7 Things You Need for Transformation

Dragonfly image source: http://www.diviningdamoiselle.com/  Butterfly Image Source: http://www.mariabird.com/

 

So you want to change?  You want something different?

If your desire to change goes down to your core, if it has you wanting to smash all your good china, kick your boss in the shins while screaming, “I QUIT!” or get in your car and just drive, never to return, then you just might be ready for a transformation.

drivingaway

Driving Away Image Source: https://findingfaeries.wordpress.com/tag/vacation/

It’s no little thing.

Think about the examples; Butterflies, Dragonflies – going from something that crawls to something that flies and enduring almost complete annihilation of the former being.

Tadpoles;  changing the very element that sustains and holds you.

It’s dangerous.  It’s radical.  It takes a very particular frame of mind and set of guts. It takes everything you’ve got.

So here are 7 ingredients needed to help you transform.  The order is not always the same and the magnitude of each may vary, but all of these things (and probably more) are always required.

So here goes.  Hang on to that plate for a minute, resist the urge to kick the boss and put the car in park.  Maybe, just maybe, you can do this without totally destroying your life.

1.  Willingness

sad caterpillar
Sad Caterpillar Image Source:  http://www.zazzle.com/sad+crying+weeping+stickers

The desire or willingness to transform usually comes from some form of dissatisfaction with “What Is”.  Sometimes it can be triggered by an event. Or it can happen sort of spontaneously.  See my previous blog, “Spontaneous Initiation” for more on that.

Or… if you can grasp an understanding of the process, you can choose to go through a transformation to change some aspect of your life that is not currently working well.

Please NOTE!  You can choose to go through it, but you cannot choose all of the steps along the way.  Real transformation involves confronting the unknown as you will see below.  So a willingness to suffer, to delve, to work hard is necessary.  Whether this happens because you are just so sick of “What Is”, or whether it begins by choice, the work and pain cannot be avoided.

2.  Courage

alien atmosphere

Alien Atmosphere Image Source:  http://www.messagetoeagle.com/vcloudyweatherGJ1214b.php

Another thing about real transformation is that you can’t know the outcome, not entirely.  If you truly knew and understood the being that is on the other side of that miraculous change, then you would already BE that.  But going in, the transformed self that will emerge is a mystery.  The person you are before doesn’t take the same nourishment, may not even breathe the same air as that new being.  It’s like treading into an alien atmosphere without a space suit.  Bravery is needed!

3.  Descent/Darkness

dark scary cave
 Dark Scary Cave Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/119978777543128602/

Transformation requires darkness. It requires turning inward to the self and facing difficult truths. The butterfly folds itself into the chrysalis.  The dragonfly dwells down in the mud under the water for most of its early life.  This dwelling with the shadow self and taking a good hard look at “What Is” and “Why It Is”  is a necessary component for change.

And the darkness itself is part of why we see transformation as miraculous.  Rising  out of that darkness into such light is astounding to all who witness it.  (Hint: That’s why it’s worth it!)

4.  New Information

Transformation always requires the assimilation of a new truth.  This will almost undoubtedly conflict with some other deeply held belief you’ve had.  The old, deeply held belief may not even be conscious at the beginning.  (See above regarding descent and shadow work to uncover it.)

Then, once the two conflicting bits of information are discovered you who wish to transform, you who are deep in the mud, or encased in the chrysalis with your shadow must dwell there with both conflicting beliefs for a time.

 This causes dissonance.  Dissonance is VERY uncomfortable.  But this is such a crucial stage.  This is where the old you begins to dissolve and re-form into the new!

Two Wolves

This stage reminds me of the old Native American fable of the Two Wolves.  The grandfather is telling stories to the children, describing two wolves who struggle always inside of you.  One holds the truth and the light and one holds only falsehood and darkness and they fight viciously!  The children enquire – “Grandfather! Which wolf wins the fight?”

Grandfather answers, “The one you feed.”

