the safe foundation of the stepping stones, I want to live my life, as does the sea, in a state of constant flux.

Consider a large house standing on a hill atop the cliff. A top-floor room looks out over the cliffs, over the sea and over the moorland. There is a wind  – 

The wind is howling past my window,
it whistles as it passes through the trees,
it whips their branches to a frenzy,
picks up dead leaves and puts them far away,

insinuates itself in little gaps and crannies;
what’s not securely held gets worried loose,
picked up, moved on, distributed to elsewhere.
The landscape’s changed from what it was before.

The wind dies down and everything is still.

Why is it I am watching through the glass?
The world’s not real when seen through one of those.
Get out, stand willingly in way of storms
and feel the wind as it blows through and past me.

Dead leaves are only clutter in my soul,
what’s loose is best detached and blown away
to leave me cleansed and give me room to grow.
The landscape’s changed from what it was before.

The wind dies down and everything is still.

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25 Responses to “First I Dreamt The Journey – Part 19 – Change”

  1. David

    I am pleased you have posted this today. I was going to barge in (surprised?) and comment now but I realise that I am not quite ok yet after my argument with my box this morning.

    I want to give the comment that this piece deserves so I will put into practice some patience and wait till I feel better.

    Love you lots

    Christine

    xxx

  2. Hi David,

    of course I have no clue what you were like before you started to change, but from reading these chapters it is obvious you ar going through stages moving forward. You discribe this process so beautifully, it indeed is poetry.

    Change is the only constant 🙂 that is such a thought to stick in the mind!

    Your growth and willingness to share, gave me opportunity to think about aspects in my own life also, something i was not used to reflect on, To realise it is process at least is a good start 🙂

    I never wear a watch too, I don’t want to be reminded of time all the time, and I usually know the time anyway, accurate to the minute lol. No idea how.
    I would like to know how it changed you to wear one.

    I think daily routines are great to safe time and if you do things the same way every day, you don’t need to reinvent them every day. I can be very absent minded so I have inserted breakfast and taking pills after that, simply because I might forget otherwise. I think changing the way you take a bath is wonderfully clever 🙂 It also made me chuckle that you take baths every day now. Don’t change that please!

    The wind in your poem changed the landscape in rearranging leaves and branches. Storms can give change, for better or worse.
    I wish you a calm fall, with an occasional breeze for small changes 🙂

    Much love
    Ina

    • Thank you Ina,

      Addiction is very much an illness in which we strive to keep things the same – this being impossible, we tend to sink further and further into the addiction. To get well we have to embrace change. That said I do believe the book is about more than just addiction.
      And I do believe we all need to be able to reflect on our own lives if we want to be able to grow. Life is indeed a process 🙂

      Wearing a watch is a reminder that I was willing to change – every time I look at it is a reminder.

      I agree with you about daily routines – we do need them. I take my daily pills with my morning mug of tea for the same reason that you take them after breakfast. We just need to be careful that we do not become prisoners to routine 🙂

      Life in my experience will always involve storms. If we don’t learn from them then we may well have to go through them again.

      And I do like that last line in your comment 🙂 Thank you

      Much love
      David

      • 🙂 Well if you still want to walk along the sea with me, come in November, great storms to walk in 🙂 Don’t wear any stuff on your head though, it will end up in Germany!

        Have a nice day.
        Hugs and much love 🙂

      • *Big Smile*

        Sounds wonderful

        Hugs and love
        David

  3. Fall as Autumn that is. 🙂

  4. midaevalmaiden Says:

    Your words are the kind which always require two readings, then pleasant ruminations.

    I could connect with so much of what you said. That choice to wear a watch. I recognize that this was a very big step and Im glad you had the foresight to do it. The poet fiance I often write about on my blog, he was just as you described here, shoring up his wall with beautiful illusion. He prefered dreams to watches so I had to leave him behind in the end.

    Your little room high above the sea. I would so enjoy it’s solitude and wonder. But even also, to stand in the surf.

    I enjoy your wisdom and words. A big thanks to Unga Bunga for bringing us together. 😉

    • Thank you Sara,

      I just love your line – ” He prefered dreams to watches so I had to leave him behind in the end.” – A whole story in just one sentence 🙂

      As to that little room – there are times in our lives when we need to seek solitude and reflect and others when we need to be out there in the surf!! We need to be able to do both 🙂

      I will echo your thanks to Unga bunga 🙂

      David

  5. Hi David,
    This really hits the spot! beautifully witten with all the sincerity that is you.

    Change is what is hey? and there’s no way of changing that.
    Your poem prompted me to think about how I used to handle change. I fought so hard to keep everything the same despite my life being a chaotic and confusing mess, stumbling from one drama to another!!

