The other day, we were examining the olive tree in our front yard, trying to decide on how to trim it.
“Look,” Devi pointed.
There was a tiny cocoon latched onto a thin branch. All plans of pruning were put on hold.
Day after day we visited the cocoon.
From the outside nothing seemed to be happening. But, inside…the mystery of transformation was underway. And one day…the cocoon was open, empty. The transformation complete.
All that was left was a hint of goo.
Before a caterpillar can become a butterfly, it must become goo.
Within the cocoon, the caterpillar dissolves into a liquid that is rich with nutrients and potential. It’s super goo.
All transformations include a gooey phase.
Whether the transformation is individual or collective, goo is part of it. Whether you’re seeking transformation or it’s seeking you—-it’s important to get comfortable with the goo.
Because, you can’t skip the goo.
There’s no skipping steps on the transforming journey. Every phase of the process has a purpose that must be completed before you can move on.
You can’t leap from newbie to expert in a single bound.
You can’t catapult yourself from where you are to where you think you want to be.
There’s a developmental sequence that you must follow. It’s an organic process that moves according to developmental time.
What’s developmental time?
Developmental time proceeds at the pace of integration.
This cadence contrasts sharply with the pace of contemporary life. We live in a nanosecond culture where most of us are what author Sue Monk Kidd calls “quick-aholics:” we’re addicted to the instant response.
This speed addiction is ill-suited to the goo-ification process, because the tempo of your goo-ification can’t be rushed. Pushing and forcing actually slows down the process of goo-ification.
Rushing doesn’t hasten integration.
How can you tell if you’re in the goo?
You know you’re into the goo when an old form has completely dissolved—-but the new form has not yet emerged.
Let’s make this practical. Consider your life. Specifically an area in your life where the old “form” is dissolving away. It may be that your business is turning into goo or your relationship or your sense of purpose…
Here are some common areas of life where people experience goo-ification (check all that apply to you at this time):
- Identity: I can’t go on being the person I have been, but I’m not sure who I’m becoming.
- Work: My work is changing, but I’m not sure into what? Is it dying or being reborn? I can’t tell.
- Role: My old role and my old skills no longer work. But, I’m not sure what I need to do next or how to continue?
- Relationship: My old ways of relating no longer make sense. But how can I be in this relationship when I don’t even know what it is anymore?
- Motivation: The needs and values that used to drive me don’t anymore. I’m not sure what matters or how to find a sense of passion and purpose.
- Beliefs: I’ve outgrown my former beliefs. I’m not sure what I believe. I can’t go back, but I’m not sure how to go forward.
Only by letting go of the old forms can you make space for something new to be born. In spiritual literature, goo-ification is called the dark night of the soul.
When you’re navigating through goo, your old ways of staying on track no longer work.
It’s like you’re adrift in an inner sea without stars overhead to guide you. All you can do is let go.
It’s time to become a mystic.
Goo is the natural habitat of the mystic.
You’re being called to be a mystic in the area of your life that’s undergoing goo-ification. You’re being called to trust the darkness and to allow your old self to dissolve into formless goo.
It doesn’t matter whether you used to believe I-am-a-success or I-am-a-failure. Whatever form your identity used to take—it’s over.
You’ve outgrown the beliefs, attitudes, images, structures, and goals that defined you in the past. The vision that inspired you no longer works.
The self that you identified with has become outmoded.
Your practice now is to consent to goo-ification. To assent and align with the dissolving process without knowing how you will be re-formed.
To hold yourself together at this time is to fight against your destiny. The more you try to hold on, make sense, or manage this process, the more chaotic it becomes. This is the time of profound letting go.
The way forward comes through letting go and surrender.
As you consent to goo-ification, you shed layer upon layer of thoughts and beliefs. These layers have insulated you and comforted you.
Now is the time to discard all coverings. It’s time for stillness—not action.
As your old identity dissolves, the stillness deepens.
When you rest completely in the goo—without clinging to the past or straining towards the future —something that you can’t plan for happens.
Within the stillness, the creative impulse of your soul stirs.
Just as a butterfly emerges from the goo, your renewed life arises from stillness.
But, now freed from out-moded identity structures, it breaks forth with fresh energy and renewed purpose. You can’t predict how or when this will happen.
But, there are things you can do.
You can notice the tendencies to cling and control…and release them.
You can sense the fear and uncertainty…and allow them.
But, most of all you can assent to and align with the deep process that is carrying and caring for you. Here’s the practice in three words: love the goo.
So, where are you experiencing goo-ification?
Love & Shanti
More brilliance from Eric:
Author: Eric Klein
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: original illustration via the author