Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Torschlusspanik and change

Torschlusspanik.  Now there’s a word and a half.  It’s that horrible feeling of panic one gets, the thought that the door between yourself and all of life’s opportunities has been resolutely slammed in your face.  Know that one?  Yeah, thought so.  Me too.

But, you know, it comes about when we think of life as linear – as being a straightforward progression.  It’s all too easy to think we’re failures if we don’t steadily move on in what society perceives as the Right Path; if we don’t get the better job, the bigger house, more money in the bank.  But, really, what if life weren’t a straight line?  What if it were a circle, or cycles of circles?  If you go down only in order to come up again, somewhere slightly different, with a different perspective? 

Marion Woodman says, ‘A life that is being truly lived is constantly burning away the veils of illusion, gradually revealing the essence of the individual.’  And sometimes you have to break down in order to build up.  We fear dissolution in the way we fear all change - yet change is necessary for growth. 

It need not be big changes either.  People always focus on the big stuff – on making a shed-load of money, of losing a ton of weight, of moving abroad.  But really, sometimes all you need is something small, something tiny, just to kickstart the process.  ‘The Self need not carry mountains to transform,’ says Clarissa Pinkola Estes, one of my favourite writers. ‘A little is enough. A little goes a long way. A little changes much.’ 

So, today, maybe, think about doing something different.  Just something small, out of your usual routine.  Because we can become stuck in routine, in doing the same things, day in, day out.

I’m not saying all routine is bad.  Small children, in particular, need routine.  It keeps them feeling safe, secure. They know where their boundaries are, of space and time and emotion.  As they become teenagers, they need to test those boundaries, to flex their egos, their will.  It’s why parents should be a bit mean, a bit tough. Because, without those boundaries against which to push, to struggle, the emerging adult cannot break through his or her chrysalis.  The pearl needs the grit to grow.

But.  Once you’re a fully-grown adult, you need to beware of routines. You need to watch for the soporific trap of the everyday cuckoo clock.  It’s like my friend, Trish, the fitness instructor says – if you do the same exercise routine all the time, you won’t progress.  You’ll get stuck.  You’ll plateau.  You have to surprise yourself, catch yourself unawares.  And yeah Trish, my abs are still surprised this morning after those oblique crunches, thank you very much!

So.  Maybe today do something just a tiny bit differently.  Break the patterns.  Nothing major.  You don’t have to scare the horses.  Baby steps.  Wear something different; eat something different; go somewhere different; do something different.  In Tantra adepts shock themselves into different states of consciousness by consciously breaking taboos.  You don’t have to go that far (I’m not suggesting drinking blood or sleeping with corpses!) but keep the principle in mind.  Don’t become an automaton.  Accept the challenge of growth. 


Trisha said...

Change .................. I am doing the gardening well more like jungleing!! but reading this has made me book onto an on line French course. Often think what life would be without the house and possessions they do weigh us down.

Midlife Singlemum said...

I have a friend who says every door that closes leads to another door opening. But it's so true that sometimes you have to initiate a little shove in order to set the ball rolling. Can't think of any more metaphores so I'll shut up (which is also a change) ;)

Anonymous said...

Change - today I (don't) comment on quotes from my own buks only.

Frances said...

Sometimes we are able to choose to make some changes, large or small, and then again, sometimes, we are directed to make changes, without our having much say in the matter. Even as adults.

I do love the idea of trying to introduce variety into our days, knowing it is easier if we do the choosing. Incorporating someone else's notion of change into our lives is something else again.

It's great when there is some sort of balance. Or so it seems to me! xo

Ivy said...

Change and fighting routine have been my constant companion over the last year and it feels so good, almost like a soul-bath.Even though it is scary to begin with and often quite hard to keep it up. I can only recommend it.Nothing drastic , nothing extreme but little surprises for yourself or those around you.

Anonymous said...

No two days are the same in my job or my home life. I am fed up of constant changes and would like a bit more stability if the big changes are not to happen.
Someone got sacked today at work, which is good from my point of view as she was a bitch.
doors slam in my face all the time, usually after opening a little way to let me see through
wv is exici, French-latin for I'm outta here

Rob-bear said...

Love your picture of the upstart flower. (There's a better word than "upstart," but I can't think of it). I took a similar pic a while ago.
Harry Chapin: "All My Life's a Circle." Ah, yes. But not a repeating circle; more like a gyre.
Change in little steps is all I can do, and some days I'm not even up to that.

Eliza said...

Sounds like a good idea, I've had a few changes recently and I'm struggling with them, so I don't think I'm going to initiate any new ones just yet, but next time I'm in a rut............ Oh and that book "Women who run with wolves"???? had me crying so much I had to stop reading it!

Nora said...

That seems to be written for me, a woman whi is very much stuck in routines as a way to stay safe. I must admit, it does get boring and stale. Maybe I can make one little change today, though I'd be hard put to say what it would be.I will have to think about it very hard.

Jane The Booklady said...

I'm trying to pluck up the courage to go away next week- without any idea where I'm going, just decide at every cross road! Only in England and only for a few days but I've never just 'taken off' before with no plans. So, your post is very timely- thank you

Around My Kitchen Table said...

What a great post! I'm going to 'catch myself unawares' today - haven't yet decided how, of course, as it will have to be spontaneous

Susie said...

Well said Mrs. Am just in the process of turning my life (and my childrens) upside down again and woke today feeling all wobbly about it. Your words are pulling me back up a tad. I owe you a glass in Woods. x

Amberr said...

Incremental change isn't so much of a jagged little pill, and it feels so good when it's right!

Grateful2God...! said...

This is a really helpful - and healthy - thought. I like both the reasoning and the call to action. Thanks so much for sharing it!