    I agree with your view that it takes willingness to change, it’s a doorway that leads to many other doors and eventually to experiencing.

    I like what you wrote about illusions too, it’s so easy to get caught up in them!! the illusion of ‘things’ or of fear and of feeling lost and not knowing who the hell you are. Using the wind to illustrate the turmoil of change and eventually healing is perfect.

    It’s taken me a long time to realise I can’t stop the changes in my life , but I can attend to the way I deal with change and the way I’m changed by change.

    Maybe it’s time I started wearing a watch?

    Elayne :)xx

    • Hi Elayne,

      I am delighted to have you drop in. Thank you.

      I do recognise that person you describe who “fought so hard to keep everything the same” but I smile with pleasure when I think of the person you are today. The change is dramatic and inspiring.
      The persom you are today was always there – you just needed to give her permission to take the risk of emerging 🙂

      It does take willingness to change. It also takes courage and hard work And you have demonstrated those in abundance. It is my pleasure to know you.

      I am not sure you need that watch. A look in the mirror will show you the change 🙂 But for me it is a reminder, on a daily basis, that I was, and still am, willing 🙂

      David xx

  6. I have been reading and reflecting on your earlier posts in this series – beautifully written and very thought-provoking. (This post alerted me to them.) I have been reading about change in all its guises a lot recently – it’s strange how one line of enquiry leads to another complementary one. I particularly like the last words of your poem ‘everything is still’; change can be very turbulent but does also lead to peace and tranquillity (the stepping stones you refer to?).

    Thank you for alerting me to Robert Hass; I have been reading about him and his poetry today, and found some of his poems online. Very interesting. (I’m not a poetry expert, having been a novel reader for most of my life. All suggestions welcome!)

    • Thank You,

      It is strange perhaps that once we open our minds to a line of enquiry other lines open up too 🙂 Had I not opened my mind to poetry this would not now be happening 🙂

      I needed to find the stepping stones first before I was able to step out into the storm. They gave me a place to ground myself.
      There are more posts in the series to come – eventually the whole book will be on line.

      As to Robert Hass, I am not sure I would recommend him as a place to start – I find some of his poetry difficult but I am fascinated by the way he tells a story in his poems.
      I have one of his books – ‘The Apple Trees at Olema’ on my coffee table along with ‘Being human’, the third in the ‘Staying Alive’ series of anthologies. I am gently working my way through them both. If I was going to recommend a starting point for contempoary poetry it would be ‘Staying Alive’ – an anthology of contemporary poetry edited by Neil astley and published by Bloodaxe. That was my starting point – it led me to particular poets and to the purchase of their books. Robert Hass being one of those poets

      David

  7. Ah! I’m so glad you mention Staying Alive – I came across this book by serendipity just a couple of weeks ago. I’ve found some brilliant poems in it. Hass does seem difficult, but I found a wonderful passage in one of his poems about a memory of his relationship with his mother as a child. I think he will repay further study.

    No need to reply. I’ll be back! Glad I found your blog (via contemplativemoorings – Michael writes some wonderful lines in his poetry).

  8. Hi David

    Change is such a small, simple word,yet it can lead to a whole new way of thinking, and indeed a new way of life.

    I remember many years ago, after I put the alcohol down (for the first time), you suggested to me that I buy a new glass for my orange juice. I couldn’t see the significance of this at the time, but it did tell me that I was actually capable of changing something, however small. Do you remember when I finally consigned my trainers to the bin?! Shortly after that I ditched my leggings and bought a skirt and some nice shoes with a high heel. I remember walking into one of our aftercare sessions feeling on top of the world. I could actually see quite an attractive woman emerging, completely different from the hibernating hedgehog of before (complete with prickles!) .All this showed a willingness to change and what can be achieved as a result.

    Some change is given to us with a huge slap as I have discovered recently. All I can do with this one is my best, and how I deal with it will ultimately give me some peace or not.

    Fear; there is another short, simple word but which carries much weight (or heaviness) and is at the other end of the line with change.
    You know and I know that I have been so full of fear that I have prevented myself from embarking on a new (and probably very exciting) journey for quite a few years preventing rather a dramatic change from taking place. I have seen this as a mountain to ascend, but over time there seems to have been so much chance of avalanche (most of my own making but not all) that I have stopped climbing, seeing it as much too risky. I have blocked my ability to trust that particular process. I have to be very truthful here, for that is the only way, and say that I think I actually want the best of both worlds and that admittance in writing makes me feel nauseous, although I do think I have said it to you before.

