Change comes whether you want it or not. Beryl Bender Birch often says, “Celebrate impermanence!” I am still working on that concept, but I do know that much of my life I have spent preparing for things that never happened. Instead, something completely different happened. I am now, finally, and only sometimes, understanding what it means to really be present. Preparing for Heather leaving O2 Somerville and South End is impossible! I have no idea what is in store for her or me, but I do know that we are all in for an adventure. I also know that having the pleasure of working with Elliott and Wendy has brought a new and fresh approach, new eyes, and new challenges. I look forward to working on projects for the studios with all three of these motivating people, even though I can’t possibly prepare for every imagined issue that could arise.
Change is always happening. Change is life. Each breath we take changes our physical structure. Each moment that goes by, everything around us is changing. It is nice to know we will have experiences that we never want to end, and even nicer to know that we will live through and beyond those experiences we don’t want to have. In Buddhist philosophy there are the eight worldly dharmas. These are four pairs of opposites that we either avoid or grasp. They are: pleasure/pain, praise/blame, fame/disgrace, and gain/loss. In a sense, the idea is that you can’t have one without its opposite. You can’t pick and choose your experiences, but you can choose your reaction or, more importantly, strive toward non-reaction.
Being present means just being with what is right in front of you, not what you anticipate is about to happen, nor what you associate with in your past. Much of our distress comes from these anticipations and associations. But often the present is more than just tolerable—it is really joyful. Even difficult situations are often less so if you just look at what is happening now. In the case of Heather Stewart, my friend, confidant, adviser, and right-hand woman, gain and loss absolutely find their rightful place and I know that change is not only good, but inevitable and wonderful. I wish you safe and exiting travels, my friend! Can’t wait to see you in Mexico! (Boy is that a place that is hard not to get attached to!)