Life is a Process



“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell

It occurred to me this morning in meditation the holiday season offers relief in a stressful and anxious world. There’s something about the lights and the music and the gift-giving mentality that sprinkles some ease in my heart. This year especially is difficult with all that is happening, and I find joy in twinkling lights. Is it the memories of my childhood? Probably not. Is it anticipation? I can’t accept anticipation either as it always adds stress. I think it has something to do with the collective consciousness in the world. The holiday season is celebrated globally where people come together in love and gratitude, in celebration and specialness. Traditional celebrations from ages past stirs our souls and brings our ancestors closer.


Even in the worst of times with the pandemic and the climate crisis and the political climate and the suffering and fear, I see signs of generosity, signs of gratitude and moments of beauty. A moment can become a blessing in the eyes of someone reaching out. A smile is a gift, even if evident in our eyes.


In my opinion, humanity’s soul is struggling and stirring awake. Eyes are opening to what’s not working and ignoring is not an answer. Changes are taking place. Complacency is not the norm any longer. We’re in process as a whole just as I am in process as a part of the whole. Some days, I feel completely lost and bereft, weeping for life. Other days, my perspective is refocused and I can breathe more easily. It’s an up and down process in an up and down world.


Isn’t that what process means? A series of actions or steps to achieve a particular end? Every process has its own journey with a beginning, a middle and a winding down.


I am in process in many different ways in different layers in my life. Some ways feel like I’m trudging through mud trying to find clarity in a dismal opaque mess. It’s why I like doing simple tasks from beginning to end feeling the satisfaction of completion. The process keeps moving at its own speed.


I see my microcosm in the macrocosm of the world. I am in process within the system of life which is in process. The macrocosm is in the trudging-through stage and it’s hard. It’s a process. Step by step. Feel the pain. Feel the joy. Feel the fear. Feel the relief. Like the perpetual water wheel slowly moving around carrying our experiences, our joys and fears methodically driven by life. Emotions come and go, always changing. The water wheel turns.

When I find myself distraught with my differences, I’m usually comparing my insides to someone else’s outsides. It’s a losing game. I’ve forgotten I’m in process. Circumstances and situations change, some ever so painstakingly slow, and others change fast, too fast to keep up with. The point is it’s a process.


I take a breath and remind myself I’m okay just where I am now. Life is a process. One step in front of the other. It’s important to have support as we process. It’s important to practice self-care as we process. It’s important to practice the art of surrendering in process.


The Uses of Sorrow by Mary Oliver


Someone I loved once gave me

a box full of darkness.


It took me years to understand

that this, too, was a gift.


Participants’ Reflections:

  • Thank you. During the meditation, I thought about my mantra ‘trust the process.’ We all process challenges and opportunities that come our way. I believe we become better ancestors by doing what we can. I think that every generation has more opportunities to do that than the past generations. So we are leaving that for future generations. Trust the process.

  • I’ve been studying emotional urges lately. I was thinking about thought urges. During the meditation, I thought about how many of my thoughts have urges associated with them. If I am thinking this, I need to do that.

  • Thank you. That was absolutely beautiful. I love the last line “It’s important to practice the art of surrendering in process.” The other day (see Dec 21 blog) we were talking about not pitching a tent in fear, to keep moving on. What you are talking about today reminds me of complex systems, which are systems that have a birth, life, and death. These three phrases. That’s what makes the Universe go, these complex systems. Who we are is the process. During the meditation, I thought about that. And the Mary Oliver poem is talking about the same idea—we think of things as being good and bad. But there is good in bad and bad in good; they really are the same. It’s a nice bird’s-eye view of how to go through one’s life, but to practice that in real terms, to not attach to things, is a challenge. Thank you for the reminder.

  • Thank you. I love that word process. I liked the mantra. I was thinking surrender to the process. Everything is part of the process. It comforts me. I always think in black and white, and the gray is the process. It’s okay, but I didn’t know that for a long time. I don’t always trust the process, but I can surrender to the process.

