In the Orchard (1912) by Franz Dvorak.
In the Orchard (1912) by Franz Dvorak.

“If you have these two things –

the willingness to change,

and the acceptance of everything as it comes,

you will have all you need to work with.”

–Charlotte Selver (1901 – 2003), grand dame of ‘experience through the senses’

The value of flexibility and adaptability are highly underrated in our culture.

We’re taught to stick with it, push on towards our goal, persevere no matter what, tough it out, beat the odds.

While resilience and perseverance are golden traits, rigidity and inflexibility are as unnatural as they are unwise.

This is particularly important in times of intense change and transformation, otherwise known as now.

Life is dynamic, not static, so the preferred way of our conditioned “mini-me” ego isn’t always the best way (I know, it’s shocking!). Our attempts to insist otherwise cause us a lot of optional stress and distress along the way, as I (and I’d guess some of you) know all too well.

There is another, wiser, and dare I say better way (it takes practice, but we can do that!).

El Rio de Luz (The River of Light, 1887), by Frederic Edwin Church. Photo courtesy of WikiCommons.
El Rio de Luz (The River of Light, 1887), by Frederic Edwin Church. Photo courtesy of WikiCommons.

If we’re focused on a vision or intention — or better yet, those soul-stirring heart yearnings; and if we are flexible and adaptable along the way, approaching it all as a series of creative experiments in one grand Creative Experiment (a.k.a. Life), then we get a payoff — a greater richness of surprises and unexpected experiences along the way.

Charlotte Selver’s work is said to have focused very much on two things:

One, the present moment, or paying attention — an increasingly endangered yet vital quality in our Age of Distraction; and two, ‘experiencing through the senses’, or what I’ve experienced and called ‘sensory (or sensual) presence’.

In order to be truly present, watching, listening, responding, we have to loosen our white-knuckled grip on our agendas and expectations (which may not really be our own, anyway).

It also helps to take the earbuds out and lift our eyes from the wee screens we’ve been staring at, too. Trust me, you’ll survive it.

The Titan's Goblet (1833) by Thomas Cole.
The Titan’s Goblet (1833) by Thomas Cole.

When we do this, we open to the rich potentials of uncertainty and following the clues offered up in the present. We’re more able to experience inspiration and Life, in abundance.

If we have the willingness to change and accept things as they come, Selver reminded us, along with paying attention to the clues and ‘intel’ available in the present, we have everything we need.

Quite an experiment, wouldn’t you say? That’s the ‘shamanic’ life, and the Hero and Heroine’s Journey for you.

How do you feel about change, uncertainty, and your ability to be present and paying attention with all of your senses?

For more inspiration for navigating change, transformation, uncertainty, and creative adventure, you’ll find treasure in my Ivy Sea Wake-Up Juice archives. Check ’em out.

Big Love,