Congratulations, you’ve made it to Friday Travellers!!
Fridays used to be a different kind of day, am I right? You had survived an ordeal, otherwise known as your working life or school, and now reached the promised land of the weekend. Oh, weekends. Sweet freedom.
And now we find ourselves in a would be 24/7 promised land situation that feels a lot like sitting in a perpetual waiting room at a doctor’s office. A doctor who’s running so far behind, you’re no longer sure you even have an appointment.
What are we waiting for? What are you waiting for? If you are in fact still waiting…
I keep reading comments on social media about this not being a time to be super productive, that you can lay down and cry instead. You can sit or sleep or do nothing and feel all your feelings. I think you can do both, I think we have the feelings AND move through this. Emotions by nature are pretty intermittent. As I’ve written before, emotions are guests in the house of our souls. THYE ARE NOT YOU. Hear them out, acknowledge them, thank them, but don’t let them take up permanent residence.
Paralysis isn’t a state where anything good can happen. Not because you might be wasting time, but because this is a growth experience. Anything this unpleasant, this unknown, is a growth experience. I’m pretty certain of it and no doubt the last year of my life makes it easier to see that…
Which brings me to the conversation I keep hearing that I find most interesting: Change. Is this experience going to change us, as a society, as individuals, as a species, are we going to change?? Has it opened our eyes to all the things we’ve taken for granted, not just toilet paper, but our freedom to move about the cabin, otherwise known as global travel, our connectedness, our elders, our way of life, our health, our jobs, our safety…the list goes on and on.
Has it opened our eyes to the needs of this planet and all of it’s inhabitants or our own needs? Will there be a lasting revolution created by this chaos?
My mother once told me that people remain exactly as their parents raised them to be. She said no one can change that. We are the same our entire lives. I wonder how many people believe something like that…I disagree 100%. Most emphatically.
Believing something like that negates the very nature of life. Isn’t life about growth and growth is change. It’s the finest form of change. Because regression is also a state of change, changing back, going backwards, returning to the place you were before.
Metamorphosis. One of my favorite words. The way it sounds and looks in print. Somehow the slow transformation that occurs within a cocoon feels like the most honest way to describe how change really works. Slowly. Change doesn’t happen over night. In fact, I think it’s unobservable to most at the time it’s happening. Even the person who’s putting in the effort can’t see how far they’ve traveled until they step back from their life and honestly observe the journey.
Perhaps because we are inside ourselves. Like a cocoon.
There are different reasons people can decide to pursue change, but I tend believe ultimately we do it for ourselves. People don’t change for other people. I know we all want to believe at times that last statement isn’t true, but it is. And I’m not talking about disingenuous changes, I’m talking about the real deal.
I’m talking soul spelunking, therapy, seriously re-evaluating your life. Calling bullsh*t on yourself. Seeing yourself as you really are not through a filter. Accountability, there’s a word. Journaling and EMDR or biofeedback. Group therapy, addiction meetings. ALL the self-care behaviors. Beginning new habits to replace lesser habits. Opening your mind to possibilities that you had never considered. Looking beyond what you have believed to be true. Re-evaluating your life. Choose a different path, view, way, direction, channel, whatever. Moving forward instead of standing still. Swim, not treading water.
Which bring me to the opportunities we never ask for, like divorce or a break up. Death, losing a job, or a viral pandemic. I was left last year. Now divorced, over the last year, I’ve arrived at gratitude for that, which is not where I began. I began hurt, angry and scared. Full of regret and self doubt. The last person I wanted to be left alone with was myself. And it can still be scary sometimes, but less and less as time goes on. My biggest fear used to be the unknown. Like where the whole world is now. The unknown.
The thing about the unknown is that it’s filled with possibilities and options and adventure should you so choose. It’s not always darkness. Sometimes it’s a foggy meadow and when you kneel down there in that place, you see all the flowers. I know, I’ve been here awhile in my unknown. Turns out, it’s not a bad place. And here’s something I feel like I’ve figured out: humans are always making plans, schedules, and itineraries to avoid the unknown. We stay so busy to keep the unknown away, don’t we? We fill all the spaces with noise to avoid the silence.
Do you think a caterpillar knows when it spins the cocoon that it’s going to turn into a magnificent butterfly?? Do you think mommy caterpillars tell their offspring about that day? I’m thinking no. That cocoon is the unknown for them. And they seem to go there willingly. Naturally. Into what looks rather cozy and yet, I can’t help but wonder, does the physical transformation hurt? Or is it so slow, it’s just a hum.
And no, I’m not saying humans are worms. We will never have the good fortune to sprout wings in our lifetimes. But I do believe in choosing to take time, do the work, be consistent, and then take it one change by the next. Because I have found there are layers you discover once you begin. Or rather you find pieces in your puzzle that you believed were missing that bring clarity.
Let me leave you with this thought: It’s important to know when the life you once had is gone, the choice you have is about the life you have next. Because I couldn’t go back. We can’t go back. Maybe don’t see the world we had as a loss, but this is a time to choose what world we have next. Change, the unknown. And your place and life inside of it all.