CHANGE IS UNAVOIDABLE, EVOLUTION,
INEVITABLE. TRANSFORMATION IS A CHOICE
When I sat down to write this article about water, I thought I would be writing about my love of the ocean. How a wave is water caught up in the energy of the universe and how riding that wave, I feel one with all that is. It can be pretty profound. But as I continued contemplating water, really considering it, it struck me that water isn’t just waves of universal energy. It’s rain. It’s snow. It’s condensation and fog. Water is an ocean, a river, a waterfall. Yet in all it’s incarnations, water is water: H2o. No matter what form it takes, hot or cold, calm or violent, liquid or solid, evaporating up or raining down, water is water. It never loses the essence of what it is, transforming from one incarnation of itself into another without effort or doubt. Water is the most amazing element on the planet.
es ·sen ce
1. the inward nature, true substance, or constitution of
anything, as opposed to what is accidental,illusory
I’m absolutely fascinated and intrigued at the thought of being like water myself. What if we could do that? What If we could experience external change, then without question or hesitancy, evolve rightly, retaining the essence of who we are? We’d always be comfortable in our own skin, whether it’s as taught as a baby’s behind or as weathered as an old saddle. We’d continue inspiring others through our own expression, transcending the uniform and adherence to certain rules required by our new job. We wouldn’t take it personally when our lover tells us we’re not right for him because ...we’re not. And we’re okay with that. What if we could ride the waves of change to a better, more right place, ALWAYS. No matter what happens; who comes in and out of our lives, how many friends let us down, which dream job we didn’t get, we would remain true to who we are. And we would be content because no matter what happens, we’re living authentically. We’re living as we were meant to live, fulfilling our purpose. We’re living like water. Water makes it look so easy. But for us it can seem near impossible. We can be clipping along at a good pace, everything in place and then suddenly something changes. Or maybe it’s a handful of tiny changes that occur, one uneventful moment at a time. But one day we look up and we’re living in the wrong body, the wrong relationships, careers or lifestyles. How does this happen? I mean let’s face it. Life is a moving breathing thing, as constant as the sea but just as unpredictable. Change is unavoidable, evolution inevitable. But Trans formati on? That’s a choice. I actually looked up the definition of these words.
Change: to become different.
(For better or for worse. There is no distinction)
Evolution: change over time. (Again, for better or for worse.)
But the definition of Transformation, the definition I choose, lies in a quote by Mary Manin-Morrissey:
Transformation isn’t change, but
finding the essence of who we are.
Recently I was asked to do an episode of Celebrity Wife Swap. My first response was, “No, I can’t do reality TV!” As I began contemplating the “WHY” behind the “No” I realized it was my preconceived notion as to what reality TV is and what types of celebrities do reality shows. “Surely I’m not one of those.” I thought. But as they continued pitching the idea to me, I separated Nia from “Nia Peeples” and the idea began to intrigue me. I thought, “Wow, this might actually be a good thing for the family, an experience that brings us a little closer together or gives us a fresh perspective on our family life. We might learn something here.” So against the advice of some powers that be, I jumped. I said yes. And my family embarked on an intense couple of weeks trading me for the 80’s pop icon, Tiffany. The experience turned out to be great for all of us. Being apart from one another, living by other people’s house rules, we gained a greater appreciation for each other as well as for the amazing unit we are. But surprisingly enough, there was much more to be gained by viewing the finished product.
As we sat watching the show with family and friends, witnessing our family life unfold in front of millions; my husband surfing, my teenage daughter rolling her eyes, my son holding tightly to his musical integrity and Nia being Nia as opposed to playing a character, what I saw up on that screen for the most part, was honest and accurate. We were genuine. And it occurred to me that somehow through this thirty year career, the children, the marriages and divorces, through the births and deaths of close friends and family, through whatever successes and perceived failures, somehow, through some aspects of it, I had managed to retain an essence of who I am. And that essence has permeated the lives of my family and friends, and even our community. It’s not the changes in life that make us. It’s not even the decisions we make, right or wrong, up or down, left or right. It’s our responses to those changes and our ability to honor ourselves through the process. If water had a mind, a consciousness, and tried to remain an ice cube in the heat of summer, it wouldn’t succeed. Then it would feel like a failure, rather than the life giving water it truly is. But if, lying there a puddle, it understood that it’s failure to remain an ice cube wasn’t a failure at all but being true to it’s very essence, it could begin again as the life giving water it is. Change is unavoidable, evolution, inevitable. Transformation is a choice. Retaining the essence of who we are through all the changes life delivers allows us to choose transformation rather than to merely be changed. Holding that essence through each and every challenge, through every event or happening or circumstance allows us to be the truest, most beautiful we can be and on a deeper level, the most beautiful we have ever been. To be like water is to go through life retaining the essence of who we are. That’s life. That’s water. Like water, for life.