[Been in a bit of a quiet season lately, but maybe it’s time to jump back in again. This is part of an article I just had published in Paleo Magazine. May you be encouraged!]
“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.”
I recently saw this quote on Instagram with a picture of some mud run type event. I thought about how I haven’t done anything like that for a long time and how I must not be changing. “Yikes, this does not look good.” And I said that from bed, in the middle of a rough RA flare.
I have been in an opposite season lately. For many reasons, I have been quiet, low key, meditative. When people post about races and successful careers and travel and community and collaboration and magical life experiences, I feel stagnant. Failure-ish.
But when I take my eyes off others and look deeply into what is happening in me, I can see differently. At some level, I know that change is continual. As I fine tune my focus to see the changes that have come during this season, I am better able to be at peace.
There are many avenues of change. Some come along and smack us in the face. No missing them. But others come quietly, in whispers. Those we can easily miss.
When we walk on the beach, or hike in the mountains, or sit beside a lake, we are changed by beauty. Beauty is one of the most powerful change agents I know. It transforms the edges of our soul and makes them less rigid, softer. It increases our sense of awe and wonder. It fills us with light. And that changes us.
When we gather with friends, we are changed by the power of vulnerability. Intimacy allows us to share the deepest parts of our selves. When someone trusts us with that, we cannot leave the same. A measure of brave and grace and compassion get woven into our souls. And that changes us.
When we keep a promise or continue to honor a commitment year after not-so-perfect year, we are changed by love. We become focused more on the ones we care about deeply. More and more with every choice. And that changes us.
When we look at art, or read a poem, or listen to music, or make something with our hands, we are changed by creativity. The more attention we give to those moments, the greater chance they have to leave a mark in the deepest places of our soul. And that changes us.
When we look at our struggles and choose to believe tomorrow can be better, we are changed by hope. A recent accident set me back in my battle with RA. But if I’ve learned anything in this process, it is that today doesn’t set the rules for tomorrow. Hope is the firm expectation that tomorrow can be better. It believes that all is possible. And that changes us.
So let us challenge ourselves we we can, because that certainly can change us. But let’s also be aware of all the change agents we encounter every day. Beauty, friendships, relationships, creativity, and hope can all help us move forward in ways that make us more caring, loving, kind and graceful people.
And that changes everything.