"Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift." ~ Mary Oliver
"Time is the fire in which we burn." ~ Gene Roddenberry
Everyone likes to talk about the change, about becoming better, how we want to be better, do better, have better. transformation trending. We all want better in one way or another, and for those of us that don’t want to be better for betterments sake, well at least we want to be better in some area of our lives so we can have the opportunity to have better stuff. I’m not unique, I want to be better too, better than they said I could be, better than I was yesterday, just. better. They’re selling change, transformation toolkits, new lives on back order, and we’re buying. They promise the change we’re craving, they offer us better on a silver platter, they have the answers, we have the needs, they’ve got us listening, hook line and sinker. bought.
Everyone likes to tell you about the better, as if it’s just something you happen upon one day. You’re going about your business and then you stumble upon something on the sidewalk, a ladder labeled “better” and a sign that reads “change this way” with an arrow pointing upwards. “Ummm yes please, count me in.” Simple. They like to talk about it like it occurred mindlessly, without effort or intent, and maybe sometimes it feels like that, when you glaze over the happening. Sometimes you forget what it was like, all those tiny and terrifying moments, the ones that brought you here, to change.
I don’t think we’ll ever really be done changing, at least, I doubt I will, but it’s also never been something I just stumbled across. I will admit, however, at times I’ve spoken as if I had. In these moments I neglected to give my transformation proper weight, avoiding the depth of feeling required to offer it due diligence. adequate respect. When somebody asks me how it happened, how I changed, how I got here, if I’m to be honest, then, I’m forced to remember, to sit in the moments and recall the often painful instants that transformed me. The phases of my life. beautiful. exhausting. heartbreaking. plentiful.
"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light." ~ Plato
They love to tell you of the change, metamorphosis. The transformation of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. How often do they reference this? They love to tell you of the freedom, the end result. Change. They don’t tell you of the deterioration, the unbecoming before you may become. They don’t tell you of the process. Real. Raw. Unfiltered. When a caterpillar goes into its cocoon to metamorphose, before emerging as a butterfly, it goes through a seemingly impossible transmogrify. The caterpillar rests upside down on a branch or some other slender structure and spins itself into a silk cocoon. Once inside this silken construct, the caterpillar literally digests itself, before its cells rebuild into a new transfiguration. Digested, self destructed into ooze. It hardly sounds comfortable. They love to tell you of the change, but what about the process? What does it feel like to rip yourself apart, piece by piece, so that you may become new? better.
"Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." ~ Harriet Tubman
I have an unending curiosity, a desire to know. I ask myself who I am and what I stand for. Reflecting on the choices I’ve made and the people I’ve been, and the person I want to become. I’ve been thinking a lot about change, the changes I’ve made so far in my life, how they happened, what sparked them, the cascading of events, almost inseparable. It’s tempting to say that I don’t know how it happened, that it just did. The truth is it’s almost true, because it’s so much that the weight of it is hard to bear, and even more challenging to explain. Lightning, flashing across the blackened sky. I remember the deplorable rungs along the seemingly never ending ladder, half broken, slipping and catching myself along the way, climbing towards the cloud cover. Inching closer.
Taking steps that seemed to have nothing in common, steps that spanned across years and what felt like lifetimes, eons of change. Grasping at life, hanging on, breathless. Lives I barely remembered living, yet, I do remember. It was me, waking up each morning living life the best I was able. The only way I knew how. It was always me, and now, I’m here. Changing again. Always. Asking myself with my unending curiosity, who am I, and what do I stand for? They love to tell you about the change and the freedom that comes with it, but they never tell you about the pain, aching for things you prayed to be free of. addictions.
"People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious." ~ Carl Jung, Psychology and Alchemy
We get comfortable in our patterns of existence, our habits, no matter how unhealthy. We want free of them until we are and then we feel like something’s missing. chaos. They don’t tell you of the withdrawals. Spiders crawling beneath my skin. Picking. Scabs that don’t heal. Blistering wounds. Past infections, the ones I got so used to that I forgot they needed tending. Healing is painful, it requires an allowing. preparing. Offering the body what it needs to do what it does, accepting that nature take the lead. Less doing and more flow, the opposite of what we’ve been conditioned to do. Solve, fix, never give up. Allowing looks like forfeit to those that pledged they’d never surrender. Sometimes, this feels like failure, to me. Surrender, a practice. spiritual. Oriented to a higher power, we think our rules matter. Narrow minded, we’re missing the big picture. Our rules don’t even begin to apply. Here. They love to tell you about the change, they never tell you about the fire.
"It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake." ~ Frederick Douglass
The fire warms me. He undresses me before the altar of purification, where I confess my indiscretions. I am not judged. This is not what the ritual is for. My confession is my willingness to be absolved. This fire, he does not welcome the unwilling. incineration. He burns me of my flesh, my earthly addictions, cravings for acceptance, appeasement, deceptive illusions, he takes from me my fears. He trades with me these offerings. When I step into the fire of the unknown I am not frightened, he has taken fear from me, for fear is not real, it is merely something I made up in my mind. I walk into the fire to burn away who I was, to be free, so that I may become who I was meant to be. Fire for fear. Alchemy. This fire, he transforms me.
Like a phoenix rising from the ash, I am no longer who I once was. This fire, he welcomes me to freedom. It isn’t until we’re asked to willingly go through the fire, to stand on our own, responsible, with no one to blame, that we become. Individuals. Free. It’s here that we’re left with possibility, a sea of all our overwhelming choices. Going through the fire we are reminded to accept and bear the weight of responsibility for these choices and the actions we take towards them. We are reminded that what we do and who we are matters, we are reminded of our virtue.
"You can change your world by changing your words... Remember, death and life are in the power of the tongue." ~ Joel Osteen
Tell me. I have an unending curiosity and a desire to know. What do you offer the fire as he cleanses you? Tell me of your freedom. What does she taste like?
Do you trust me? Take my hand, let's step into the fire.