16. The Art of Adaptability

Good morning and welcome to your sixteenth meditation. On a scale of one to ten, how adaptable do you believe yourself to be? Over the past year, around the globe, we have all been forced to adapt, in one way or another, to a new reality. For the more retiring among us, perhaps these changes have been small. But many of us have been confronted with drastic alterations, having to adjust to a life absent the careers to which we had spent years dedicating our energies, absent the means to support ourselves and our loved ones, and, worst of all, absent those loved ones themselves. How can one go on in the face of such overwhelming loss? The answer, simply put, is that one must adapt. Having invested so much in your old reality, having cherished it and the people who populated it, it can seem impossible to accept its replacement by a new one. But however painful the loss you have experienced may be, you must welcome your new reality and embrace it. Remember that to welcome a new reality does not mean that you forget or reject the old one. The loss of what you once had will comprise an important element of your new life. And it is just as crucial to your continued health that you welcome your memories of your past into whatever new configuration of life you make for yourself as it is that you welcome that which is novel. Notice that the ideas of welcoming, embracing, and making your new reality are all active formulations, which put you in the driver’s seat. As much as none of us would choose to lose our jobs or our loved ones, what we do when confronted with that misfortune is up to us. And the more we think about misfortunes as happening to us, the more we disempower ourselves and rob ourselves of the agency required to heal. Beginning with our birth, the world loves to throw things at us that we didn’t choose and over which we have no control. What we can control is how we mould whatever raw material is handed us into our own reality. This process of moulding is adaptability itself, and it is absolutely essential in a world that, as we’ve all seen, can be highly unpredictable.

You may ask, “if the world is so changeable, and if adaptability is so important, why set down roots at all? Why dedicate oneself to a career that may suddenly become irrelevant? Why love someone who will inevitably die?” But to ask this question is to miss the point. True adaptability is to throw oneself completely into whatever situation presents itself and to make whatever one can of it. It is not to consider what will happen when this moment is gone, but to be fully inside each moment as it arises, embracing it, listening to it, loving it, and working with it. So, whatever you’re your current circumstances may be, ask yourself: “How can I embrace this moment? What can I make of it?” Ask this of yourself as often as you can and you will be well on your way to mastering the art of adaptability. Keep it up. You’re doing great. Have a wonderful day.

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