Two Wolves Image Source: http://www.theapricity.com/forum/showthread.php?54225-The-Wolf-Appreciation-Thread/page14

This is something you may want to keep in mind while struggling through this transformation process.  Consciously look for proof of the new information and consciously decide to debunk the old at every turn.  This is how you’ll win out.

5.  Acceptance/Death

Can you embrace the belief that flight is possible for you?  Even if it means the destruction of the crawling you?   Transformation demands it!

Light breaking throughAt some point in this process the impending annihilation of the old you will rear up and strike a deep fear in your heart.  You have to let go of the old you BEFORE you know what the new you will actually be like.  You have to be willing to die to one life and emerge in a new one.  The more calm acceptance you can cultivate in your time in the darkness, the easier this transition will be.  Meditation and spiritual practice can help in this regard.  Take your time to nurture you while you’re down in the dark.  It’s the only way.

 

Light breaking through image source:  https://www.pinterest.com/pin/43276846389158178/

6.  Strength/Resurrection

A time will come when you have a sense that it is time to break out.  But depending on the depth of your transformation and the length of time spent in the mud, there is a danger that you’ll get trapped in the dark.

Breaking out of the old skin/shell/chrysalis takes a tremendous amount of power.  Collect yourself and remember that all that time in the dark has been building you up for this moment.  Be like this guy and just bust the hell out!

breaking-out-of-shell2

Breaking Out of Shell Image Source:  http://www.radianttransformation.com/archives/2010/12/got-bad-habits-here-are-8-steps-to-break-out-of-your-shell/

7.  Blinking Emergence into the Light and Lift-off!

You will blink and squint at the brightness after emerging. It’s only natural.  Time is needed to assess what you’ve become and to understand how this new life works.

Sustaining this new being, which went from the stillness and dark of breathing water and mud to the spectacular freedom of breathing the clear air and flying in the sunlight, is an important task.  It requires reflection, maintenance and vigilance to not fall back into old familiar depths.

Child Squinting Image Source: http://www.2020eyesite.com/laser-eye-center-blog/  Woman Shielding Image Source: http://batesvision.com/article/visiontips/

dragonfly

 

Take flight, you wonderful new and amazing being!  Rejoice in your success and keep it going!  Fly where you will – to find the next big challenge!

 

 

 

Dragonfly Image Source: http://cliparts.co/dragonfly-gif

And here’s a bonus for you, dear reader!  A Transformational trigger experience!  Do you see that beautiful blue butterfly photo at the top of the article?  That was taken by Maria Bird, Strategic Motivator.  She is hosting an amazing event at the end of this month called Transformational Hiking

Here’s the facebook event page.

If you are in New York – or anywhere near the Hudson Valley, I highly recommend this Mega-Workshop!

Transformational Hiking

 

I traveled to New York from Arizona to take it last year. Maria Bird , having experienced her own incredible transformation, is absolutely expert at conveying this important information in a way that is easily understood, exciting and motivating! There is so much knowledge and power packed into this experience (and all in such a beautiful and inspiring location!) you will end the day feeling exhilarated and ready to take on the world! Worth. Every. Penny! Call her immediately!

This Is Sparta!

This is Sparta!

I’ve just done something a little crazy.  I registered to participate in the next Arizona Spartan Sprint.  For those who don’t know, this is a 4.7 mile obstacle race sponsored by Reebok.  You have to climb 8 foot walls, crawl through mud under barbed wire, drag heavy weights up hills, climb ropes, throw spears at targets, etc., etc.  (Oh! And you run from one obstacle to the next.)  At the moment, I am the heaviest I’ve ever been.  I am 5’7” and weigh 226 pounds.  This is considered obese.  I have also struggled, over the last few years, with arthritis, bursitis and vitamin D deficiency.  I can walk about 10 miles (if I have to).  Generally, I walk about 2 – 5 miles during my current workouts.  My upper body strength is pretty much non-existent.  I have shin splints and I have never, ever done any running for a workout in my life.  I’m also 52 years old.  I’ll be 53 when this race rolls around.  Crazy?  Maybe.

