Sunday, 3 January 2010

I am joining with Tess, Lucy, Kel, Barbara and Christine, who have all chosen, or had chosen for them, a word for the coming year.  Something to immerse yourself in and learn from, to explore the intricacies of.

When I read these posts this morning I did not have a word for myself.  But now, it comes to me late this afternoon: impermanence.

So much of our suffering comes from a certain sort of rigidity.  Expectations.  A belief, perhaps even subconscious, that things should or do somehow always stay the same.  That leopards do not change their spots.  That we are always going to be the same.

I do not generally hold to that view.  And yet ... and yet ... deep within, there are cords that pull me this way and that, into this thought and that feeling, that it should be like this because this serves me.  I have defined and confined and categorised and labelled this, and when it changes, it unsettles me.

I have had some amazing experiences over the past several years of seeing people I know, intimately and acquaintedly, change in ways I would not have quite believed in a part of me even while the other higher part of me has believed in the process or applauded the outcome.  So much of my own suffering over the past decade of difficulty - depression, grief, anger, fear - has come from things being other than I expected.

I have been looking at myself, too, meditating upon certain thoughts and beliefs I hold that, once held and examined from different spaces, simply fall into dust.  The Western conception is often quite rigid, it seems to me.  Things are as we see them now, personalities are fixed, that person will always be nice and that person will always be irritating.

But yet, quantum mechanics tells us that the table we are looking at is more empty space than it is table particles.

This can possibly seem to be a rather cold way of looking at things, or at least a rather uncomfortable one.  Our egoes desire security, for the things in front of us and inside us to be concrete, unchanging.  We have defined ourselves and we do not wish to redefine ourselves or others.  We box ourselves in without realising it.  We believe we see the world as it really is, but how much do our thoughts and ideas about a person or a situation change from one day to the next?

Everything is in flux.  And once you cotton onto that idea, life is an exciting, wonderful, amazing thing.

So, that's my word for the year, impermanence.  As counterintuitive as it may seem, there is certainly a place of serenity to sit in an ever-in-flux world.  I look forward to examining the nature and strange beauty of impermanence through the coming year.

I loved reading about others words for the year.  Tess's is hospitality.  Lucy's is water.  Kel's is sanctuary.  Barbara's is joy.  Christine's is sovereignty.


  1. Great word, I like what you said, especially about how it relates to serenity.

    I was just thinking earlier what my "theme" of 2010 would be. Tried hard to come up with something but kept coming back to this: "Be good to myself." How boring! But there's a reason for it and it encompasses a lot really. I hope I can do it.

  2. Impermanance has whispers of fluidity in it, or as you called it, flux

    my word was playing hide and seek, until i made a sculpture and then it revealed itself :)

  3. It has many whispers of fluidity in it. It's actually a positive word, I think, even though it feels like it needs much handling for my ego to be quelled :)

    Cool! Nothing like finding hidden things within a sculpture. Yay :)

  4. I like this - it's challenging and seems to encourage one to really LIVE in the present moment. It's interesting what you say about "that person will always be nice, that one irritating". I've been thinking a lot recently about our expectations of others as another way we box in ourselves and those we know. And then perhaps it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, like the family roles we play long after we're grown-up.

  5. Infinite possibilities in impermanence, Sue. I like it. If there's fluidity, then it's a fluidity we can create every present moment, and it's not something that's 'happening to us'. We are Creators made in the image of Creativity Himself:)

  6. I do like your word, Sue. I find that impermanence has resonances with nonattachment or detachment. It is fluid and serene.

    I like lucy's word and Tess', but I reserve judgment on Christine's -- here in Quebec, it is a politically loaded term! I am interested in where you all are going with these words. I don't feel any connection to a single word as yet, so I feel a bit left out. If one comes to me, I promise to broadcast it.

  7. I like that idea...I'll have to think of a word, too.

    Your choice seems fitting.

