I’ve experienced many transitions. So have you, even if you didn’t recognize it at the time. Having just come through another one, I’m gaining all kinds of new insights. The loss part kind of sucks. The in-between stage was dismantling with all the fears that brings. The new beginning part is starting to make sense of it all.
I remember the first major transition I went through, which culminated in ending my marriage of 30 years. I didn’t have any idea what was happening to me then. At the time I’d been married for 27 years and something was rattling my cage big time. Why couldn’t I just be content like I was before? “What’s wrong with me?” I asked my therapist, who responded with “Because you want to know.”
Insights Do Come
I remember my first insight into what was happening to me like it was yesterday. In the middle of mundane chores I had this thought, “Who knows what a caterpillar feels inside the cocoon?” I remember wondering if it felt as much pain as I did. If it was a confused as I was. If it felt as guilty as I did. Could it be possible that something so natural as a caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis caused it deep pain?
I learned later that a caterpillar is reduced to but a few cells inside the cocoon and the butterfly grows from those. Caterpillar soup. Well no wonder. How could completely losing your identity, your body, your life as you know it (even if you are merely a lowly caterpillar) not be painful? I felt like I’d lost all those things, too.
Relating to the caterpillar/cocoon metaphor was my first clue that I was transforming. I wanted to stop it. I wanted to go back to life as normal. It never would. During one of my coaching trainings I participated in a Future Self visualization. My Future Self gave me a name: Butterfly. Hmmm. There was a pattern forming. For a number of years I collected butterfly things like jewelry or clothing.
I so related to the metamorphosis. I was IN it.
I always pay close attention to things that come to me when I’m in turmoil. A book sent last week by a dear friend who has guided many stages of my spiritual journey arrived at my door. It’s called When the Heart Waits, by Sue Monk Kidd. This is the section in Chapter 1 that I just opened to this minute. I think it’s for you.
“And suddenly, at the height of my chaos, I began to entertain the overwhelming question confronting me. I had been circling it for a long while, but now, at last, I walked right into the center of it. It was a dangerous thing to do, for those who enter the heart of a sacred question and feel the searing heat it gives off are usually compelled to live on into the answer.
“Is it possible, I asked myself, that I’m being summoned from some deep and holy place within? Am I being asked to enter a new passage in the spiritual life–the journey from false self to true self? Am I being asked to dismantle old masks and patterns and unfold a deeper, more authentic self—the one God created me to be? Am I being compelled to disturb my inner universe in quest of the undiscovered being who clamors from within?”
Disturbing the Inner Universe
Yes. I was. My inner universe was being disturbed big time. When in the darkness of the cocoon my choice was to yield to the transformation or die. That’s it. That’s the choice. We need lots of resources around us when we’re in the dark place—resources that will bring light and understanding and comfort. To say it’s an uncomfortable place is an understatement.
I’ve come to appreciate the cocoon place—at least once I know I’m in one. We don’t always know. Pain and confusion are usually our first clues. I’ve come to recognize those cocooning places in others and it is my privilege to walk alongside and help facilitate the birth of a new beginning. It helps to have a friend. If you are in that painful and confused place call me. Let’s talk. There’s no need to be there alone. Who wants to do that? Call me.