‘Everything is temporary’

In the first of our ‘Words that are in me’ series, Godelieve van Eekelen describes how a zen Buddhist phrase gave her hope

Illustration drawing textile design print painting: ransience: butterflies on leaf pattern

Transience. Laura Eades 2014

‘Everything is temporary’

I hope this phrase doesn’t make you feel sad, as there is a downside to everything being temporary: not being able to preserve the things you love indefinitely.

But these words brightened up my life completely. This insight was brought to me in a zen Buddhism class in a time where my life was filled with sadness.

Suffering is temporary

What I took from it is that it’s OK to feel grief, I can allow myself to cry, because the hurt isn’t there to stay. I must tell you I’m very controlling when it comes to heavy emotions, I don’t let myself go easily. But I’m not superwoman, I need my tearful moments as well. As soon as you realize these moments are only temporary, no matter how hurt you feel, it’s so much easier to accept these moments. At the time, it made me feel so much lighter!

Calamity is temporary

There are other, less painful, examples as well. We all recognize the feeling of wanting to make ourselves invisible when making a huge mistake at work… When you do, remind yourself that this situation is only temporary. Your boss will not be angry the rest of the year. You need to accept it and go through whatever is necessary (a few conversations you want to miss out on most likely), but now that you know this is a temporary situation, doesn’t that feel easier? Focus on the end of the day, maybe the end of the week if necessary as by than this will all be forgotten!

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About the author

Godelieve van Eekelen is a 37-year-old Dutch mother-of-one living in Berlin. Formerly an Amsterdam HR specialist, she emigrated two years ago and is in the process of developing a job which fits her life. Optimistic, impatient, pragmatic, empathic, analytical.

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This series is absolutely open to you. If you have words that have found their way into your inner lexicon, send them to me by email and I’ll illustrate them. Or just click on the comment thread using the pale grey dot with a plus sign under this post to add your thoughts there.

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