What is the Thread of Your Life?

Elul Day 2

There is in us an instinct for newness, for renewal, for liberation of creative power. We seek to awaken in ourselves a force which really changes our lives from within. And yet, the same instinct tells us that this change is a recovery of that which is deepest, most original, most personal in ourselves.    –Thomas Merton

Today I attended a meeting of the California Courage Facilitators: this quote from Thomas Merton, and the following poem from William Stafford, served as the focus of our morning discussion.

The Way It Is

There is a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn't change.
People wonder about what things you are 
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.

While you hold it you cannot get lost. 
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
Or die; and you suffer and grow old.

Nothing you do can stop times unfolding. 
But you don't ever let go of the thread.

–William Stafford

We talked about what words, lines or phrases in this poem were particularly meaningful in our lives right now, especially with regard to themes of change and continuity.  

I thought about the thread that connects me from one moment to the next, connects each experience and encounter, each day, each person, and so on. This poem reminded me to trust the thread of connection that exists beyond what I can see or tangibly wrap my arms around. Holding the balance between stability and newness, foundation and transcendence, being grounded while flying at the same time. There is a fundamental aloneness in change, while at the same time I hold in my heart the people who keep me grounded. 

This discussion was immensely generative, and my own questions began to bubble up as well:

What is the thread of your life?  What is the glue that holds the paradox of continuity and change?  Is it faith? Love? Something else?

What parts of us are changing and what is constant? What part of ourselves, the aspect that Stafford called the "deepest, most original, most personal," do we keep returning to for restoration and renewal? 

What in our essence keeps us grounded as we are unfolding, leaving and arriving, holding close and letting go?

Finally, how do we support one another in this ongoing process of renewal?