  • Thank you. During the meditation, I focused on the water wheel and surrendering to the ride on the water wheel. It was fun. I loved going up and over and being on top and coming down. And then I was just at the bottom letting the water flow on me. Sometimes I felt like I was the water and sometimes I was in the water. I love being up high, like on a Ferris wheel and that moment of coming up and going over. Thank you. I surrendered to the ride on the water wheel.

  • Thank you for your reading and writing today. During the meditation, I immediately identified with the first words that you must be able to let go of the life you planned for. Then I attempted to surrender but I was so distracted. In the last few minutes, I was able to focus more in it and just began realizing how hard it is to let go and how hard it is to even know what that means. I intellectually know, but to translate that into experiencing it is something else. So I was experimenting and asking myself what would that be like? The focus I am dealing with in my life is the changes in my spouse’s physical health and deterioration and ways my life is not what I expected or wanted. So I imagined what it would be like to let go of that and to be present with that. For me, what came up was a lot of tears.

  • It’s helpful to feel the tears and move them out of the way so that you can be in the moment. (see Dec 22 blog)

  • I heard the line about comparing oneself to others. I do that. I never wanted material things; it’s more about my job and the pandemic and health issues stopping me. It’s easy for me to get negative about myself, that I can’t do things other people can do. I know the best thing is to try not to stay in it. I guess the remedy is to say the ten good things I like about myself. Also, it’s easy to want better health for my family member, or hearing of people’s children who are well. I’m happy for them, but I’ll have a twitch of pain inside, wishing we could be there too.

  • I had a lot of good Christmases as a child. During the meditation, I thought about how that was a process my family went through. My father would give us each money to buy gifts for each other. It was fun to go from store to store, look at things, and make a decision about a gift. It was full of anticipation. Christmas day was a happy day. My father seldom smiled and he sat in his pajamas in the morning. We didn’t have much money but we usually got the main thing we wanted. Seeing their faces receiving gifts gave me as much delight as getting a gift. And my mother baking five different cakes every year. It was a process and we fell into the rhythm of it. We can do that in life when we get into a rhythm, and be ready for that rhythm to change at any point, for some discordant stuff to happen. We can hang in there.

  • Thank you. You continue to set a bar in my heart higher as I am challenged to really take in and reflect on what you are offering. There’s a resonance that occurs. I am very aware there is my internal pace and there is an external pace, and sometimes I allow my internal pace to be influenced by the external pace to a fault. In my dining room, there is a double bass. I always wanted one because I grew up with many of them in our house. My father was the principal bass laureate for an orchestra. Right after he died, I found a beautiful pearlized bass which I now have. I grew up listening to my father play these low, slow, deep resonant sounds—they resonated through our souls as kids. I use the analogy of the stock market. The change of the stock market used to be slow sine waves. Now, they are sawtooth waves because, with technology, everything is happening so rapidly. What this group and your writings help me do is slow the mental chatter and emotional seesaw. Your words and the sharings help me go from the Flight of the Bumble Bee to the tone of a resonating double bass. That’s what you guys help me do internally regardless of what is happening externally. There is a saying I have “we must learn to be in the midst of activity and vibrantly alive in repose.”

  • That’s homeostasis which is maintaining the internal no matter the vicissitudes of the external.

  • Sometimes process is not the easiest thing to live through. My daughter’s process was 32 years long. It felt like it would never end. I didn’t want to be in it, I didn’t want her to be in it. Through the process, I wrote my book. I got to a point where I couldn’t write anymore because I didn’t know how to end it. I abandoned my book and put it away. I let life happen. She didn’t wind up surviving. It was months later as I was recovering that I realized this was her process. I had an ending to the book. It helped me tie up something that was happening in my life that I didn’t understand and didn’t want to happen. I felt the arc of a process that took decades. Processes can come in all different time zones.

  • Thank you for joining me today, for listening to my words. I hope you all have a gentle day and with awareness, surrender to your process. Be gentle with yourself.





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