Saturday, 1 February 2014

On 13:45 by Victoria Stanham   No comments
In last week's post I wrote about consciously choosing to use my habitual psychopysical response pattern when, for some reason, I didn't feel ready for change, and how that, in itself, started the process of change regardless. It's the simple act of making a conscious choice, of waking up and assuming responsibility for my actions that has set me on the voyage to unknown territories once more.

Today I'd like to follow up on this process, based on my experiences of the past week. 

What happens after that first act of self consciousness?

Poet and spiritual enquiriy facilitator Kim Rosen, whom I had the privilege to meet at a Pathwork workshop many years ago, puts it beautifully in her poem "In Impossible Darkness"



Do you know how
the caterpillar
turns?
Do you remember
what happens
inside a cocoon?
You liquefy.
There in the thick black
of your self-spun womb,
void as the moon before waxing,
you melt
(as Christ did
for three days
in the tomb)
conceiving
in impossible darkness
the sheer
inevitability
of wings.
Last week I found myself again at the threshold of change, faced by the choice to respond habitually once more or take a step into the unknown. The issue with finally taking responsibility for your actions and accepting that your current situation is, at the very least, 50% of your own making, is that you can't act blind anymore. Every time I choose to use my habitual response I know I'm reinforcing a system that doesn't suit me any longer, that is causing me pain. John S. Hunter has blogged about F.M. Alexander himself telling his pupils to take responsibility for their life situations.
So I made a new choice, I decided to inhibit my habitual response, took the plunge and jumped into the big black void. 
You see, some changes/choices are small, they only cause minor shifts in the established system, and the whole system can adapt quite quickly and integrate the new information. Some other changes/choices are huge. I arrive at them by a long road paved by smaller changes that have prepared me for the leap. But a leap it has to be; a leap of faith. These choices radically change my understanding of life, of who I am in relation to the system in question. It is a complete metamorphosis if I have the courage to sustain the inhibition of the old response throughout the whole process.
It is a scary process for me. Past references no longer make sense, a whole system of beliefs and a whole way of being in this world shatters behind me as I take this step past the point of no return. Fear stabs at my heart and mind as I desperately long for the boat to stop rocking so I can find my new bearings. I wish I could say I'm a seasoned surfer in the waves of change, always at home and at ease regardless of circumstances. But that is not me, not yet. I yet have an ego that craves some definition, some limit to the vastness of the true self. This all too open space scares me, and makes me falter. And the system's inertia is resenting my shift and threatening to drag me back into my old place. It has force, bred by years of feeding into its direction.
So how does one hold on to the courage to sustain inhibition of the old response amid so much uncertainty?
Two things give me faith.
Firstly, although it's true that today I don't know who I am anymore, I know I don't want to be what I was any longer. I've chosen to change because my past choices have become too limiting for this ever expanding self. I am ready for something different.
And then, in the midst of my anguished drowning, a little voice inside me said "You've been here before". I momentarily stopped flailing about emotionally and allowed the barrage of memories of past experiences of death and rebirth of my self-definition to bubble up from the deep recesses of my being into my consciousness. I cried and smiled remembering how scared I was each time I'd taken the leap before, thinking that I'd never know how to live from this new place. And yet, here I am, looking back fondly on the road travelled, a changed person still changing. 
The unknown isn't so scary anymore, this caterpillar is surrendering to the sheer inevitability of its wings.
See you on the other side!

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