“It’s not what they built. It’s what they knocked down. It’s not the houses. It’s the spaces between the houses. It’s not the streets that exist. It’s the streets that no longer exist.” James Fenton
I remember this day like it was yesterday, even though it was more than fifty five years ago. I told the photographer the light was bad, the sailor suit was cliché, and that we should ditch the teddy bear. But he just told me to shut up and sit still.
Looking back I can’t help but wonder if this was really me. I mean, I no longer have blond hair and I’m considerably taller. Is any of this person who I am now? Does this happy looking kid still exist in me somewhere? Basically, who the hell am I now at 59?
Sadhguru and many others have said that I am not the body or even the mind, which would make it very hard to choose clothes that fit. Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, author of I Am That says that I am not the person I think I am.
But I think E. E. Cummings said it best: “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” Dammit.
“As long as you imagine yourself to be something tangible and solid, a thing among things, you seem short-lived and vulnerable, and of course you will feel anxious to survive. But when you know yourself to be beyond space and time you will be afraid no longer.” Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
“A fresh attitude starts to happen when we look to see that yesterday was yesterday, and now it is gone; today is today and now it is new. It is like that – every hour, every minute is changing. If we stop observing change, then we stop seeing everything as new.” Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche
“One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world.” Dōgen
“August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.” Sylvia Plath
The Buddha (allegedly) said: “From a withered tree, a flower blooms.” But what exactly does that mean? The best explanation I could find is on a site called Zen Dirt. This is from a post called From the Withered Tree:
“In Zen quotes and sayings, we have many reminders of the impermanence of everything. Life, as all things in the universe, exists in cycles and nothing is permanent. Being mindful of non-duality however, means that all things never cease to exist either. From a withered, old, lifeless tree, a new flower blooms, a new life grows. This reminds us of the cycle of life, of how we are all related, elder and young, old and new, and how we are all of the same being.
This quote also speaks of how beauty, new life, and new thoughts can blossom from an otherwise old, lifeless, withered tree. Just because a tree is shrunken and has been around a long time, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have the capacity to flower new life from it.
We can interpret this several ways. We can see this as a message that no matter what stage we are at in life, we can always start fresh. It’s never too late to let our lives blossom into a beautiful new flower. There is no such thing as “it’s too late now.”
As we all exist in cycles, we should not underestimate the profound effect of changing our lives and relationships with others. Even at a late stage in life we can positively affect our attitudes and the perspectives of those around us. This can ripple out and create positive energy around the world, or at the very least, the lives of the ones around us.
Another way to see it is simple. We were all young flowers, growing from the fruits of our parents, and we will all grow old, into a withered tree. Flowers may bloom from us, or they may not. This is not just children, the flowers are also seeds of happiness we plant in the hearts and minds of others.”
“You can’t change yourself, nothing can change you: no Primal Therapy, or Encounter groups-nothing. All that can happen is that you can come to accept yourself. You think you are ugly, then be ugly. You don’t like your body, you don’t like your mind-they are you, accept them.
And it is the ego that wants to change, become radiant, enlightened, unique. No one loves themselves. And this is the whole beautiful attitude of the religious man-that nothing can be changed, so eat well, live, enjoy. He doesn’t waste energy fighting against himself. Nothing is wrong but a wrong attitude. You are trying to square the circle-it can be done; if it could, it would no longer be a circle.” Osho
If you have a problem with this you can text or call 717-672-1014, I’m sure they have operators standing by who are experts on change.
“In this short Life that only lasts an hour
How much – how little – is within our power”
“There is only one important point you must keep in your mind and let it be your guide. No matter what people call you, you are just who you are. Keep to this truth. You must ask yourself how is it you want to live your life. We live and we die, this is the truth that we can only face alone. No one can help us, not even the Buddha. So consider carefully, what prevents you from living the way you want to live your life?” Dalai Lama