But I have had a long history of weight gain and loss.  I’m a prime example of the Yo-Yo syndrome.  As a child, I was chunky, but not technically fat, although I felt that way.  I was much larger than most of the other girls, sprouted some pretty intense womanly curves by the age of 12 and was certainly called fat by many a typical school bully.  I was maybe 10 or 15 pounds overweight when I went away to college.  My roommates were waifs.  I starved myself and exercised whenever possible and got down to a size 6 by the end of my freshman year.  Fast forward a few years and I had “blossomed” to a size 14.  Those womanly curves of mine were actually a detriment sometimes.  My waist always stayed comparatively small, so I didn’t notice the pounds creeping up, because my shape was still good.  At size 14, I was engaged.  At my wedding I was back down to a size 6.  After pregnancy, back up to size 16.  When my daughter turned 3, I was a size 6 again.  At 37, size 18, at 40 and divorcing, you guessed it, size 6.  This last decade of gaining weight again has left me at size 20.  Are we seeing the pattern here?

How does one go about breaking this kind of cycle?  Honestly, I’ve no idea.  But I’m hoping that I’ve found some “key” that’s a little different.  I’m going to back-track a little and fill you in on my frame of mind for the past 2 years.  After suffering the aforementioned, painful maladies and after several years in a job I hated and becoming exhausted with life as it was, I picked up and moved 2,600 miles away from New York to Arizona.  My lifestyle since moving has been healthier, on the whole (not as healthy as it could be, mind you, but healthier than when I was in New York.)  I incorporated a little more movement, more “whole foods” and less junk, eliminated refined sugars.  I thought I was doing pretty well.  But, oh, how I loved my breads and cheeses!  I’ve been very resistant to changing those habits, even though I’ve been told over and over that wheat products and dairy products contribute to inflammation of the joints.  Anyway, that being what it was, I still felt a lot better and was enjoying my life in the southwest.  I have to include here, the fact that I moved here with Captain America, my dream man.  He is ever supportive, helpful and has made my life infinitely easier and more joyful by being in it. I’m not doing any of this alone.  I have help.

About 18 months ago I decided to stop coloring my hair.  I’d been going gray since I was 16 years old and dying it to my childhood auburn for the last 24 years.  Dealing with the silver roots was really starting to bother me and so, I had my hair cut and bleached to be done with it all at once, instead of having that awful skunk stripe of white against the dark red while it grew out.  I came home from the salon feeling pretty good about “embracing my cronehood”, and hoping for those glorious silver locks that some women have, while they still have a beautiful, youthful looking face.   When I looked in the mirror the next morning I was shocked by the fat, ugly, old lady staring back at me.  That’s how I felt. And I cried like a baby and wondered how this had happened overnight.  The fact is, of course, that it didn’t happen overnight, but it did hit me all at once.  My bones hurt, my clothes were like tents, my hair was fully gray (and short, like a granny) and all the wrinkles on my face seemed to scream at me.  I wanted to cover up every mirror in the house.  I thought the situation was hopeless.  I believed that I should simply give up on youth.  I believed that I should truly make peace with the fact that I couldn’t be pretty anymore.  After all, I’m a spiritual person.  Why should it matter that the vessel my soul is wearing no longer fits in with conventional beauty.  My beauty was inside, right?   But I hurt.  Every glance in a mirror caused me pain.  Every time I tried to put on make-up or fix my hair, I became despondent and frustrated.  I railed against my own psyche for not being strong enough to handle this “aging” thing.  “For Goddess sakes, Renee!  It happens to everyone!  Why are you being such a shallow, selfish, whiney baby!”  That’s how I was speaking to myself.  Not good.  I know.  I just didn’t know what to do.  So I tried to simply see myself as pretty.  I used affirmations and made a conscious effort to speak kindly to myself.  I noticed parts of me that I could still consider attractive and focused on those.  I did  self-love meditations and magic spells to help me accept and love my appearance “as-is” and yet every damn time I looked in a mirror, without the specific intention of practicing self-love, all I saw was ugly. And, of course there were set-backs.  I kept getting asked if I wanted the senior discount.  Then there was a vacation with my best friend, who is 5 years younger.  No less than three times on that trip, I was mistaken for her mother.  Ouch.   This continued for a year.  Twelve months of self loathing!  A couple of people,  who are very close to me, probably have had an inkling of what I’ve been going through, but even they don’t really know the depth of it.  I haven’t really gone into detail about it, because I was ashamed.   Very slowly, it started to get a little better.  My hair was growing out (finally!) and I began to do some spell-work while applying my make-up in the mornings.  I tried to take pride in my appearance.  But I would still, in my quiet moments and in my saddened mind, have anguished conversations with the powers that be:  “Why can’t I look in the mirror and just like myself? What is wrong with me?”

