A Spring Metamorphoses

metamorphosesI think most of us kind of resist change. Even if we want change, we know that it takes work or entails something irksome like a rumbling stomach. People seem to get upset or just complain at the slightest changes, like the weather. But we should know that it is only temporary. Feelings are temporary, the way our body feels is temporary, and our interests can even be temporary.

It is drastic change that often disrupts us and leaves us shaken. People entering and leaving our personal life, moving homes or to a new city, our body’s condition and tolerance. We all have witnessed people who have gone through forced change or chosen change. Sometimes our course is to change a little bit over time, or through one big herculean effort. Underneath everything anyone ever does, even the stupidest of things, there is belief it is going to make things better.

If we ever follow any artist, we usually notice how their work changes over time and in much correlation with what is going on event wise. Lately the word, metamorphosis, has sprung into my mind. I began thinking about this oboe work I once played called Six Metamorphoses Over Ovid by Britten written in 1951, which is based on the books written by the Roman poet Ovid in AD 8. Many works of music, literature, and art have been based on Ovid’s piece including Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. Metamorphoses means ‘transformations‘ and we often think of it when we think about caterpillars changing into butterflies.

The season is transforming into spring. Even though it snowed today in my city, people are beginning to think about spring fashions, spring cleaning the house, doing a detox diet, and embellishing on outdoor activities. But we can also think about what we do on a daily basis those 360 days. It can be hard to break habits of spending too much time with television, the internet, toxic people, shopping, or sitting and doing nothing. I know I have felt this way as of late. Really, I would like to spend more time creating. I know I must change my habits. We can always initiate change instead of waiting for it to just happen. Sometimes we just get tired and we have to push ourselves to do something different. Somehow, our minds tie change & risk. We will never get anything different if we don’t do different. There are a few significant areas in our life that we often witness change.

Relationships

People come and go in our lives. This is often a signal of change, and that we must learn something from it. Even if we know some of them a very long time, we can always count on meeting new people and loosing some. You make new friends when you’re out in new places. You may stay friends forever, or one may take a different direction in life. People change, and therefore relationships with people will usually change too. This doesn’t always mean you take separate paths, it just means the relationship changes. Just because there is change, doesn’t mean you have to give up a relationship. However, sometimes the change in people is so great that the relationship must fade and the person moves on to something else needed.

Employment

People are having to reinvent themselves all over again. People are tired of red tape, crappy bosses, stress, and the doing the same repetitive thing everyday. We are dynamic creatures and we are learning that more worthy it to do what we like instead of slaving. Our jobs, careers, employment, are temporary. What we do becomes who we are. Sometimes our job doesn’t keep up with who we are.

Lifestyle

At the core, our lifestyle equals all the time we spend. Living life is an art form. Some do it in an eclectic manner, some gracefully, some just disjunctive. We constitute our lifestyle by how we spend our time through our career, through our fellow humans, what we eat, if we keep things tidy or messy, where we prefer to live, what type of transportation we take, what activities we do. How we spend our time tells us what we value. It’s time to question what you’re valuing. Society makes certain lifestyles appealing because it helps society fit into a defining flow. This flow makes it easy for the rest of society to determine what we want and need. What does it mean to have a lifestyle that doesn’t fit into society? How are we living and conforming to what we believe we should be doing just because that is normal? Changes in our lifestyle happens when our body and mind is out of the rhythm of flow. Many of us don’t realize how far we are from flow because it has just been too long.

Landscape

I hear a lot about how our environment shouldn’t influence how we feel or think. I think that’s crap, especially as a designer. There are all kinds of studies about how our environment influences our work productivity. Maybe a zen master can be in peace anywhere, but the typical person is going to be influenced by what their senses are determining as pleasing or uncomfortable. Why else do we listen to music, go see art, go on vacation, toss leftovers after a few days, and decorate our homes. We can learn from the zen, by not letting every little thing bother us. However, we need contrast in our lives to witness the good. Change is all about having contrast. We are on a constant search for something fresh. How we go about that determines our character.

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3 thoughts on “A Spring Metamorphoses

  1. “Change is all about having contrast.” Love it. I think a big part, too, is accepting opposites, or perhaps moving beyond the illusion of opposites. This is a recent thought. I have to think through it. This post got me thinking even more.

  2. I like how you address environments and lifestyle. I think it would be difficult to be a prisoner in a plain gray cell, for instance, and still be free in your mind. It would take a very strong, as you say, “zen master” mind. Mind/body are really not separable so making positive spaces that provide enough contrast (unlike say, cubicle work environments) is important. I think that’s one reason I need consistent breaks to get out of my workplace or take a walk on campus. Meditation isn’t enough. And the busier the week, the more necessary it is.

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