“Contents may have shifted during flight. Prepare for landing.” Every time I hear it, I think of Constellations. The work holds that message: we have to ready ourselves for the shifts we are hoping will happen. If we stand in a different place with regard to the past, as we survey the present, as we look toward the future, the world will be different. It’s not that we will have changed another person, or erased experience, or succeeded in controlling something, but that because we receive differently, we rise up differently, and the conversation with life becomes richer, more myriad and possible. That is something to prepare for. After all, if I am used to tepid, then warmth feels strange.
Sometimes we say that people aren’t ready for insight. Do we mean that they are slow? Or shallow? Or gaining some gratification from being unwell? Are we unwittingly sitting in judgment? My sense is simply that people move at different paces – different from one another and even from themselves in various moments of life. I have no question that, as Hellinger and others have said, life wants to move toward balance. Wild flowers grow with little care; growth pushes up through concrete; we are here to tell the difficult stories.
Still, everything and everyone in their own time. My pace will be wrong for you, and yours wrong for me. On the long road, in the view from the full length, fast and slow will have changed places a thousand times. As a facilitator, as a mother, daughter, wife, friend, I have only this moment with you, and you with me. Sometimes you are going so fast, I cannot see the steps and so it appears to me that you are standing still; sometimes I am locked in place without realizing it because the world is flying by.
Thus, readiness in the sense of nurturing the voices that tell us to keep going is as important as gathering a vision of what well-being will look like for us. Our practices – those ways we choose to settle our mind, buoy our spirit, strengthen our body – can be understood as part of that readiness. When we have spent a lifetime organizing around danger, then the larger imagining of give and take, of living reciprocity is not on the table. The felt need for survival, current or recalled, ensures a particular navigation; it’s always urgent, tight, fear-driven. But once we have a larger terrain in sight, we must reorganize our being toward ease, space, and exploration. The wider lens will allow us to keep that terrain in view, and then to cross the threshold to find comfort and our “more” there.
Sometimes, I am carrying my little girl’s overnight bag – the one she took when she was to stay with her father. As I look around and really feel into the gratitude I have for this very day, I realize that that old bag is way too small. Nothing new will fit. She could not have been prepared. She was so young. But I have traveled a great distance, and I have gotten to know beautiful company along the way. I am proud to show her that, to let her know that I have a place in my heart for her and that little bag; she is safe. I am happy to whisper to her that contents have indeed shifted during flight, and I am preparing for landing.