The pathways we take are not always going to be pleasant ones.
Any vulnerable road that leaves us with our insides quaking is a necessary means to transformation. The butterfly emerging from his cocoon wriggles and squirms before the colorful wings are displayed in the most adorning formation.
A fresh chick that pecks its way out of the egg is all wet and mangled from the experience of being trapped in the shell for months on end. Foals miraculously and slowly find their way into the world from their mothers’ womb, barely able to walk for days. The paintings of great artists begin with a blank canvas and morph from squiggly lines and splashed colors into a symmetry of meaning. Books start from a single sentence, and eventually find their way into libraries and on the shelves of every neighborhood bookstore, knowing that it took the author years to give their voices a chance. Children go through tough phases from babies to teens only to scream and rebel when life doesn’t go their way. Been there done that.
There is no prettiness tied up in transformation. It has become the buzz word of the millennium and rightly so, as the reasons for it are that we have been a weary world, a world where it feels as though lack of authenticity is no match for kindness and love. A world where if we do not shift and change and move forward in a selfless manner, we will be put in our places by Mother Earth. She has been so patient and kind and willing to go the distance with her heart and love. We, in turn, continue to have the opportunity to meet her at every moment, a cornerstone of abundance and momentary influences.
The darkest times are the crucial times, the days where our utmost of shadowy selves beg and scream to understand what is happening—and why. The obstacles and challenges are simply the beginning. I have experienced, over the years, when coming up against a series of stumbling blocks, wracking my brain as to why it is all happening, that the rainbow seems to appear when I let go and surrender to the ugly stuff. I have often fought it and cursed it and dismissed it, but it was that little gremlin appearing out of nowhere telling me that I needed to buck up, that all the messy things were simply part of the transformation process. Sometimes it felt like there was no end in sight. My patience wore thin.
It didn’t only apply to work matters or relationship matters, but all things worthy of my attention and heart, yet every year there was always more and more coming at me from all angles.
Transformation does not usually happen when the world is watching.
It happens when we make the choice to change and go from there, usually out of sight and so subtle that it might take us by surprise when the results are astounding. It can take years. Old souls have a slight edge in that they understand and mimic their elders, yet the lifetimes to alter patterns of behavior can be so painful. One minute, we think we have all the answers, and the next minute, life throws us a curve ball. It’s all part of the process, and being extremely uncomfortable is why it will work.
Here’s a random metaphor: Most major highway construction chaos takes place very late at night or in the wee hours of the morning when traffic is not at its peak. We don’t see the intricate parts of what the crews are doing to help the flow of the city during those times. All we see are pylons scattered about, detours, unfinished dusty parts, stranded equipment by the side of the road, and cars being squeezed and furrowed into new avenues to move ahead. Then we get frustrated as to why it’s not moving at a faster pace. We would prefer to accept and appreciate the finished result when we are able to travel down uncrowded and less congested paths without any real work being done before our eyes. Our transforming lives are so very similar.
The messy parts usually happen in the dark when no one is paying much attention, nor do we care enough to understand and be aware of it. We just want the results of a clear and flowing path.
I think back to Robert Downey Jr. and the amazing changes he made over the course of his adult life. From a young, entitled, drug-addicted misfit, albeit brilliant actor, he threw it all away in favor of his desires and ugly imperfections. When he woke up, he had to go away for years, out of the public eye, change his behavior, and return to the limelight in a way that is still amazing us as an audience. His gifts are now shining greater than ever, and just like the midnight roadway construction, we forgot about him for years—until he returned with more humble and selfless work than ever. I always think about him as an example for some reason, due to his complete transformation that was probably one of the messiest on record. I am sure there are millions of others who we know and admire undergoing a metamorphosis of some kind and in ways that we don’t see.
The timing of it all is so perfect that it is almost imperfect. We cannot expect changes to knock our socks off overnight. Years maybe, but this is the beauty of transforming into a new way of being and seeing and living. It is almost like we are now called to the task by our greatest gift, Mother Earth and beyond, to help us transcend into persons of service.
We have to practice loving ourselves first, and then spreading the love to others, for the chance of healing and opening up more realness in the world. It is an authentic concept of humanity, and embracing the fact that we may not be so graceful through the process will help open new doors to the struggle that happens behind the scenes. I feel that only we have the power to eliminate potential pitfalls and roadblocks that can lead to a more high-minded illumination. Despite the path that may become jumbled and confusing, a transformation is healing, challenging, necessary, and oh so worth it.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons
Photo: Jan Salemo