The Change Equation – Community and the Alphabet!

“In the kind of world we have today, transformation of humanity might well be our only real hope for survival.
Stanislav Grof

Thirty years ago, when my parents entered their 50’s, they were asked to participant in a university study on aging. They were interviewed separately in cubicle offices by young 20 something year-old students. The questions were basic, covering a broad range of subjects that were easily answered, until the last one.  “Looking back over all of your life experiences, what advice would you give to a young person starting out.”  In separate offices, without any discussion, and without hesitation, they answered, as if in unison:  Remember that time is finite.  Do what you must do. Choose your friends wisely for they will influence the quality of your life. 

Going back to the original equation, the only changeable is time.  “Yes” and “No” are non-negotiable.  It is what we do with our time that matters.

Yes = No + time

Is it possible to manipulate time to our advantage? Perhaps we cannot change the actual length of a minute or an hour, but we can certainly adjust our perception of time.  A three hour, action packed movie goes by faster than sitting in a dentist’s chair for one hour, even though you know that a dental check-up is a good thing.  Here is where the alphabet comes into play (equations love letters). What are the beneficial influencers?

time/A

Where A = anger or anticipation

time/B

Where B = bitterness or beauty

time/C

Where C = criticism or courage

And so on and so forth….

Even in our darkest moments we can choose to use time wisely. Surrounding ourselves with beauty, anticipating the best outcome and having the courage to move forward gives time positive momentum.

Change does not occur in isolation. We are not solitary creatures; we are communal.  Community is where we learn, share, and heal.  We travel onward together, drawing strength and courage from friends and family when we falter. Transitions are never easy – sometimes it is a day by day, even an hour by hour existence before we recognize the unfamiliar path as our own.

Yes = No + time

Yes = No + time/A+B+C…

Remember that time is finite.  Do what you must do.

Next post:  A few last words about time…

84 thoughts on “The Change Equation – Community and the Alphabet!

  1. Wise words and gorgeous images. Thank you. I agree that we should spend our time wisely, and also that time is a matter of perception. A few months ago, I was feeling particularly stressed because I had so much to do on a daily basis and not enough time to do it. My inner voice spoke to me and said: “Time is an illusion. God’s time is Eternity.” We don’t have to wait for Eternity, we are living in it now!! What a difference that changed perception of time has made to my life! By dwelling in the thought that I am living in Eternity at every moment, I have found that I am learning to live in the present, in a relaxed and much more fruitful manner, going with the flow of life rather than trying to struggle against it. Time doesn’t have the same hold over me any more. I can fully recommend it.

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  2. This is so beautiful Rebecca, the thoughts that stop us in our tracks to reflect, and the glorious pictures – the paths through the trees and the sunlight filtering through – leading us into the future and unknown adventures… just lovely…

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    • I love that you mentioned “unknown” adventures. If anyone knows about adventures, you do! You have lived them all of your life. Have you ever noticed that “adventures” always have a element of danger and uncertainty. When you are in the middle of the pathway, it is difficult to turn back, because you are not quite sure which way is back. And you may just end in another adventure into the “unknown.” Perhaps unknown adventures is just another way of defining life.

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  3. Your parents were right.. and the view from over 50 changed things for me as well. I suddenly recognized the finite gift of time and felt an urgency to get going on everything I wanted to do with my life! Excellent writing here today, I really enjoyed coming here and reading your words:) xx

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    • I’m looking out at the same view. When I was 20, time was fluid and somewhat infinite. Now, time is focused and somewhat less infinite. I have learned that my choices create my reality. Thank you so much for your comments – you made my day!!!

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    • Thank you for your generous comments! I have come to realize that photographs are a way to capture time! Because as you said, moments do slip away. My comfort is that they will be replaced by others just as memorable. First rule: take a camera everywhere you go!!!

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  4. Wow!!! I just loved your post, I have been thinking about the exact same thing lately. I absolutely love how you said this – “Even in our darkest moments we can choose to use time wisely. Surrounding ourselves with beauty, anticipating the best outcome and having the courage to move forward gives time positive momentum.”

