Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Work of Transformation

I am always looking for ways to better articulate things I believe, things I know...those bits of hard-earned (or generoulsly gifted) wisdom that have made such a difference in my life. For all the certainty I feel about these things, finding the words eludes me. As you can imagine, that's a frustrating state for a writer.

Once in a while, I come across another writer's work that accomplishes what I could not. I want to share with you the words of Christiane Northrup, M.D., from The Wisdom of Menopause. If you're a man, or if you're not at midlife or approaching menopause, please don't stop reading now! What she has to say here applies universally.

"This process of transformation can only succeed, however, if we become proactive in two ways. First, we must be willing to take full responsibility for our share of the problems in our lives. It takes great courage to admit our own contributions to the things that have gone wrong for us and to stop seeing ourselves simply as victims of someone or something outside of ourselves. After all, the person in the victim role tends to get all the sympathy and to assume the high road morally, which is appealing; none of us wants to feel like the bad guy. But even though taking the victim role may seem a good choice in the short run, this stance is ultimately devoid of any power to help us change, heal, grow, and move on to a more fulfilling and joyful life.

"The second requirement for transformation is more difficult by far: we must be willing to feel the pain of loss and grieve for those parts of our lives that we are leaving behind. And that includes our fantasies of how our lives could have been different if only. Facing up to such loss is rarely easy, and that is why so many of us resist change in general and at midlife in particular. A part of us rationalizes, 'Why rock the boat? I'm halfway finished with my life. Wouldn't it just be easier to accept what I have rather than risk the unknown?'

"The end of any significant relationship, or any major phase of our lives, even one that has made us unhappy or held us back from our full growth and fulfillment, feels like a death - pure and simple. To move past it, we have to feel the sadness of that loss and grieve fully for what might have been and now will never be.

"And then we must pick ourselves up and move toward the unkonw. All our deepest fears are likely to surface as we find ourselves facing the uncertainity of the future."

Thank you, Dr. Northrup, for this clearly articulated truth.

All that I can add is this: the process of transformation, of accepting our own responsibility and, in doing so, claiming our own power, is simple...but it is never easy. Transformation is hard work and, in my experience, it never ends.

Simple? Yes. Easy? Never. Worth it? Absolutely!

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