Fabric of Change: A Writer Wednesday Post

August 29th, 2012 | Posted by Irene in Essays


Rug Shop Truth, photo & all text
© Irene O’Garden, 2012


Identity redux, this week–

To listen to this post please click here:Fabric of Change

Bittersweetly turning season. Fall promise crisp as a bosom of starched cotton; melancholy on the shoulder like a swathe of tulle.

Children we first knew as eye-gleams in the faces of our friends, are now off to college in dorm-crammed cars.  Other friends mend, ornament or discard their careers. Still others delicately extricate themselves from artful cozy nests they’ve woven over decades, carrying bright bits to smaller dwellings, leaving fluff and twigs behind.

“The hardest part of moving is getting over the idea of it,” says one friend. “So much of my identity has been wrapped up here.” Soon, I’ll shrug off an old kimono of identity myself.

Old wisdom surfaces with the ache and urge of incoming autumn: identify with exteriors–a job, a sports team, a house, even a relationship– and with every change, identity’s as slippery as taffeta.

But shifting seasons whisper true identity is changeless, interior, flesh to the fabric of change, not tailored but felt: the steady, ever-present watcher of change, whose costumes come and go and are to be experienced and appreciated and mourned and celebrated, but never confused with Self itself.  The more we sense our deep identity, the more smoothly change folds into the wardrobe of experience.


How are things changing for you this season?

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  • marina mati

    i was feeling something similar today, irene. maybe. as if all the nervousness of what if’s, what about’s, why isn’t, why is… all of it, all of a sudden lifted a veil. as if the veil were lifted by the
    vibrations of nerves and behind it was a new world, closer and more inviting.
    thanks for the space to tell you….

    • IreneOGarden

      How wonderful, Marina! It’s a gift to feel this connection with you, for I know how sensitive you are–many thanks!

  • MARK R.

    Change,Identity,Self…. I have read that scientists believe we are all made of atoms held to together by energy,/ our physical self held together in a similar way that a sidewalk is held together by atoms and energy . Man made destruction of the physical disrupts the energy holding objects together and quickly hastens a forms dispersals… change occurs. Yet if everything is a part of everything it has not disappeared, just been “changed” its essential energy still “there”, not lost, just “changed”

    Energy is not lost, scientists say, it just takes another form. This is what is sometimes disconcerting — to see a thing degrade, lose its energy, become something unrecognizable or just “disappear”. This is particularly true of the human form — to see it disappear can be unsettling . Attending a funeral recently, I visit the inanimate shell left behind … without the energy of the “personality” something more seems to have changed than just the physical / what some call the soul is gone even before the form has detetrrorated into nothing the energy is gone.. So is the energy and personality entwined as one/ ONE AND THE SAME? Later, visiting the grave I cannot help but think of the further deterioration of that shell. When my mother died, the first year brought images that would would jump into my head from nowhere ” What does she look like now?” Initially disturbed , I come to terms with the change …. with the idea of my shell deteriorating as all things will… Then alternately become frightened by the idea and resolved with that idea… frightened.. and resolved… frightened and…..
    Philosophers tell us that there is a deeper self rooted in the stuff that stars are made of… or plants … or rocks —- its the energy/ not the form created by the energy that is everlasting…. When the energy leaves the form dissipates. My identity has changed and morphed over the years/ my sense of self influenced by societal expectations, horror stories disguised as ” truth” offered by some religous viewpoints, ideas of what is masculine and feminine, societal mores and molds… As I age, the physical changes initially sadden then bring understanding / “its the energy inside thats important not the exterior shell” …”Yeah, keep telling yourself that”, some part of me says cynically.
    As I age, my body tells me what my spiritual deficits are. .. yearning for sweetness, a decades long addiction to artificial sweeteners causes neurological changes / I see double when I look at any object…. I give up the addiction in no time flat….. by not seeing clearly (double vision) I learn to see my addiction for the harm it causes to my physical form… I share with a talented local poet in this summer resort , ” So I wonder whats really surrounding us, what we can’t'”see'”, I remark.
    But the real lesson relates to the Spirit. My yearning to get “something for nothing”/ where there were calories there are magical empty ones substituted artificially/ ‘the energy of atoms moved around till they forma semblance of sugar. The lesson learned: there is never a quick way around the basic laws of the physical….. substituting the artificial has damaged my physical—– that damage was based in a mental yearning / the shortcut / the not going through the pain or challenge of denial for a greater good, a healthier ” self” i.e unable to deny a yearning for sweetness I substituted something that caused real harm…. rather than changing the yearning I tried the short cut…. but there are no shortcuts./ A recognition I try to apply to all things “BAD” for my physical self…… The bigger door opening is this: Uneasiness with the energy of my true self I have substituted physical stimulation as a diversion —- food and artificial sweeteners. ( among A LIST of other physically stimulating diversions) . It is this identification which forces me to come to terms with my ” unhealthy self” …..the uneasiness of self which caused addiction indicates more work to be done … until I find the easy energy of self, the physical continues to remind me I am yet still not balanced…. but it’s progress and not perfection I know to be the key to this balance / and forgiveness of the human frailties/ the failures leading to masking of the true self that must be forgiven first before the balance can be attained.