  8. "So much of our suffering comes from a certain sort of rigidity. Expectations. A belief, perhaps even subconscious, that things should or do somehow always stay the same. That leopards do not change their spots. That we are always going to be the same."

    This was just what I needed today, Sue :)

  9. I have selected the word joy. It was given to me by a priest-friend who suggested I ask for this as a Christmas gift/grace. It flavoured my O postings this year.

  10. Tess - yes, the present moment is where I need to stabilise myself more. Practising art keeps me here the most. I have learnt in my life to dissociate myself into the future or the past or my own imagination. To miss what is right here in the present - so rich, so powerful - is something I am training myself out of. This word shall hold me in good stead this coming year in that regard. I agree with the self-fulfilling familial prophecies. It is so easy to look at those we are familiar with with something other than beginner's mind. I do not wish to do it; I do not wish to be the sort of person who people close to me hesitate to say things to because they do not think what they are saying will fit into my paradigm. Begone, such thinking! :)

    MysticBrit - yes, indeed. But I think entering into the fluidity of impermanence, for me at the moment at least, is also acknowledging and embracing the fact that bad things happen to me, that bad things will happen to me for the rest of my life. This may sound somewhat fatalistic, but it is not. It is a necessary adjustment to make for someone who has been bruised by what's happened over the past decade and wants to learn to roll with the punches. I do think that out the other side of that experience lies greater ability to be Creators ourselves. Weirdly paradoxical, huh :)

    Barbara - well, you didn't feel left out for long, did you? A wonderful word, I tip my hat to your word 'joy' :) I agree, Christine's word is very loaded; I look forward to seeing what she unpacks out of it in the coming year.

    Erin - thank you darling for that nod of confirmation. I hope your own word comes to you on the breeze, on the breath :)

    Sabre - oh, excellent then!! I do love it when my words get to be just the thing for someone to read. It's wonderful how we all get to do that for each other. Like little gifts, every day, free :)

  11. gorgeous post, sue. it is a beautiful welcome for me to this new space of yours. "impermanence" has a wonderful "fluidity" to it, so this resonates deeply with me.

    i sometimes wish my bloggy friends could have known me a few years ago. you would totally see (thank goodness) that all things (such as rigidity, narrowness, lack of play) are not permanent and can be changed. hallelujah for impermanence & letting go of expectations!!! i love it!!!

    happy new year, susieQ!!! xoxoxo

  12. Lucy - it does have a lovely fluidity to it, doesn't it? And also an amount of (much of it deeply subconscious, I suspect) fear. Which is why it will be such a great word to carry throughout this year. I have certain areas of my life where my attachment to certain outcomes is terribly strong. I look forward to weakening those grasps.

    I love to hear of people's journeys. Isn't it amazing, how far we can come from what we were??? And isn't it wonderful, the space there is to do it in now for Christians as compared to, say, 15 years ago? Hooray for impermanence!!! Hooray for you, Lucy Loo. Nice to see you here and HNY to you too :)

  13. I like the idea too! I wonder if I can come up with a word? I think perhaps I should get a slightly crabby word that will kick me in the butt when i need it... hmmm....

  14. Sue - Impermanence - what a great and logical word! Thank goodness I haven't found a place of permanence yet - how can we ever if we want to participate fully in living? Can't wait to hear what the knowledge of the word and being "impermanence" brings to your life this year.

    My word is SAVOR (or as Tess would prefer the English spelling as SAVOUR). It's one I'm using regularly in these first eight days of 2010.


    P.S. I have seen Lucy's TOTAL transformation from rigidity, narrowness, lack of play - her words; - and impermanence is a blessed word in our family!:))

  15. Cindy - a slightly crabby word to kick you in the but? Hmmm, sounds not very palatable!!! :)

    SS - yes, it's true, finding places of permanence is such a waste of time really. Glad to hear that it is a word that has become blessed in your family. I must say I love it but my ego does not like it one bit! :)

    Ooooh, savor/savour - nice one!!!! :) Look forward to your thoughts on it in the year to come :)


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