I see women transformed, allowing the slow process of change to engulf them and make them new.
Most of us resist change. Change unsettles us. It makes us look at life in new ways. And it is often unasked for and outside our control. However, the change that is transformation is one which we can choose. We can seek transformation. We can allow it to have a place in our lives. And it gets a bit addictive at times!
But most transformation is slow and costly. Costly in terms of our emotions, in terms of changing our outlook and way of thinking. It can cost us financially as we follow thought with physical changes that follow the attitudinal ones.
But regardless of the cost, transformation is worth it.
Transformation from child to adult
As children, we expected to change, we looked for it. We chased those milestones, wanting to grow up as fast as we could. We saw transformation and change as a positive thing.
But as we move into adulthood, we have this leftover from childhood that we now we have made it. We are now an adult. This is it. We don’t need to change or grow any more. And often we stay in that place until something happens. A life event, either positive or negative, that makes us shift our outlook, change our thinking, or even totally change the way we do life.
Anyone who has welcomed a new baby into the family know what change a helpless human being brings not only to family dynamics but to how we view life. And then there are the other uncalled-for changes. The drunk driver who slams into your car and you face months or years of physical, emotional and mental rehabilitation. Your life is never the same again. It has been transformed.
Experiences bring shape and transformation
Or for many of us, the experience of domestic abuse is a process that shapes us. Long before I recognised the abuse that was happening in my marriage, I knew I was the person I was because my husband was who he was. His behaviour and outlook had shaped mine – both positively and negatively. I developed strengths and characteristics purely from having lived in the situation for so long. But I also was run down and needy.
When that situation and experience ended, after the healing had begun (and perhaps as part of the healing) transformation began. I started to get into sync with the person who was buried deep. The free-spirited person with heaps of feminine energy. I learned to let go of much of the masculine energy that had kept me going and helped me survive.
I learnt about who I was when I was no longer under the abuse. And in that learning, I needed to shift my attitudes, not only towards others but mostly towards myself. I had to let go of some ways of thinking about myself and embrace some new ones – such as seeing myself as beautiful.
Transformation to authentic self
What I discovered about transformation is that it allowed my truly authentic self to come to the forefront. This person had been hiding in the shadows for so long. I had seen her from time to time, but she was always just a little off-pointe. But now, as she let loose to fly free like the proverbial butterfly emerging from the cocoon, her true colours (thanks Cyndi Lauper!) could be seen. Real authenticity is the by-product of transformation. We get to realise, acknowledge and own who we truly are. This is not always joyful process as it can involve looking at some of the darker sides of ourselves. at some of the parts of us that really need to change. But that is part of the process and must not be overlooked or avoided.
It is in the knowing of self that true freedom comes, and, at its heart, that is what transforming is all about. Knowing who we truly are. Our authentic self was hurt, abused and hidden, but now it can come out of hiding. It will not do so all at once – that would be a bit of shock! It may be hesitant, afraid that it will be hurt again or pushed aside. But given time, given encouragement, our authentic self starts to shine, and we get to see just how wonderful we are.
Transformation as undoing
Transformation can also make us feel as if everything we’ve known, all that we’ve based our lives on, has slipped away. I wonder if that’s what the caterpillar feels as it goes to sleep a grub and wakes up with wings. Does it say to itself…what the???
I felt like that many times, when what I thought to be true about myself is shown to be merely a shadow of my true self. It is disorienting. It is scary. And sometimes we long for the stability of the old, even if it comes with the difficulties we once had. But our braver selves know that we need to fly. We need to let go of the edge. Let go of our connection to the earth and let fly. We may fear our wings won’t hold us. We may look down at the ground so far below and think, “I wish I could land back there where it seems safe”. But we know that going back to our old foundations is not safe, it wasn’t safe then and it isn’t safe now.
Flying seems unsafe and scary but it’s the best way.