    When the seasons change I grow melancholy….. so much interior work to be done and the season change is a reminder that time here is limited…. the idea of fixing it all before lifes end becomes overwhelming…. ” Will I have time to get there before the time is all up?” “All the time you need ” a unrecognizable voice from somewhere confidently.tells me….I alternately remember, believe and don’t believe this statement … believe/ dont believe/ believe, believe… don’t believe.

    • IreneOGarden

      Quite a thoughtful response, Mark–thank you. First, let me extend my sympathy to you and the others who are hurting from the loss of the person whose funeral you attended. Death is for us the biggest change of all, as we cast off the wardrobe of the body itself, and I believe we are meant to reflect upon whenever it touches our lives.

      I also want to point out that your questions about your mother’s appearance after death, and subsequent imagery are spiritual exercises used in more than one religion. I recall going to a Vipassana retreat some years ago, and they were used there. You were quite naturally doing them yourself.

      It’s clear you have a powerful sense of self-awareness, Mark, and I think that is what this whole experience is about. Keep asking those questions, and keep listening to that “unrecognizable
      voice.” You’ll find it’s more familiar than you think.

  • Linda O’Brien

    Oh, Irene, this plays into my month of August. Taking my granddaughters back to school shopping, an annual event which all 3 of us look forward to. This year it was different. The girls’ are 4 months apart in age, but a grade level apart in school. So Lauren started middle school today, while Sarah finishes elementary school this year. Lauren looks at clothes inspired by Paris Hilton (which grandma won’t buy) while Sarah looks for clothes that provide her with movement as she is a dancer. All I can say is that grandma had her hands full this year. One young lady excited about a new school and changing classrooms while the other is watching closely what her future will be next year. And the fathers’ are enjoying(?!?) the beginning of their daughters pubescence. Talk about fear! Oh, happy day!

    • IreneOGarden

      You made me smile, Linda! Wardrobes for those who
      are just beginning to get the hang of them, and who are facing changes as large for them as ours for us. They and their fathers are lucky to have you helping them. And thanks for sparing the teachers and students at middle school the Paris Hilton clothes!

  • Jackie

    Beautifully written, and I can surely identify. Thank you, Irene.

    • IreneOGarden

      Many thanks, Jackie–hope this season’s changes go smoothly for you–

  • Scott

    Thank you for helping me see beneath the change.

    • IreneOGarden

      You’re welcome, Scott. You inspire me with they way you embrace yours–

  • mark r

    Dear Irene…. Before I go any further I want to be sure that my response was what you are looking for in this forum… by that, I don’t mean the content but, rather, that you are looking for others perspective for each weekly Writer Wednesday post i.e Identity self and change this week. I took it that way by the question asked at the end of your posting — that you were looking for individual responses to the subject matter

    . Next, I want to write how meaningful your posting/ writing was this week. It offered a clarity regarding change and its connection to the “Big Spirit” in the Universe that somehow pushed through/ made more sense to me than any other writing I’ ve read regarding the subject —and in an immensely rich weaving of words that one could stitch into a multicolored fabric and wear proudly around ones’ shoulders into the world…. it always feels awkward for me to remind those I love how special they are ….I am so fortunate to have crossed paths this go round with yourself….. the beautiful energy inside you always shines forth in the masterful beauty of your prose. Well done!

    • IreneOGarden

      Dear Mark–Yes, indeed, I am always glad for the differing perspectives which my readers generously offer! And I’m humbly grateful that you found such meaning in my recent post–your words are meaningful to me, too!

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