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    • I think autumn brings reflection, before a winter’s rest. It is my favourite time of year because it brings harvest and thanksgiving, both of which our community events. Thank you so much for stopping by for a visit. You make my day joyous!!

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      • I think autumn brings reflection too. Summer is such a busy time trying to keep up with everything – the weeds, watering, picking, preserving and then it’s done. It’s the perfect time to reflect and rest. You make my day joyous too! 🙂

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  5. So many wise words. Thank you all for sharing. What a great community of “sharers” we have become. I think we started out examining “choice”. Much of our life results from the results choices/changes.

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    • I am delighted that you joined the dialogue! I have always wondered about the connection with math and life. I have heard that numbers is considered a universal language. Thank you for you comments!

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  6. “It is what we do with our time that matters.” When I got sober over 20 years ago I realized just that. Near complete destruction of your life by you-yourself will make you appreciate just how much it matters what we do with our limited time on this planet.

    Too often I meet people who have excuses for not doing things that are not dangerous or harmful, but would be challenging yet highly rewarding. I tend to keep them at a good distance. They seem afraid of change or afraid to fail, or both.

    I second the compliments on the photos; wonderful, as usual.

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    • Thank you for your words of wisdom. You reminded me of sitting in meetings that seemed to go on forever. There would always be the “We should do this…I have an idea that we should consider…It is essential to go with this project…” The “should dos” took up 10% of the meeting. The rest of the 90% was taken up by with “why we couldn’t dos.” I think that we all seek that optimum point where we know that if we do something, there is a high probability of success. And if our definition of success is as you say “challenging yet highly rewarding” – we would have less fear and more courage.

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  7. Something to ponder about time. When we were young, anticipation of what is to come made time seem so slow. As adults, time races because we are anticipating what’s next to do after completing the task at hand.

    Meanwhile, don’t forget that time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.

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    • I agree – we are always anticipating the next task to the point of obsession. My sister believes that there is a scientific explanation as to why older people perceive time differently. I haven’t quite figured it all out yet, but I think the fruit flies have the right of things. I’m heading out to look for bananas.

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    • Thank you! Transitions create a fork in our road that compete for our attention. It makes our lives that more exciting – at least that is what I remind myself when I am reading to jump headlong into the rushing waters…..

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  8. A thought-inspiring post – thank you. LIke Barb, I feel an urgency for everything I want to do and savour … writing, cooking, scrapbooking, living life to the fullest, savouring the important relationships in life (partner, children, grandchildren, friends). I know that my life is in the balance I desire when I experience the sensation of slowing time down. I last experienced that at the beach this summer and it was glorious.

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  9. As is usual I enjoyed your post and came back to it a couple of times in order to digest it. “Do what you must” reads to me like a command there is a power inherint in those words.

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    • Insightful and profound!! You are right – it is a command. I never really thought about it that way before. It seems to be a singularly solo pursuit, a call to action. You have given me something to consider more closely.:)

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    • Thank you for stopping by and joining the dialogue. I wrote about transition via “The Change Equation” to get a better understanding of how I recognized and integrated change within my life experience. The comments that people graciously gave me have strengthened my understanding as to the way I participate in my community, whether local, and within the broader global context. Your comments are much appreciated!!

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  10. Your parents’ words are words of wisdom. I always choose friends carefully, but was not realized time was finite, for my parents (and not for me). For things that I cannot control in life, I will let it go without regret, like marriage and having kids. For things that I can control in life, I will give all my effort, like going through good and bad times with my family, and cherish noble friendship.

    Wish you equation will be adopted by the world soon =)!
    kc

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    • Thank you for joining the discussion. We live in a world of exponential change – it is heartwarming to be involved with a blogging community that truly cares about each other!!!

