What’s the scariest movie you have ever seen? And I don't mean some horror flick that you forget about as soon as it ended, but something so scary that you remember it for a long time because the very concept is unnerving. One such movie is “I am Legend” with Will Smith. In it, humankind is essentially wiped out by a virus; only one man is not affected and remains the lone “normal” human. The scariest part is not the inhuman creatures he fights (you can see this in a million other flicks) but seeing how a vibrant city like New York can become so desolate in such a short time.
The movie does a great job of showing how nature quickly took over such a gigantic place after all human life is gone from it and there is nobody left to care for it. Where once there were voices and laughter, now silent vines are growing. The loneliness and desolation of the place, as experienced by the sole survivor, is hauntingly gripping.
All this is a wonderful visual metaphor for something that happens to all of us in our daily inner lives--and we can learn much from this. It deals with changing as a person. As I explain in The Steps of Essence, there are several types of change in our lives, some is positive and evolves you as a person, while other change "de-evolves" (specifically, it de-evolves the support you once put behind something; you yourself can only evolve as a person). This movie here is an example of change that de-evolves a structure, a great and vibrant city.
Humans also experience such de-evolving change internally, and it often feels devastatingly hurtful and chaotic -- think about when a loved one suddenly leaves us and we are left without that person in our lives. But in most cases, such a change is very slow and imperceptive: a relationship slowly erodes; we don’t like our once-great jobs any longer; we want to move to a different place, etc. In essence, nobody (you) is there to care for this thing anymore and its support slowly erodes away, just like the great city in the above example.
That is the kind of change we must become more aware of and deal with more actively, so that it may serve as a positive function and not feel so overwhelming.
One of the easiest ways to do so is to have a periodic life review that checks if you are still on track or have grown into a different direction. If you still feel strongly about these issues (a relationship, your career), then get back up and do something about it. If not, take actions to make a change.
There are more subtle ways that help you detect if it is time for change in your life, but these are out of scope of this post and you can find them in the sixth and final Step of Essence.
For today, think about where in your life it is time for change? Or, which areas you have neglected and need to cultivate again?
( Based on The Steps of Essence )