• Maggie Shayne

Why is Change Often Violent?



Today, as I sit in my writing space with a view of the western sky, I see storm clouds roiling overhead at "traffic speeds," (according to my local meteorologist.) There is crashing thunder and flashing lightning and we might see gale force winds. This is the violent weather I associate with the changing seasons. Winter never goes down without a fight, does she? She's like an elder queen whose heiress, Princess Spring, eagerly awaits her abdication.


You will get my crown, my beloved child, when you pry it from my cold, dead, fingers.

–Lady Winter


With predictable regularity, the transition to spring brings wild fluctuations. March must come in like a lion to go out like a lamb and vice versa. We had 70 degrees yesterday. Today we have intense storms moving through, and behind them, snow and freezing temperatures.


Is nature truly fighting change?

Nature IS change, so that's not really a logical assumption. Nor is it logical to ascribe human emotions and motivations to a season. Seasons don't think. Seasons simple ARE. They just BE, despite my fondness for anthropomorphism.


So what is going on with the storms of change? If we take a look at nature, we always find answers we can apply in other stormy changes raging through our world at this time.


The simple answer is, as always, a vibrational one. The old season, just by virtue of existing, creates within all life a yearning for its opposite. Winter makes everything alive long for spring. And it's the desire for spring gives birth to spring. The desire actually becomes the new season. She is visualized as youthful maiden, full of life, promise, pure potential.


Now these two vibrations are in opposition. They're discordant, they don't go together. Winter is old and cold and withdrawn. It's energy is slower and denser and vibrates with death and repose and rest and reflection. It is the energy of endings. Spring is fresh and new and so full of ambition it can barely sit still. It's eager to Go! Grow! Flow! It's warm and expanding, lighter and thinner. It is the energy of beginnings.


They're like opposite sides of a magnet. And just like a magnet, they repel each other. Pushing against anything is always a violent act, because it creates an equal and opposite push back. Two opposing forces pushing against each other is pretty much the definition of violence, is it not?



Spring's warm air meets Winter's cold, and the clash of energies result in wind and rain, thunder and lightning. These clashes spawn twisters.


The storms of our transition periods are scary, and even dangerous times. But they don't last. They can't last. They themselves are caused by change. And change is ongoing. Eventually winter fades away and spring, the maiden, eagerly bursts forth to take her place. New life is born and everything grows. Things exist that didn't exist before. Things that did exist before, expand. Every evergreen branch will be tipped in baby-green new growth, and the softest of buds emerge from the trees. Nests are built and eggs laid and a new generation steps forward.


The parts that come after the big, scary changes are the best of times. They are spring, and summer, and glorious autumn. They are planting and growing and harvesting. They are the times we look forward to all winter long. And by the time they end, we're ready for winter's repose. And by the time it ends, we're busting at the seams to start growing again. And on and on it goes.


Now apply this thinking outward

I think all humans are experiencing a historically stormy transition period as newer, more evolved levels of understanding and connection bump up against old ideas and beliefs that are no longer up to speed with who we have become. So we have this line of storm fronts where the new meets the old. But the storms are temporary, because the old must inevitably give way to the new. It is impossible to resist this change any more than it would be possible for winter to resist the arrival of spring. The best she can do is put it off for a bit.


This is not an insult to the old ways of thinking and being and knowing, not at all. The old way was once a new way itself. Just as I was once a great granddaughter and am now a great grandmother. The old way itself replaced an even older way. It fit its time. But this is a new time, and every day is newer time. Life must always evolve forward.


A day or two of snow does not prevent spring from emerging

Acts of hate and violence cannot prevent love from expanding


How to roll with it, baby

Positive change, also known as expansion or evolution or growth, is inevitable. Standing against it would be like standing in the path of a flash flood with stop-sign hands. Be like a willow instead. Let your roots burrow deeply enough that you're not in any danger of being swept away. You can stay where you are if you want. Let your limbs be soft, so they can bend and flow with the current around you. Rigid limbs get snapped off. Let your trunk flow with the sap of love, up and down and outward and in again.


There are myriad positive changess unfolding in our world as we slowly emerge from the shadow of the pandemic. It is easy to find something to get excited about, and when we're excited about something new, we are looking forward, and moving with the current rather than trying to paddle against it.


Any time things in the outside world are stressful and upsetting, I feel like pulling our gaze inward is the answer. Close the curtains. Turn off the TV and internet, and really focus deep into the here and now. The space around us. The task of the moment. The feeling of our body. The taste of our food. The smell of our incense. The warmth of the sun. The breeze in our hair. The song of a nearby bird. The spring peepers in the evening.


What we pay attention to is everything. And all our power is in this very moment. And then in this one. And now in this one.


Be present. Be flexible. Root deeply. Drink it all in. Life is such an adventure.







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