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  11. Life is precious in this facet of my life… choices are the jewels of my existence. I made very unhealthy choices in my younger years, and having learned some valuable lessons I can choose what is actually spiritually better for me and my loved ones. No regrets, no blame… thank God I have had some teachers appear because I got good and ready to change. Great story! THanks again for your words of wisdom my friend. Have a great weekend!

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    • Thank you so very much for adding your wisdom to the dialogue. Isn’t it interesting that our lives can change with one word, one conversation, one or two people…without community, the road it often much more difficult. I especially liked “no regrets, no blame.”

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    • I am absolutely delighted that you joined the conversation and shared your words of wisdom via verse. So true – ” we don’t regret what we did but what we did not do…”

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    • Interesting point and relevant in our world of technology. Mastering time is an art form – you have given me something to think about. Thank you for adding insight into our discussion.

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    • Thank you! My mother is going strong – she is a regular commenter on my blogs. My dad passed away this month, last year. In the end, we had some remarkable, life affirming discussions, the primary one being that he wanted me to write, something that was so far away from my chosen career path that it gave me pause. This blog is my way of fulfilling his last request. We are on now on separate journeys. One of my favorite quotes is by Rabindranath Tagore: “Death is not extinguishing the light; it is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.” Looking forward to our ongoing dialogue!

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      • Love Tagore and that last quote by him. My thesis was a comparative view of death between modern culture and Kalahari Kung. The first page began with a quote from him. “Death belongs to life as birth does. The walk is in the raising of the foot, as in the laying of it down.”

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  12. I am a positive, optimistic woman. I live my life taking risks, traveling and participating in life. I was never one to sit on the sidelines. The older I get and I’m a baby boomer, the more precious time becomes, because it can change in a second. Ask the vistims of Hurricane Sandy, or workers from Enron, or people who lost their job and home. What keeps us stuck ? Security ? There isn’t any, Not really. So thank you for your post. Yet, another strong reminder.

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    • Thank you for your enthusiastic perspective of life and your memorable words “I was never one to sit on the sidelines.” I share you love of being a Boomer – so much happened during our tenure and there is more yet to come. Thank you for visiting my blog – it seems that I have found another fellow traveler, which makes it all the more joyous…

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  13. Reblogged this on My Latter Half and commented:
    “Even in our darkest moments we can choose to use time wisely. Surrounding ourselves with beauty, anticipating the best outcome and having the courage to move forward gives time positive momentum.”
    Wise words…timely, much needed and welcomed…I’m grateful to have come upon this post to share. 🙂

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  14. You’ve unfortunately reminded me that I need to make an appointment with the dentist. Seriously, though, “time is not on our side,” the song should say, especially as we grow older and the years pass by so quickly. I read once (Deepak Chopra, I believe) that time may be linear but aging is not. On any given day or even moment, we can be older or younger than the day/moment before. The end is always the same, of course, but the progression of getting there changes when we feel joyful, or sad, because such changes in emotion cause changes in our body’s aging process (as does eating properly, exercising, thinking positively, etc.). I see the logic in this. So using our time for joyous things seems like the only sensible thing to do.

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    • Well said!!! I agree wholeheartedly. I am in the process of de-accumulation and happened upon photos when my son was about 4 or 5. How quickly the time has passed yet I would not go back. It seems that we are programmed to move forward. I especially liked when you said “changes in emotion cause changes in our body’s aging process.” I am always astounded that we can make that choice and that the power remains with us.

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  15. I love this and your parents were correct. Our views of time change with age.
    Thank you for the gentle remind; time is our precious gift. Love your pictures. They truly accentuate the path of life.

    I hope you don’t mind if I reblog your link on my reblog page?

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    • I am delighted that you dropped by for a visit!! I am so glad that we connected – you are an inspiration! I am honoured that you would reblog this link. Merry Christmas to you and yours. We are heading into a new year that promises excitement, challenges and many adventures.

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  16. “Choose your friends wisely for they will influence the quality of your life.”
    Another lovely thought. Thanks for the reminder.

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