Friday, February 11, 2005

Facing changes

Helen Keller said, "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

Some of us, during particular life transitions, would opt for nothing - a little nothingness, a drop in the adrenaline, a simple diminution of stimuli, or as one of my friends says at times of chaos, "I need to just sit on my bed and think."

We long for time to emotionally regroup.

The "daring adventure" which is our life, is marked by cycles of change: of loss and reconnection, of dependency and individuation, of deep grief and realizations of renewed growth.

Our "hero's journey," as Joseph Campbell taught us, is a process that guides, directs, pushes, pulls, and ultimately transforms us from innocent children to wise (or hopefully mature) adults.

Psychologically, life transitions call us to transform the energy of the ego from childlike ways of expecting the world to take care of us. We are tasked with facing and killing the dragons of defense, our early playmates, who taught us to deny fright and wrongdoing, rationalize deviousness, repress our negative thoughts, and project our less than lofty impulses onto others.

Repeatedly facing down the small to the deadliest fears rebirths us as warriors, able to protect and nurture ourselves as we grow strong enough to recognize, adapt, and finally to enjoy completely new terrain.

"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."

Campbell tells us that we always have supernatural aid along the journey, so hang onto that belief in guardian angels. No matter in what form they appear- from some people I know, they say that in life they tend to appear as good friends turning up at crucial times with crucial insights, like a Tinkerbell, focusing their attention on how to handle the crisis of the moment.

Angelic friends are folks you can cry in front of.

These are the friends who come in when the whole world has gone out.

Sometimes before we take on the dragons, we have to fall apart and weep, say we can't possibly do it, we can't bear it, we didn't even think we'd signed up for this particular trip.

And our friends hold us and soothe us and remind us of who we really are. . . wonderfully intelligent people, filled with the goddess, ready to take our rightful place at the very center of our lives.

The benefit from every life transition, small or large, is a transformation of consciousness, and this happens in three says: through Awareness, Acceptance, and Action.

When we survive and complete our journey we have a more expansive awareness of our values and our self in relation to the world. We come to accept ourselves, our shortcomings, our skills and our gifts, as well as our current life situation. And finally we discover greater courage to take appropriate action toward our goals.

Do we have this courage to carry on when life sucks?


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