Category Archives: Impermanence

Expectations, Change, & Growth – Oh my!!!

I LOVE a good plan. I’m a planner. Sometimes it hurts when unforeseen kinks appear in my plans. This week I talk about some things I do to manage my own expectations, in case things don’t go exactly the way I plan them.

Zero to My Own Hero – The Evolution of Me

Over time I’ve changed, grown taller and wiser. My physical appearance, ways of thinking, and self-wort have all teetered back and forth, from one extreme to the other. Every experience is an opportunity for growth, if we are open, even the most difficult situations have the power to teach us something

A friend once said to me that she remembered that I “wasn’t good at anything” when we were kids. This week I talk about what’s changed over the years. Life hasn’t always been easy but I make the most of things.

Most importantly, I’ve gained more self-confidence through growing a better understanding of myself.

Talking About Turning 30 – Setting Goals & Self Improvement

I’m turning 30 this week and every 5 years I like to do a little inventory of everything in my life – kind of like a life assessment.

I look at my bills, where my money is going, what I’m eating, my self-esteem, the people in my life, my activities – everything. I like to spend a lot of time in quiet contemplation as I think deeply about my goals and how I can be sure to stay on track. Sometimes old goals may become irrelevant as new goals come up. I try to think about all of these things when setting new goals for the year.

This year I am focusing on two main goals.

My first goal is self-acceptance. I am all too often my own biggest critic. We are too hard on ourselves.

My second goal is to face more of my fears. This means getting myself into some uncomfortable situations.

My goal for the last five years has been to always be improving. I want to be a better person tomorrow than I was today. This goal I hope to keep my entire life.

My goal for the last two years had been learning. I hope this goal also continues until my last day.

 

“Do one thing a day that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

Some of you may know that I turn 30 in a few days. This year, as I turn 30 I want to conquer my biggest fears. Here is fear number one. Posting this video.

This song is one of my favorites and I love that Sadie is singing along.

 

Wanting to Be Older

Longing to grow older is a bit like wishing for death, praying for your life to advance more quickly.

When I was a small child I wanted to grow up. I felt trapped. My legs were too short and I couldn’t reach the latch to unlock our front door.

In elementary school, I wanted to be older. I was afraid. The other kids were mean to me and I wanted to get away from them.

Junior high was difficult and I felt misunderstood. Teachers spoke down to me and school was hard. I wanted it to be over wishing adulthood would hurry up.

At fifteen I was feeling suffocated. All I wanted was to be sixteen so I could get my drivers license and be free.

When I turned sixteen I got my license. For a while I was content. Eventually, I started to want more freedom and the familiar longing started up again.

After turning eighteen I wanted to be twenty-one. My ego was huge and I wanted to be a “real adult”.

At twenty-one nobody took me seriously. I was too young to know anything and still wanted to be older.

By the time I turned twenty-five things were getting better .I was beginning to realize how much of my life had been wasted wishing I was somewhere else. Finally, I wanted to learn how to appreciate the present moment.

Now that I’m two months shy of thirty my life is better than it’s ever been. I don’t long to be older have a greater appreciation for where I am now.

Life is more enjoyable when you aren’t preoccupied with being somewhere else (or in my case somewhen). Living in the future causes anxiety and stops you from seeing the joys right in front of you.

I know this now but it took thirty years to figure this out.

 

Impermanence – Eternally Existing and Dissolving

Everything comes into being and then dissolves.

Whenever you encounter suffering in your life you don’t have to worry because nothing lasts forever. This suffering is not permanent. Facing your fears becomes easier because you begin to realize that fear too is temporary.

Every pain and discomfort become much less of an obstacle because you realize your time of suffering is limited.

You learn to be grateful for the little things because you look at them as if they are already over. Like a shiny new teacup that is already broken. Each joy in life, no matter how small, is a blessing.

When we waste our time longing for tomorrow we miss the beauty that could have been found in today.

Life’s fleeting moments, the little pleasures, a sunrise, a friendly dog begging for a belly rub, colorful fall leaves, and the smell of fresh spring flowers, become more valuable.

Anicca or impermanence is understood in Buddhism as the first of three marks of existence, the other two being dukkha (suffering, pain, unsatisfactoriness) and anatta (non-self, non-soul, no essence).[4][3][6] – found on Wikipedia

Buddhism acknowledges that life is full of suffering it confronts it as just another part of life.

The Four Noble Truths, one of Buddhism’s many lists, talks about suffering, and it causes (craving, thirst, & desire). Our constant seeking for something outside ourselves can never bring us joy. Suffering is inevitable but the pain is optional.

Luckily there is another list, The Eightfold Path, filled with detailed instructions on how to be free from life’s miseries. Like an eight-step program for getting your life on track.

The Eightfold Path is the fourth Truth of the Four Noble Truths. Very basically, the truths explain the nature of our dissatisfaction with life. The Buddha taught that we must thoroughly understand the causes of our unhappiness in order to resolve it.

– More about The Eightfold Path on About Religion

By following The Eightfold Path we learn how to end our suffering, by stopping the eternal cycle of clinging and craving.

When I first started studying Buddhism I tackled The Eightfold Path like a checklist, marking off each step one by one. I’m not perfect and there are still days when I make mistakes but now I have memorized this list (I found a neat cheat sheet here on BuddhaWeb.org).

These teachings have changed my life and in many ways, I am still changing. My person is transient like a river constantly washed clean by new wisdom and experiences – breathing in impermanence.