Accepting Impermanence Is Your Key To Freedom

Like a sand castle, everything in life is temporary."Like a sand castle, everything is temporary. Build it, tend it, enjoy it. And when the time comes - let it go." Jack Kornfield

Over the years I've noticed how passionately we fight against impermanence. Change is a huge fear trigger for most of us.  But it's time we realised that accepting it actually offers us a beautiful gift.

The truth of life is, everything is temporary.  But we have latched onto the idea that this is not good, and therefore we try to make everything permanent.  And when it turns out not to be, this causes huge upset.

Impermanence is change.  And change is a law of nature.

There is constant motion in our world, things, people and seasons come and go, and when we base our happiness in life on the assumption that everything will stay the same, we tend to get insecure, sad and find it hard to let go when things show their impermanence by changing and shifting,

This is true of everything – from a job, to your car, your money and your relationships.


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When my pets have moved on to other places through death, I find it devastatingly hard to just let go and move on.  But I put one foot in front of the other, and in my heart of hearts, I know this is the way of life.  And eventually I find peace around it.

Other things like jobs or friendships sometimes cause upset when they end, which leads to blaming others or yourself needlessly.  It was just time.  You learnt what you needed to, had a huge amount of fun and now it’s time to let go and connect elsewhere. 

It doesn't feel good if this happens, when you believe someone will be around for ever.  But as time goes by priorities shift and people grow apart.  Sometimes you can work with that, and sometimes the gap is just too big.  Then it’s time to let go.

When a relationship ends and you can graciously let go… rather than trying desperately to hold on, you find that you can move on a lot faster.

Easier said than done of course.  But staying trapped in the past is not a happy place to be. 

Something else we love to do, because of our fear of impermanence, is focus on that possibility even when we are nowhere near that point.  We find ourselves anticipating the ending whilst in the middle of the ‘good times’. 

Of course things don't always end as such, sometimes rather than leave your life, relationships, jobs, life situations simply change.  But whether something ends, or just changes, we feel let down when it happens - we've set ourselves up for inevitable heartbreak. 

So perhaps it's time to look at it differently.  Especially now, when so many changes are taking place on the planet, and a high level of anxiety is pervading our world.

Security Is Living In The Moment...

Anxiety is only worry about the future.  We worry because we know things change, which means we don't really know what the future holds.

True security comes from enjoying things as they are, and then letting go when they end, or being easy with a change.  In other words, living in the moment.  If you are constantly looking forwards to the potential ending, or backwards to things that you loved that no longer exist, as time goes by you’ll find yourself an unhappy person, always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Added to that, by anticipating the end, you can in fact hasten it.  By thinking of the end all the time, the only thing that you are creating is that… the end.  Because of course, whilst everything ends, sometimes it doesn’t end in our lifetime, or by the time it does end, you're ready to let go anyway… so you may spend your entire life worrying about something ending, instead of just loving the hell out if it while it’s there.

A New Way To Relate To Impermanence

When something ends, it's also a new beginning.

This is the gift of impermanence.  It allows us to choose over and over again - new paths, new jobs, new houses, new cars, new friends, even new partners. 

But you can only do that if you embrace it, have love for impermanence.

You are a master creator at source.  And it’s true that when one door closes, another opens.  If something ends, you get to choose again

Often we hold on to things just because we’re used to them, and think they are the best we can have.  Mostly this isn’t true.  As much of a platitude as it may sound – if we’re completely honest with ourselves, a lot of what we lose actually turns out to be for the best because it makes space for something better, or frees us up to experience something we otherwise wouldn’t have.  But only if we allow it by letting go of the old situation first.

Some of you may know that a few years ago a business of mine ended, long before I was ready for it to end.  But things had changed and I didn't react fast enough.  I held on and just hoped that somehow it would all sort itself out.  It didn’t.  So finally I had to let go.

Once I had done that I left a void, an empty space for the Universe to fill.  And it did.  Almost on a whim I started a dog walking business.  I love dogs and I just thought it would be fun, and anyway, what did I have to lose?

It took off almost immediately and I did have a wonderful few years.

My dog walking business...

But I learned my lesson about holding on when things shift, because after 5 years it grew stale, I felt I had no freedom, and needed to move on to something else.  Even though I still loved it on one level, I recognized the signs  and graciously allowed it to go.  I sold that business with a happy and sad heart.  Bitter sweet.  I still miss it, but I also know if I was still doing it, I would be feeling trapped by now.

This is the trick of it.  Not to hang on and only finally move on when you’ve grown to resent the situation, or you become unable to tolerate it any more.  Recognise the signs of change, of impermanence, early and leave while there is still a spark in your heart for it.  Lovingly release it and move on.

Impermanence gives you the gift of being able to choose over and over again.  Each time getting a little more clear on what you want.  It doesn’t have to be the ultimate – just the next step.  And when that stops being what you want.. let it go and choose something else.  This is what life is about! 

Impermanence is what keeps the world and your life fluid, always new.  It isn’t about making things permanent, that just makes your life stagnant.  It’s about living in the flow… and having the freedom to choose over and over again.

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› The Gift Of Impermanence

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