    I think I have started to ramble a little. I do know, though, that after reading this, I am aware of how much I have changed over the years.

    One last thing; I would love to see your “cool” look with sideburns, long hair and a quiff! Although I do like your hair as it is now, but you know that!

    Love you lots

    Christine

    xxx

    • Hi Christine and thank you.

      I do remember those trainers!!! I think you thought I was mad when I suggested you bin them. 🙂
      We all underestimate the power of one single, simple act of willingness. It creates a state of mind which allows us to move on to bigger and more significant change.
      The change in you is remarkable and I rejoice in being able to see it.
      And I have little doubt that without that change you would not be coping as well as you are with the change going on in your life at the moment.

      I can understand the fear in your life at the moment, but you have a wonderful quote about courage which you have reminded me about many times. You are a very courageous lady.

      As for my “cool” look 🙂 I don’t think you are ever likely to see it again!! 🙂 Although I may look through some old photographs – see if I can find one 🙂

      Love you lots
      David
      xxx

  9. David,

    I really needed this one today. I feel I might have been getting a little lost in illusions. This post has given me great inspiration. Change is good, control is a fallacy. I keep forgetting that. I like the imagery of the house a top the cliff and the wind, oh the cleansing wind.

    Thanks,

    Cathy

    • Thank you Cathy,

      I enjoyed a cleansing breeze with my morning mug of tea on my balcony this morning. I didn’t half wake me up! 🙂

      I am delighted to know you came through this weekend’s storms

      David

  10. so important to realize change is possible … i rearrange the furniture every few months. used to drive my husband crazy. but i needed that flux …. as you speak of it so well here. something to keep a person on their toes– to not lose the understanding of beauty within the sense of complacency

  11. The sea is a good metaphor for so many things…it definitely shapes the world in so many ways…

    I like this a lot 🙂

  12. Hi David,

    I have thorougly enjoyed re-reading Change and I’ve read it a couple of times again since you posted. It’s a chapter that just resonates so strongly with me.

    I suppose because it reflects in much better way than I could ever express it, that you can talk all you like, but until you take those first solid steps of change nothing will ever improve. Talking and dreaming are good and I guess to some degree they are good places to start but at some point you have to stop talking, stop dreaming, pull your socks up and get on with it. 🙂

    I deeply love the poem. Especially the lines

    “Why is it I am watching through the glass?
    The world’s not real when seen through one of those.” and

    “Dead leaves are only clutter in my soul,
    what’s loose is best detached and blown away
    to leave me cleansed and give me room to grow.”

    They speak to me in a very powerful way. Maybe I just need constant reminding *sheepish grin* but they touch my heart everytime.

    Your insights about true beauty exisiting within the soul reminded me of the lines of one of my own poems

    “The soul needs the sigh
    That beauty creates”

    I agree with those sentiments of yours. We do so often forget those spaces where we find soul food that enriches us as a whole.

    I think of how much I’ve changed, but liked yourself it started with small steps. Taking out all my facial piercings changing my hair changing the way I dress but most importantly changing my atttitudes towards myself and others.
    It only takes small steps but they lead to major changes and before we know it the person we were is past and who we are is something new, something better. 🙂

    Change gave me a lot to reflect upon, in a good way. It encourages me to keep on changing and keep on striving to be the best human being I can be.

    Thankyou.

    I hope you are enjoying the Autumn weather.

    Arohanui
    ((((BSH))))
    Tikarma
    xoxoxoxoxox

    • Hi Tikarma,

      “at some point you have to stop talking, stop dreaming, pull your socks up and get on with it” *big grin*
      As a philosophy for living that takes some beating!!! 🙂

      I love the lines from your poem. –
      “The soul needs the sigh
      That beauty creates”
      They echo I think Eileen’s previous comment – “not lose the understanding of beauty within the sense of complacency”

      I do love the responses I get on here – they make me think!!!

      I love too your description of the changes you made at the beginning – they have much in common with the changes I made.
      Once we open the door of willingness and begin the process of change it is amazing where it all leads. I think that is the wonderful thing about change – we never really know where it is all going to lead. But provided we have faith and “get on with it” my experience is that it leads to somewhere very worthwhile.

      It has been my pleasure to have been along for part of your journey 🙂

      Autumn is definitely here now and I am thoroughly enjoying it. Thank you

      I wish you a really good week

      Arohanui
      (((BSH)))
      David
      xoxox

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