There are times when we want the world to slow down so we can get off, times when we just wish it would pull over for a moment because something has obviously come loose and we need to make a crucial adjustment, and others where we are waiting for the right moment to jump in and get things done so time seems to stretch like taffy into infinity. In our experience of all these things, we are the constant and the world is what moves. Our minds try to sort through things, make meaning, create a narrative where we are and island and all else is crashing waves. We are defined against the universal other and we in being constant we can then mark when things change around us.

However, this isn’t a description of reality. In fact, not only are we not islands, we are not constant. We ourselves are changing and being changed through interactions with other and with our own selves in each moment. So like a dance who is spinning in place, instead of watching everything whirl around us creating dizziness and an incipient fall, we select a point in space and time to fix our gaze. We let our body whirl while we keep our eyes on a constant of our choosing, creating a still point within our own movement and therefore maintaining our balance.

This becomes problematic if what we decide to set our gaze on is also in movement. In our lives we sometimes mistake a transformative moment for something permanent. This is common for anyone who has broken a bone. After the shock of breaking there is the time of pain followed by medical treatment, sometimes with a cast but usually with some kind of binding to keep the pieces still and in contact with each other so they can knit. Once they have knit and are strong enough, it’s time for the upside of healing, for the physical therapy to start. We need to use this part of our body again. And this is where we get lost. This healing usually takes longer than we thought, is more painful than we want, and can take on a feeling of permanency, of “This is just the way things are now.” If we agree to this, if we see this as a constant state relying on this state of being as permanent and secure even in its less than perfectness, we can set ourselves up for a fall. Because we will change. Healing will continue. Or we will so favor the bone that it never heals completely and our knowingness will become a self-fulfilling prophecy as we will never heal completely.

We do this to our selves in our lives as well. We experience ourselves as being one way, good at something or not, struggling in one area or excelling in another, always reacting one way to a situation, avoiding another altogether, and instead of checking to see if this is just a moment in time, a transformative moment which moves us from one state of being to another, we decide it is permanent. We choose to see the world through that lens and use this concept of self as solid as the principles of physics, as gravity. Then we are somehow surprised when our life becomes wobbly, uncontrollable, and we unexpectedly fall. If we allow our knees to be soft, to lean into the transformation, give ourselves the grace to follow through with the change, we will be better able to determine what is truly our essential self and keep centered.