Talking about (R)Evolution
May 18, 2016
I used to roll my eyes when people spoke of "starting on the inside" in order to accomplish lasting change. It's not that I actually thought that it was a stupid idea or incorrect. It's more that I just didn't have the patience, dedication and perhaps maturity to step up and do the work. I wanted to see action sooner than later.
Now that I'm getting more distance from the date of my birth and have numerous lacklustre attempts at true transformation under my belt, I'm realizing that trying to create change on the outside before making necessary changes on the inside is a futile "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" exercise. Any profound and lasting changes I have experienced in my life have been the result of considerable emotional labour expended over a good chunk of time... and perhaps some grace.
I'm also old enough now to have learned first hand that the arc of my life (experience) isn't linear. It's a spiral. While there is a forward (or up) and backward (or down) trajectory, but there are cycles. At points in each cycle I revisit past challenges and themes, or rather it seems like they revisit me. In the past, I would re-experience a familiar challenging pattern and feel frustration, depression and sometimes despair. It seemed that any forward evolution I thought I had gained was an illusion. Now, I realize that I hadn't been backsliding as much as having another opportunity to learn a deeper lesson. The same video game... new level.
Now, here I am rapidly approaching my 48th birthday and I'm a number of pages into my "Brand New Chapter" of my life. I'm feeling more mature, more capable, more aware, more skillful... and I've stumbled across pockets of volatile emotional baggage that I thought I had sorted out years ago. This time I'm clearly experiencing it from a different vantage point and with a hell of a lot more resources than I have in the past, and it's still quite humbling to closing in on 50 and noticing issues from childhood rudely show up unannounced to disrupt my plans. I find great relief in the knowledge and experience that I can now meet situations like this with compassion, gratitude, patience, and confidence that I will transform the poison into possibility. I like the idea of becoming an Alchemist. There is much "base metal" that the world would be served if it were transformed into gold.
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