I Know What I Need
The sun does not stand still in the sky. Nothing is ever the same.
Because change is an inherent aspect of life most of us take it so much for granted that we do not think of it at all. We think that things “stay the same,” yet they never do… not even from one second to the next.
Dust — time — sunlight and shadows — the appearances of things change constantly. Temperature changes airflow which changes what specks of dust land where, or how random cat hair moves about. I found a small furball on the wall today, well above the height of cats… air currents at work!
Sameness equals security for us; we know what we know and, even when what we know is something that we know may be less than optimal for us, there is a level of comfort simply knowing that it will be there. We usually refer to that level of comfort as “security.” Changes of all sorts affect that sense of “security” in subtle ways.
Within the last three months one of my sisters has died, one of my cats has died, and the community gathering place where I live has burned to the ground taking with it 15 of my paintings. Loss is change too, and depending on what has been lost, loss can be even more stressful than simple change. Most simple change, as I’ve mentioned, we barely notice, but everyone notices a loss.
Even though we know intellectually that things and people change, if we were to be continually aware of each and all of those things all the time, we would most likely become depressed or anxious. At a very profound level, we need some thing or things that we feel that we know we can depend on… despite the fact that in reality, we can depend on nothing.
I think this may be why the concept of God exists… and I put it that way because the “actuality” of a God has not as yet been proven. God can be a useful concept for maintaining at least some sense of security in the world — at least as long as one has proven that one is worthy of benign treatment from such a benevolent overlord. But even then, as colloquial language has it, shit happens…. it has to… we have to make room in the world for all kinds of new, which just keeps coming. But change and loss are still stressful no matter how much we appreciate their necessity.
This is why people meditate or run or engage in any of the activities that allow one to “disappear” into something larger.
I crave security and comfort.
I crave routine and love knowing everything about where I am. I always have. I despise “travel” and avoid it whenever possible; the only reason I can tolerate travel at all is because of whatever person it is with whom I am traveling or am going to see. People I know and love ground me when I am an in unfamiliar surroundings. “New” is not interesting me… and yet I paint pictures of things that do not — could not — exist. I do not attempt to think of these things, they just seem to appear in my mind’s eye as if out of nowhere, just as small fears or sudden doubts do. Perhaps that is why I crave sameness, why I prefer a very small world where I know what is where… because I never know what dull surprise my mind may have in store for me.
Similar to Walt Whitman, I suppose, I contain multitudes.
I require peace and sameness to sustain me. It is a good thing to know… at last. It has been a long time coming, knowing what I need, and as I age I find that, for whatever reason, it matters even more. I can see, too, that it matters to my one remaining cat who seems at a total loss without his sister’s presence despite the fact that all he seemed to do was pester her from time to time. He expresses his angst when the crate we use for holding paper to be recycled — and where he likes to nap — is not where it should be. He goes to where she used to hide from him and cries. I feel his pain.
Life is, overall, difficult, a non-stop series of small and large challenges and changes to be met and handled. Some folks handle this non-stop marathon more easily than others, but we all need small comforts in great quantities and we deserve them. Coddle yourself when you can; take care of your animal self, find simple ways to feel good, and remember to re-mind your mind that Being comes before Thinking, even in the alphabet.