Recently a wise old friend, otherwise known as Kathryn, shared some thoughts about contractions. No, I’m not pregnant, and as far as I know, neither is she. So how in the world did we get on this topic?
In a nutshell, we were talking about change – major change – and how life can feel when we’re in the middle of one. Optimist that she is, Kathryn had proposed that these times are similar to a birthing process, that the pressure we’re feeling is a lot like contractions.
You know contractions: Violent, painful impulses that start slowly, then speed up until they’re occurring regularly, growing stronger with each wave, pushing us into a new place. Instead of the mob, life is putting the squeeze on us. It’s time. Time to move somewhere, somehow, change something – become new, become real, step up, peel away, reveal the newest, freshest version of your authentic self. It’s not that you weren’t perfect before. You were exactly what and where and who you were supposed to be, in that space. But it’s time to move on now, to birth the next iteration of YOU. Just like a butterfly, just like a baby.
OK, I can roll with that. Much as I don’t necessarily like the process, not while it’s happening. Not while I’m unconscious, feeling poked and prodded and overall disturbed from my nap. But once I wake up, I can at least understand this analogy, which can help me find a little peace in the midst of all that chaos.
Because that’s what this feels like, you know. With all due respect, Professor Sadler, one doesn’t always have the time or place to draw up a change management chart and a five-year strategic transition plan, or to call in the HR department and local union boss. Sometimes change just happens. And yet, whether or not we appreciate this impulse, we might want to consider the possibility that, just like a baby, we may have been the ones who sent out those I’m-ready-I’m-ready-get-me-outta-here hormones that started the whole process. Yes, you. Yes, me. We know when we’ve reached our full growth potential at a particular place. And we know when it’s time to step up to that next level.
However we choose to look at this (and that is a choice), again, just like a baby, we don’t know what’s on the other side. We don’t have a clue. Think about that for a minute. All we know, once those hormones kick in and the contractions speed up, is that something is happening, something is changing, and we’re just holding on for dear life. It’s dark, it’s painful, it’s chaotic, and most of the time, if you’re like me, you just plain old don’t like it. Excuse me, Life, you misunderstood – did you think I said “let me out”? No, that was really “let me be.” I kind of like this cozy little all-inclusive organic bag of bliss. It’s provided everything I need for so long, and I’ve had some great moments in here. Besides, that whole birthing process is PAINFUL. No one told me this would happen, or what it would feel like. Heck, no one told me anything at all, and this is not what I registered for…
We can try to reason our way out of it, dig in our heels and stubbornly resist. And yet that only increases the pain. No, the trick, as Miz Kathryn shared, is to keep breathing. Who knew Lamaze applied to the one being born as well? Stop resisting and go with it. Yes, it’s dark. Yes, it’s scary. But you can’t resist the life force. Just like grass wants to grow, so do you. And grow you will, hang on though you might.
It does no good to question or to try to figure it all out, one way or the other, at least not from the inside. But from a higher perspective, say ol’ Doc Watson’s, we might see a very different picture. We’d see what was waiting on the other side. We’d see it really was highest good. We’d understand that trying to stay where we are is not only not very helpful – not to mention futile – in the end, if we resist long enough and no one comes along and declares an emergency C-section, this safe harbor could become stagnant and poisonous, and we might die and rot in what used to be our most precious, peaceful place, killing ourselves and whatever womb we happen to be in.
So I ask you, where are you experiencing contractions right now? What’s trying to be born through you? What are you trying to be born into?
In the meantime, relax. Breathe. Open your eyes and look around, and maybe you’ll see a clue where you never saw one before. Or maybe you won’t. It doesn’t matter – it’s still going to happen – and from a higher perspective one can understand that that’s a good thing. Instead of resisting the inevitable, breathe into it, and while you’re at it, seek your answers within and above, for that broader view that will remind you that once again, all is well, and this too shall pass.
(C) 2011 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com