January 7 – Rigidity

Change is a necessary part of life. If you’re not changing, growing, and evolving, then you are simply becoming stagnant. As Gail Sheehy puts it, “to deny [change] is to be an accomplice to one’s own vegetation.” It is a slow death, in my opinion. For what is the point of living if you don’t strive to make the most of it?

landscape photography of snowy mountain

On the topic of rigidity, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

Part of the crazy thinking of addictions is that we will be safe if we can just get everything in order, everything in place, and keep it that way. Much of our energy is spent trying to contribute to the calcification of our lives. Unfortunately, calcified beings are brittle and break easily.

When we become rigid about anything, we lose touch with our life process and place ourselves outside of the stream of life—we die. As Lillian Smith says, ‘when you stop learning, stop listening, stop looking and asking questions, always new questions, then it is time to die.’”

Never before have I considered the opposing nature of my thoughts on change and growth and my desire to achieve perfection and remain there. To do the latter would essentially be to stagnate. Unfortunately that is not the only way in which rigidity enters into my life. I have had to let go of my insistence that not only I but the people in my life must always be on time. It was detrimental to myself and my relationship with others. For one thing, I can’t control anyone but myself. For another, I and my nuclear family have always been late to everything. (Proof of this is in the fact that my dad and I were late to my mom’s funeral. Thankfully it could not start until we arrived.) Rigidity causes at worst unhappiness and at best a lack of growth. Neither is an ideal place to be. The beauty of remaining fluid is that it allows you to keep an open mind, and permits new ideas and concepts to enter into your life. There is so much to experience in this world; why cut yourself off from any of it by being rigid?

Sometimes it is easier and far preferable to let go and go with the flow than to hold tight to behaviors and ways of thinking that aren’t working for you anymore.

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