There is a passage on page 89 of the Richard Rohr book The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See:
But did anyone ever tell you that Jesus’ first message in the Gospels, which is usually translated as “convert,” “repent,” or “reform” (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:15) is the Greek word metanoia, which quite literally means “change your mind”? Jesus first word to us was was “change!” — and mind change at that! What we have translated as “repent” is not a moralistic or churchy word at all; it is a clear strategy for enlightenment for the world. Once you accept ongoing change as a central program for yourself, you tend to continue growing throughout all of your life.
Impermanence, or change, is a teaching of Buddhism, of physics, and of everyday observation. But such a freaky reality to ponder. When I look back over old photographs, I see the bright-eyed little girl who was filled with curiosity and wonder; the crusading adolescent who wanted to right every injustice and tilt the globe back to sanity; the college student who absorbed so much with so little understanding at the time, and who wanted to secure a place in the world, but was fearful of her chances; the adult who entered relationships, made mistakes, and was hurt badly; the clash of awareness when sorting out the female / male dichotomy and that my female body did not completely match my mostly-masculine soul, and the joys and tribulations of transitioning from female to male; and finally, the vulnerable man in his early 50’s who met the woman he thought was the great love of his life, the family he had dreamed of, who then sacrificed everything to marry her and move overseas, only to discover that this woman was a psychopath who decimated all he held precious.
When I have suffered, it has seemed that time and the totality of the universe refused to budge. How odd! In happy times, I wanted to find a boulder, pin everything down, and make time stand still. As many mystics have written — the past is gone, the future will never arrive, and all we really have is the Ever-Present Now. Life seems to be like stumbling upon the greatest novel written, a page-turner that holds you in its grasp — but the last chapter is missing! You’ve grown to love or hate the main characters. You’ve followed their ups and downs. Each previous chapter has left you on a cliff-hanger so that you can’t wait to see what comes next. Will it be dreadful, or triumphant? But the final ending remains a mystery!
When I was young, I was excruciatingly shy. I believed this was an immutable characteristic, and I was doomed to a life of introverted loneliness. Once I learned about Buddhism, absorbed the notion that the “I” or the “self” is illusory, and that impermanence is the name of the game, it dawned on me that my “shyness” was just as subject to the laws of change as everything else, I no longer had to carry that mantel. No grand miracles occurred, but I let go of the label, and tried on new behaviors. In that way, change is not frightful, but liberating!
In the aftermath of a “close encounter” with a psychopath, one is left floundering, and it feels as if the pain will never cease. You feel like a limbless person on a marathon for survival. Everything you thought you understood about people, life, and the way the world works is upended. Now is the time to tread slowly, be patient with yourself, learn boundaries and exercise caution, assess what went wrong and digest new-found wisdom, which means embracing the hope and liberation of change.