Dear Fellow Travelers,
What are you willing to give up, to have what you keep pretending you want?
This is a question that Elizabeth Gilbert shared on a recent book tour for her book Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear. It’s a question she encountered in her early years when she asked advice from an established author. It hit me hard the night I heard it, like an accusation as well as an epiphany. Here are my thoughts following that night.
Everything in life is an energy exchange. Whenever there’s something we desire in life, it brings changes that might not be what we would ask for. We would do well to embrace these changes and see them as an exchange of energy just like we do in our daily lives when we pay someone for a service they provide or we do a favor for a friend and they in return make us a nice meal. We’ve been taught that Nature abhors a vacuum and so when energy exits, new energy comes in to take its place. Reversing this idea, it makes sense that in order to bring new energy in, space must first be created by energy leaving.
I can see this playing out in the butterfly garden in my yard. When I first established this garden decades ago, there was a small maple tree growing almost upright in the yard. I chose that spot to create the butterfly garden knowing that I needed a small tree that would allow the sun to get to the plants. My sons and I dug up a flower bed around this tree, put in a birdbath and planted the types of sun loving plants that attract butterflies. As time went on, the small maple tree died. It was not really meant for this climate; I had imported it from another part of the country. When it died, the plants in the butterfly garden had even more light and they continued to thrive, but as the years went by the birds saw fit to plant a red bud tree for us in that same space. The red bud tree having a broader reach of branches created much more shade around that space. So plants that had once thrived in that space, were no longer happy. We created a bigger flowerbed to get more sunlight and as the tree continued to grow had to keep rethinking what plants would do well there. At first it was frustrating, but I was also happy to have the beautiful red bud tree with a wider scope of branches that could shelter more birds and from which I could hang a lovely wind chime. As time has gone on, I’ve learned to let go of what is no longer there in exchange for what’s come in. I have embraced the change – the energy exchange that has taken place seeing that as one thing was lost, something else came in to take its place and it could still be a source of joy and beauty.
This isn’t always as easy to do in our lives around things that touch our hearts deeply. It seems to me that the things we desire the most fervently bring sometimes those larger changes that we’re not certain we want. The only way I can see the possibility of a happy and fulfilled life is to get beyond that fear like Elizabeth Gilbert talks about in her book. We’ve got to be willing to see change as an energy exchange and know that when something we desire moves into our lives, something else may need to move out. We have to make a decision: What ARE we willing to give up in order to have what we keep pretending we want?
This is the current challenge in my life. I’m looking at how to live past fear and embrace the change. We have to be clear on what we want and we have to be clear that it comes with the price of letting go. It comes with the price of change. Anything we manifest in our lives brings changes that we may not have anticipated. If we want to bring in new things we’re going to have to have the courage to embrace the energy exchange that we call change and do that beyond our fear. The good news is that as human beings we have an enormous capacity for both creativity and love. They are powerful allies in our struggle with fear and so I wish for you that the days ahead will be full of love and creativity. As always, I'm here if I can help.
Blessings & Light,
“Your life does not get better by chance,
it gets better by change.”