One day, almost two months ago, while floating in the pool, I was having one of those conversations.  I float in the pool in meditation.  It is just such a blissful feeling to be floating and let my mind drift away.  As those anguished questions arose in my mind this time, instead of silence and pain, I received something else.  I heard one sentence.

“Your beauty, my dear, is not in the viewing, but in the doing.”

I didn’t quite know what to do with that at first.  But I did know that it came from somewhere higher and wiser than the frame of mind I was capable of at the time.  So I kept it and remembered it and repeated it to myself many times over the next few days.  About a week later, I was reading through an article about healthy lifestyles and reading advise that I’d read a million times before.  The writer suggested just a two week trial of eating no wheat, no meat, no dairy, no sugar and then adding those things back to your diet in small, occasional amounts.  And suddenly, I was willing.  I had never felt the slightest willingness to give up wheat and dairy before and suddenly, my attitude was “I can do anything for two weeks!”  Previously the thought of giving up those things felt like restriction and deprivation. I was raised in an Italian home and I have been known to voice the opinion that food is love, so restriction felt like the opposite.  But in that moment of willingness to try something different, to DO something different, I revamped my entire routine.  I went far beyond the suggestions of that article and began incorporating all of the healthy things that I knew about but was previously unwilling to work into my schedule.  I began daily workouts, taking vitamin supplements, preparing meals on the weekends for the whole week, shopping farmers markets and sticking almost exclusively to whole, organic fresh food.  I’ve been doing this for a little over a month.  I feel great!  I love the food I’m eating. I have re-discovered my love for cooking with all these new recipe ideas. I have re-introduced some meat (but only grass fed, organic, sustainably farmed) and cheeses (organic, local, minimally processed cheeses), both in very small amounts.  I have not had wheat or refined sugar at all.  And I don’t miss it! I am feeding my body well.  And I’ve lost 8 pounds.  This is good.  This is “doing”!  I’ve changed the focus and my heart is starting to feel better.

Last night there was a picture in my Facebook feed of a person I don’t know.  She was holding up her “Spartan medal” that she’d received for completing a Spartan race.  And she was overweight, not one of those skinny, six-pack abs women to whom I could never relate.  I was inspired, so I started researching the Spartan Races.  The logo is the Greek warrior helmet.  It looks very much like the helmet worn by Athena in the image of her on my altar.  Yes, I am a priestess of Athena, so this seemed perfect. Greek warriors are definitely “my thing”!  On the website I found a race scheduled in the Phoenix area for February of 2016.  That gives me more than 6 months to train.  I ran this morning for the first time in any workout of my entire life.   It hurt like hell to be honest, but I did it.  And I will again tomorrow.  And now, I have a goal.  My goal is to be the badass person who can complete that race even though it seems like a crazy idea.  It’s going to take hard work and a lot of sweat and perseverance and good healthy feeding of this vessel that is carrying a badass soul.  And it will take a bit of magic too.  Athena will help me with that.  She loves a hero’s quest. I have a goal.  And for the first time in my weight-loss history, it is a fitness goal, not a “beauty” goal.  I got slim for my wedding, I got slim for vacations, I got slim to look better. Always it was about looking better and always it involved deprivation and self-punishment.

This feels different.  This feels like self love.  I’ll keep you posted.