I’m not sure which rabbit hole of links I tumbled down to land on the virtual doorstep of Pace and Kyeli, but I can certainly say that I’m glad I did. It was refreshing to see such enthusiasm, optimism, sensitivity and encouragement in the cynical wilds of the blogosphere. I added their blog to my RSS feeds, looked forward to each new chapter of The Usual Error and signed up for the Freak Revolution (which is now the Connection Revolution.)
When they announced a scholarship contest for their upcoming World Changing Writing Workshop, I decided this would be an excellent motivator to finish a Word Art piece I’d started but had gotten stalled on, which was also on the topic of change. Even if I didn’t win, I’ve have some art to show for it. As it progressed, I was less and less happy with how it was coming together visually, so I scrapped the initial design and carried the words over to a revised piece, with a better shape and a more harmonious color scheme.
The one who promises you absolute certainty is not to be trusted.
In a world that shifts and changes so, such a promise is impossible for one to even try to keep.
That which endures only endures by being mutable.
This is as true of abstract notions as concrete ones.
All that is built will be rebuilt as time wears it away.
What we think we know is perpetually subject to change.
Or at least it should be.
If it is not, it will eventually be smashed by reality as it settles into its latest form.
We know change to be inevitable.
But we cannot be assured that such change will always be for the best.
That is only the case if one makes a definite effort.
Change is a force, like water, like lightning, like rain, like the wind.
And like the water, like the lightning, like the rain, like the wind, we have been able to deflect it, shape it and even create it as necessary, in order to make that which we have need of.
The mistake is in assuming that once a change has been made, things can never regress to their previous state.
Change is a fluid that will pour into whatever container is provided for it.
Like water, like the Tao, it flows to the lowest point.
Like fire, like Spirit, it is indifferent to what it consumes and transforms in the way that it refuses to make exceptions.
Like all of these, it can be put to use, but only when you grasp the nature of it for what it is instead of what which you wish it to be.
Everything is in flux.
Nothing can ever happen in such a way that it cannot, however eventually, unhappen.
And knowing all of these things, you must now ask of yourself–”How can I shape these forces that flow through all of us? How can we direct change so that the greatest number of people can benefit from it?”
For if you seek to only do what will benefit yourself and no other, it will only cause the slightest of ripples in the world.
But if what you do changes the worlds of one another for better, the force becomes amplified and these ripples become waves.
What you want for yourself should be what you want for the world.
Seek peace so that others may know peace.
Seek joy so that others may know joy.
Seek love so that all may know love.
Change is powerful and for many it is frightening.
Our cravings for novelty are counterbalanced by our cravings for stability.
We know that what change leaves behind is not always improvement over what was before, and thus we are wary of untried changes.
Therefore the one who speaks of change is most persuasive when there is proof that it will work, when there are examples to point to and say: “This was done in a different way than the always. And yet it works, and works beautifully. Why, then, do we cling to the means and methods that are less effective?”
Be bold with your own life.
It is not a path, not a trajectory.
It is, in truth, a laboratory, wherein each new day, each moment, can be an experiment.
You are not bound to what has gone before.
You are only truly bound to what you choose to do in the moment as it stands before you, whether it is to sustain or to transform.
About halfway through making this piece, I came to a decision about it, but I kept that decision to myself until after the winners of the contest had been announced. Once the winners were announced (I placed as a runner-up, which was an honor in itself) I asked Kyeli for a mailing address, so I could present the original to her and Pace as a belated wedding present.
I’ve been told it now hangs behind Pace’s desk for inspiration, which is kind of fun to think about–that I am able to inspire those who have in turn inspired me.
The original has been given to Pace and Kyeli Smith.