Change is the most reliable constant in life.
During the last year or so, among other things, I moved to another continent, changed my relationship and made a drastic career change. After that, I somehow thought I would be done with changes for a while.
Turns out I was wrong.
Somewhat miraculously, the rate of change hasn’t substantially decreased for me. Some days, I am not even sure how this is possible as I am wondering if there are even any stones left unturned in the garden of my being. But like a small child, I’m still experiencing a growth and learning spurt every other week or so.
And maybe I shouldn’t even be surprised. Because, as LeeAnn Taylor beautifully puts it: “We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.”
This reminds me of my favorite drawing, which shows a butterfly driving a car who got pulled over by a policeman. The policeman stares rather incredulously at the butterfly’s driver’s license which has the picture of a caterpillar on it. The butterfly explains: “It’s an old picture.”
We are all in different stages in our transformation from caterpillar to butterfly, a cycle that repeats itself through our lives. Sometimes, we are the butterfly and the chrysalis at the same time. One of my friends coined the term “bi-salis” to describe the experience of simultaneously spreading one’s wings and falling apart.
While there isn’t a single destination in this transformational journey (a.k.a. “our lives”), we can certainly experience soul milestones. By that I mean the type of transformation that leaves us radically changed, and like we need to re-introduce ourselves to people who only knew our old self.
Soul milestones are the spiritual equivalent of home-makeover shows. They include a definite before and after. And just like a home makeover, they often include a time of construction and debris.
The first step in navigating them skillfully is to identify them in the first place. In my experience, the following indicators can help us identify them:
- Fear: The more afraid we are of the incumbent change, the more likely it is a milestone.
- Intensity: The more intense our external situation is (such as being in a bad relationship/career or losing a loved one), the more probable it is that we will end up changing at a core level.
- Changes to our identity: The less we can imagine who we would be on the other side of our current challenge, the more likely we have reached a threshold.
- Resistance: The more we resist the change, the more likely it is that we have reached a turning point in our lives. When a change threatens our very identity, we tend to resist proactive changes. Many times, people only change reactively, long after internal or external circumstances have become unbearable.
Once we have identified a soul milestone, we basically have two options: accept it and roll with the punches or pretend nothing is happening and fight like hell to keep the status quo. Many times, we will oscillate between the two.
I believe soul milestones are like removing a bandage—at some point, the bandage will have to come off so it might be better to just get it over with (as long as it is safe for us to do so). Before taking a leap of faith, there may be all sorts of signs. These signs inform us that our time as a caterpillar is up and that our wings are ready.
When we ignore these signs, they oftentimes increase in volume. For instance, one person mentioned to me that the abuse from her partner increased until she finally left the relationship and started her life alone (which included having a hugely positive impact on others).
Thankfully, many times our wake-up calls are less dramatic and our transition to our new path is easier.
Here are the five main reasons I have identified for why people change:
- It has become too painful; the situation is simply intolerable. This is a straightforward motivational factor. An intolerable situation can include an abusive partner or a toxic work environment. However, we have to be aware of how tolerable intolerable situations can feel like when we’re in the midst of it. When the fear of change is strong, people are often willing to endure a bad situation for a long time.
- The nagging feeling that there is something better than your current reality wins over. This motivational factor is subtler than #1 because one is not in acute pain. The situation is okay but there is nothing that inspires one to get out of bed in the morning. The downside of the subtlety of this situation is that it will likely continue for longer, since it is easier to suppress a nagging feeling than acute pain.
- The situation has a negative impact on loved ones, for instance, children, partners or family members. This is similar to #1 because it involves pain. The difference is people feel pain about the distress they are causing others. An example of this could be the worry they are causing others because of negative habits (such as not exercising, smoking or eating unhealthy). This can be an extremely motivational factor because they oftentimes find it harder to hurt their loved ones (especially if these are their children).
- An external event tips the scale, such as turning a certain age or becoming sick. Oftentimes, before this happens, motivational factor #2 has been in one’s life for a long time but it has been successfully ignored. The external event is the last “push” needed to take the necessary steps.
- The change is “made for one,” for example, being left by a partner or getting laid off from a job. Again, this is a straightforward motivational factor. When the change is “made for one,” there is no escaping it.
Often, the most powerful change happens when we are forced to our knees.
Whenever you find yourself in that situation, it is time to take heart. If you would like some guidance for navigating this soul transition, please read my article here. If your soul milestone includes an apparent dilemma between financial security and following your heart, you might also find this article helpful.
This is the dark night of the soul—and the dawn is coming.
If you would like more support on your path towards creating the life you want, please get access to my interview including a free energy healing here.
Author: Bere Blissenbach
Editor: Travis May
Image: Flickr/Colby Stopa