Hi Everyone, I hope you all had a great Holiday with your loved ones. As the new year is upon us I know we all seek resolutions to better ourselves. I personally don't think it should take a New Year to work on bettering ourselves. I don't make New Year resolutions for myself, I make daily or weekly resolutions for whatever I need in my life. I feel my life is a daily work in progress. Especially this year, I shed what I feel was a false sense of Ego, falsehoods about what I could control in my life and couldn't, if you know what I mean and I'm sure you do!! I sadly said goodbye to somethings that I thought I knew of myself, and it does hurt, it is like a death as Aernout Zevenbergen writes about. But he also writes about how I have been feeling lately, I have transformed so much this year and yes, parts of me are dead and gone,in a sense, but after all the pain of letting go, and accepting what is and has to be, it has slowly, day by day, brought about a new me. When I first got out of rehab and stayed in Onset I sat by the beach one day and a butterfly landed on my leg, I couldn't believe it, I loved it! That has never happened to me before or since, but I took it as a sign that it's going to be ok, your going to be ok Janet. And like Aernout wrote, I do have the courage to symbolically die, say goodbye to shortcomings and falsehoods about myself, so now what lies deeper inside me, will come into being, as a butterfly does, with little by little, daily transformations. So think about this as the New Year Resolutions come to mind, try a Year of little changes, take time to improve yourself.
Thank you for visiting my blog,
The Flesh Off Your Bones - Transformation from Within
By Aernout Zevenbergen
Most 'personal growth' or 'self development' of today seems to take an extremely careful approach to either 'the personal' or 'the self'. It's almost as if nothing's supposed to really make a difference. Not really, anyway.
Note: I do not fully agree with his view on Spirituality!
"Spirituality", this other highly contaminated word of our day and age, too seems mainly to be used to plaster the cracks on the walls of our lives, or act as a "fast-releasing" method to dodge the pains and sufferings that come with being alive. The fact of the matter is, that every human being alive today will, at one point, loose his or her teeth, his or her hair, and eventually his or her life. What happens beyond that one magical gate, no one can say with scientific certainty, because the realm of the dead can't be measured by the living ones - not in scientifically accepted ways, that is.Change is inherent in everything we do. Nothing will ever remain the same. Kids grow up, friends move, relatives die.
There are no fixes available for us in the early 21st century, apart from maybe pharmacology, to help us deal with what life in the 21st century doesn't teach us any longer as 'life skills'. Social networks nowadays aren't made to help us deal with setbacks - they're supposed to deal with our successes. How many people don't know of stories where the communities they relied on when everything went smooth suddenly dried up once the kosmos had new plans in store, and life went downhill - if only for a while. Sure, for the first shocks, there's enough flexibility in the system of the community, but rather quickly the adage will be: 'All for himself!'
These days we cling on to kinds of spirituality or "pop psychology" that will stick a band aid on the wound, after a rapid clean up of what had opened up. Like everything else in our modern day society, solutions need to be instant. No longer do we have the patience to see crops grow and ripen; neither in nature, nor in ourselves or our loved-ones.
When friends or relatives are struck by the extremities of life, we need to fall back on our circles of support - and they to need their circles of support. Through those networks, a disaster that struck one person gets to "ripple out" into the world. Suffering was a collective event, a ritual of sorts. Or so it was supposed to be. And it now no longer is.
In our highly individualised society, we're thrown back onto our own, when the going gets tough. Of course, friends will help, and friends can help. But no one can take the suffering away of person who just lost a loved one, or signed the divorce papers, or lost a limb in a car crash, or his house in the downturn of the economy.
All of these events tend to cause drastic changes in our day-to-day lives, as much as in our receptions of ourselves.
Falling into an empty bed, or visiting the empty bedroom of a child, or passing by the old office: accepting change that wasn't sought, and that didn't come from one's own choice is one of the hardest things to do for any human being. To accept that our dreams and our reality are no longer in sync, can provide a seriously painful wake-up call to a mature person. Sometimes even of traumatic proportions. People feel so torn in pain by the events that struck them, that they feel they're dying; or feel that death is the only way out.
Death is not the way out. It never is. It only extends the circles of pain, the ripples of mourning increase as yet another stone is thrown in the pond. Whenever a desire to die shows up, it is almost always a desire from deep within for a certain pain to stop, and for a process of transformation to be unleashed. It is almost always a signal that the ego - that set of ideas we hold about ourselves and our lives - has been deeply hurt.
It is under these circumstances that assistance is crucial. From friends, family, relatives: but eventually from those professionally trained through schooling or experience to safeguard the space of the person who is desperately seeking for the emergency exit.
And it is in this phase where crucial decisions are taken: does one settle for the soft spoken medical expert or therapist who relies on medication to quieten down the storms raging; does one resort to superstition and crystals; does one reach out to quick fixes and easy solutions, or does one find the courage deep inside to heal the wounds? A healing from inside.
Does one use the events to transform into a grander being, a more mature person - someone who can allow the events to touch the soul, and so transform the ego?
In many shamanic and spiritual traditions as well as well-established religions from all over the world, it is this last choice that is known as "the flesh falling off your bones". A dying process, without ever taking the 'dying' literally. It is a walking 'through the valley of death' of the old persona, of whom a great deal of characteristics and beliefs are ripped off in what can be an excruciatingly painful process.
A rebirth can only take place after a 'death of sorts' (again: which ought never be taken literally!!!); a butterfly can only come into being after a dramatic transformation.
When life seems to be falling apart, the only relevant question is: can you muster the courage to see this for what it is - a dying of sorts of the old "you" and all the ideas you held about yourself. But also the birth of a new "you", inclusive of all the birthing pains.
When the flesh comes off your bones, are you awake enough to see this as a cleansing process needed to liberate your soul, needed to find our own voice, your own truth, your own authenticity?
It takes courage to be alive. Courage to symbolically die to everything you've held dear about yourself, so what lies deep inside can sprout.
As is said in Zen: "Die before you die".
The only way to true transformation.