This, too, shall pass.

This simple, yet powerful phrase is often used to provide comfort in times of suffering. Light in times of darkness. Freedom in times of overwhelming pain. And yet, these words are more than merely a consolation, they are also a challenge. An appeal. A call to acknowledge our lives for the dynamic, impermanent, evolving gifts that they are.

Because the truth is, in order to accept that pain is transient, we must accept that joy is, also. That every circumstance (good or bad) is in a state of perpetual motion– always on its way to becoming something else. That just as each of nature’s four seasons eventually fade away to give rise to the next, so, too, do the seasons our lives. “The earth is precious,” Eckhart Tolle wrote, “and at the same time insignificant.”

So then if nothing— not even that which is perfect and beautiful— can last forever, where does this leave us? With an invitation, I believe, to appreciate the good while it lasts. To acknowledge that the challenges are fleeting. To remember, for better or worse, that this moment is not all moments. To accept that these never-ending transformations are, in fact, our own personal agents of growth.

Because real peace isn’t found in resisting the darkness. Nor is it found in our fight to hold onto the light. It lives, instead, in our acceptance of joy’s rhythmic rising and setting within us. In our understanding of contentment’s cyclical cresting and crashing upon our shores. And in our willingness to accept that the only thing about our existence we can count on to stay the same is the unrelenting push and pull of change, itself.