Impermanence

LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center - Chicago and Skokie sex positive counseling specializing in kink-friendly, LGBTQ, gender identity, open relationships, polyamory, anxiety therapy

Pema Chodron, in her book entitled Comfortable with Uncertainty (2002), writes:

“Nothing in its essence is one way or the other.  All around us the wind, the fire, the earth, the water, are always taking on different qualities: they’re like magicians. We also change like the weather. We ebb and flow like the tides, we wax and wane like the moon. [Yet] we fail to see that like the weather, we are fluid, not solid. And so we suffer.”

As I read them, her words grab me and shock me into remembering that I am impermanence, itself. Not the solid continuity of body, heart and mind that I recognize in the mirror each morning but a constant swirl of molecules, enzymes and proteins unfolding into an ever-new me. A rushing river of perception, emotion, reaction, intuition, thought and insight.  Impermanence. An expanding universe of dreams, sensations, passing observations, unconscious impulses and mystical moments.  A body in motion, even at rest.

I feel relieved and relax into myself letting go of the tensions of the day, the week, the month, the years…. I fall into a momentary sensory experience and close my eyes to feel more deeply the current manifestation of impermanence, the low-level, ongoing, buzzy vibration that I sometimes find in my body, in quiet inner reflection.

Thoughts float up….

How, I ask myself, can I remember this basic truth – that impermanence is everywhere, in me and outside of me?  Should I print it out and tape it to my wall?  Should I meditate more often, more regularly? Should I read Pema Chodron’s book and commit it to memory, deeply digesting it and hoping it will stick some where inside me?

Then, I suddenly notice my grasping attempts to hold on to this awareness.  The state of grokking her words that has already evaporated, is itself, impermanence.  The bobbing movement of my awareness is like a metronome ticking aware and tocking unaware.

It is its own reminder….

How I have grown to love timeless, unpredictable ever-changing experience, even as I embrace and relish the joys of forecasting, planning, tracking and knowing the things that I can know.  This is a paradox that delights me and reminds me of the mystery and unknown in myself and others.  Here’s to remembering, recognizing and celebrating the weather that I am!

About Cindy Trawinski, Psy.D., Dipl. PW

Cindy Trawinski is a licensed clinical psychologist, a Diplomate in Process-oriented Psychology (also known as Process Work) and a certified Imago Relationship Therapist. She is a founding partner of LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center and North Shore Psychotherapy Associates and has offices in Skokie, IL. Cindy is the former CEO of the Process Work Institute, in Portland, OR and a member of the International Association of Process-oriented Psychology (IAPOP), in Zurich, Switzerland. Cindy is a frequent speaker on topics including: Diversity and Multicultural Issues; Sex Positivity; Rank & Power; Therapist Bias; and Polyamory.

Share this: