Be the Change You Want to See

Speaking of change I’m thinking of changing my name. Well, not actually changing it, just creating a new one. A name to suit the new personae I’ve been working on, a woman of no fixed address who is well on her way to becoming a bestselling author.

Meet Ailla Zaeg. She’s an international woman of mystery, six foot two, with long flowing curling locks of raven black hair. She has a mind as sharp as Sherlock Holmes and can come up with a creative solution to most problems in under three minutes.

Her creative prowess stems from her unassailable belief in a paradox – the only certainty is change. More than a belief, she sees change all around her all of the time, and notices that everything changes effortlessly, naturally, without struggle.

Change happens all around her, within her and without her, all the time. And if you asked her she’d tell you there’s no such thing as not change.

Change happens continually, all the time with no effort on anyone’s part, effortless and continual. Unending.

I used to hate change.

I”d worry about things changing. When I was a little girl I was always afraid the house would crumble while I was asleep. Or that my father would be gone and I’d never see him again. My father had to travel for work and be gone for weeks and no one ever explained he’d be back. I would miss him so much that even now when I think of that little girl afraid she’d been abandoned by her father I can feel that anxious knot in my belly. I wrote a song to explore change in terms of place and movement. It’s called Long Road, and you can listen to it here if you like.

I had the great fortune of being with my father when he died. I sat beside him for the last many hours of his life, sad to be loosing him but relieved his suffering was coming to an end. It took him a long time to die. He died like the strong Viking man he was. I was mesmerized by the slow laboured rise and fall of his chest. Every now and then I’d get up and look down into his eyes and he’d blink to show me he could see me. I watched his fear of death turn to resignation. The last time his chest fell it took me a long time to accept it wasn’t going to rise again. I stood beside him and patted his head and felt a tingling energy, a light electrical current, his life, leave his body.

Change is the only certainty.

Water that doesn’t move becomes a stagnant swamp. Our life is an ever flowing river made of molecules and energy jostling through space one moment to the next.

Viktor Frankl knew that nothing stays the same. It was how he survived WW2 in a Nazi death camp. He held onto the hope that things would change. That hope kept him alive. He could see that when hope left a person’s eyes it wouldn’t be long before that person would die. He held onto hope.

The war ended and Frankl survived and ultimately wrote about how he’d managed, despite all the forces against it, to hold on to life. He inspired generations with his positive attitude when he wrote, “Our ultimate freedom is to choose how we respond to the circumstances in our life.”

He said that his captors could strip him of everything except this ability to choose. To choose to keep breathing ultimately. Breath, the prerequisite for survival. Several breaths each minute which over an eighty year lifespan adds up to, depending on how deeply we breathe, an average of approximately 425,000,000 inhales and exhales give or take.

Now I embrace change.

Change in the weather is a change in me. I know that in life there is no such thing as no-change.

Last year I wrote a song in honour of Peace Halifax with Rose Vaughan and we called it, Be the Change, based on the saying attributed to Ghandi, “Be the change you wish to see in the world” Here is that song, a rough mix of Rose singing with me joining in and Jane Lewis in the bg. This is an early version before we got the feel right, but it’s the only recording we have and I’m grateful and happy to share it with you. It was recorded in Rose’s kitchen by her friend and neighbour Darren Abramson.

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