Pema Chodron writes in a book called “Comfortable With Uncertainty”:
According to the Buddha, the lives of all beings are marked by three characteristics: impermanence, egolessness, and suffering or dissatisfaction. Recognizing these qualities to be real and true in our own experience helps us to relax with things as they are. The first mark is impermanence. That nothing is static or fixed, that all is fleeting and changing, is the first mark of existence. We don’t have to be mystics or physicists to know this. Yet at the level of personal experience, we resist this basic fact. It means that life isn’t always going to go our way. It mean’s there’s loss as well as gain. And we don’t like that. …We experience impermanence at the every day level as frustration. We use our daily activity as a shield against the fundamental ambiguity of our situation, expending tremendous energy trying to ward off impermanence and death. …The Buddhist teachings aspire to set us free from this limited way of relating to impermanence. They encourage us to relax gradually and wholeheartedly into the ordinary and obvious truth of change.”
Much of my life and energy of the past 10 years has been spent trying to cope with change, as I watched my husband’s health deteriorate and my children grow from an innocent childhood into a difficult adulthood. Five years ago, my husband died at the age of 47. In my most agonizing moments of wrestling with impermanence, I would take myself for a walk. Two blocks from my house was a place I liked to call “my prairie”. It was a place where “relaxing gradually and wholeheartedly into the ordinary and obvious truth of change” came naturally. At that time, I’d never heard of Pema Chodron and knew very little about Buddhism. But I could see change all around as leaves turned color, decayed, and returned to the soil where new shoots would eventually spring. Cloud formations came and went, as did the warmth of the sun. Paths mown in the prairie grass grew indistinct and were redirected. Small animal carcases seemed to melt into a puddle of fur and bones until even those were carried off or disappeared. Change was constant and friendly, not the scary beast I was beating from my front door every day.
“My prairie” became a very special sanctuary to me. This is where I went on September 11, 2001 to think. This is where I went when I returned to my old neighborhood after moving in with Steve in 2011. This is where I will wander following the Bridal Shower my daughter’s best friend is throwing for her in June. I bring myself and all my changes into this sanctuary, and I feel immediately embraced by the bigger changes of the Universe in its course. All the impermanence, egolessness and suffering of my life seems to settle down into just What Is when I am here. I feel at peace. It is my pleasure to introduce you to my picture of Change…