I spend a lot of time following inspirational, vegan and social justice stuff on social media. Yesterday I bumped into a quote from author Gail Sheehy, “If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.” I couldn’t agree more. As I look back on my own life, the growth is undeniable. I’ve become all the things I wanted to be. However, when I look at the world, I see how even the idea of change can cause intense pain for people. In his brilliant book, My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies, Resmaa Menakem describes “clean” and “dirty” pain. Clean pain is the result of growth and healing. Dirty pain comes from avoidance, blame and denial. Growth may be painful, but the decision to remain stagnant is even more difficult to endure.
Even when we work hard at avoiding change, it’s inevitable. We may work the same job, maintain a long marriage, live in the same house, follow strict holiday traditions, ascribe to conservative politics, keep our elementary school friends, and never change our hairstyle. Despite our efforts change will come, whether it manifests through technology, politics and pop culture or through the illness and death of friends and family members. We all must change. If we don’t change we don’t grow. Death can be seen as another type of growth in much the same way trees shed their leaves in fall only to be renewed in spring. Our spirit moves beyond the physical plane. It’s an ending, but also a beginning.
There was a time in my life when death seemed like nothing more than a sad contemplation. When I was new in my Buddhist journey, I purchased a book called, Living Meaningfully, Dying Joyfully by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. I couldn’t even fathom this concept of dying joyfully, but I found the title fascinating. Was it possible to die joyfully? A life cut short is always sad and suffering is always terrible, but the conclusion of a full and meaningful life hints at beauty – a closure to the mysterious and magical cycle of birth and rebirth.
Sometimes we need to look at life with an open heart and mind and surrender to the flow.
As we enter this Thanksgiving week, I encourage you to consider the role change plays in your life. Is it a friend or an enemy?
I grew up in a family where we ate a traditional Thanksgiving turkey each year, along with ham, rice and peas, candied sweet potatoes, sausage stuffing, and pumpkin and pecan pies. For some, if you try to change their Thanksgiving meal it’s a punishable offense. This year is my seventh vegan Thanksgiving. My daughter asked me to cook “Thanksgiving” as she says. Here’s our menu:
Gardein™ holiday roast
Homemade “unbeef” patties
Baked mac n’ cheeze with spinach
Black Vegan Life™ Kale Salad
Mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy
Cauliflower stuffing with Lightlife™ sausage
Canned cranberry sauce
Follow me at Instagram.com/trishahjelroberts for recipes.
Change is a good thing, all the way to the end of our lives.
I with you Freedom, Alignment and Effortless Abundance!
P.S. I surrendered to the flow when I wrote, 12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes & Questions to Juice Up Your Journey. I’m so excited to share it with you. It’s now available for purchase on Amazon. Find out more at trishahjelroberts.com