© By Joyce Mason, 1996-2009
(Author's Note: This article was written in 1988 during my transiting Pluto conjunct natal Chiron transit.)
Change is the story of my life—one of deep and ongoing transformation. As I'm sure is true for many people on the spiritual path, that constant death-and-rebirth process is the very turbulence that brought me to my knees and the heart of my inner journey. It takes most of us many years to learn that change is our friend, not our enemy. It takes some of us even longer to learn to enjoy the trip. When the outer planets are involved—Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto—and when they are ravishing us where we live (making stressful aspects to our personal or most pivotal planets), the trip can feel like a Blind Journey through Hell.
One day, when I was feeling particularly frustrated and depressed, my best friend remarked, "I worry about you sometimes. Change comes from such a deep part of your being, I'm afraid you don't see it for a long time."
That transformational nearsightedness is probably the most difficult aspect of our evolution, the heart of faith that requires us to believe in things unseen. Recently, I remarked to my mother, "Who ever said metamorphosis would be easy? Pushing and shoving through that cocoon of hardened ideas is exhausting to say the least, but flying like a butterfly—there's the fun!"
She reminded me, however, that while the butterfly flutters freely and his flight is exhilarating, his life is short-lived. She added, "That's what life is—constant birth, death, and rebirth."
In the depths of change, which is a sort of dying, we are least aware of our flight, our freedom, and our direction. When we're changing, we're letting go. Most of all, we're letting go of those hardened ideas that constitute the cocoon of "who we have become." You can't see yourself letting go of ideas, and neither can anyone else see it. Yet it's nonetheless happening, and it's the prerequisite for the subsequent joy of being unfettered, able to "fly free," becoming all we are.
As I write this, I am personally climbing out of the deepest, hardest cocoon I ever built. This metamorphosis began when I took six months off work to write my autobiography, about my own inner healing. Few people have the opportunity to look at themselves as candidly as I did in outlining my story. Every pattern in my relationships and my own self-undoing came jumping off the manuscript pages in flashing neon lights. I have looked my baseline devils square in the eye: I have had an exorcism from the bottom of my being. My very foundations have been shaken. I had to see what I believed and challenge it. Some of the things I saw were not pretty.
I saw the beliefs that have been woven into my cocoon, such as:
"I am not enough."
"If I really love someone, I must let them go."
"It's always my fault."
"Closeness always ends in abandonment."
It was hard enough to find some of these foundational beliefs, they were so deeply buried, much less to face them squarely and be willing to give them up. In fact, the process was so painful, even for an eternal optimist, that I fully understand why some people spend their entire lives running from themselves and this very healing. At times, it feels like a bitter pill.
No wonder, lately, I've felt a sense of depression and grieving. "Joy cometh in the morning," we are told. Not only that, but, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
When we've spent our entire lives supporting beliefs, healthy or otherwise, they served us at some level, if for no other reason that to reinforce a false sense of safety. To give up the shelter of our cocoon is an act of faith, to say the least, with nothing left surrounding us for protection except the hope that joy will eventually come.
Perhaps I have felt most blocked, lately, because I am the closest to pushing out of the cocoon. I beat and beat on the walls, but until I weaken the structure enough to push through, I am still blocked and still frustrated. Perhaps that angry push of frustration is the very thing that's needed for breakthrough. From this side of the cocoon, I don't see the progress I'm making. I still see darkness and a wall with no exit.
Just like Jesus, we must die for our beliefs, in a figurative sense. The person who believed all those unloving things about herself must let go of life as that kind of person. We sometimes wonder if our whole life has been for naught, as we face what feels like a crucifixion—no matter how much we hear it will lead to resurrection and transformation to a higher form of life. We must not worship the dying, but learn to see it as a passage and a pathway to new life—an initiation.
I'm not sure who I am anymore. I know my best friend is right. I don't yet see the totality of my own transfiguration, but I cling to my trust in the process of life, no matter how shaky. Winter always turns into spring.
Recently, I had an opportunity to explain to someone very different from me what it's like to be a deep person: If there are potentially a dozen layers of psychological being, many people live on Layer 1 and 2. They're not very aware of themselves, and many repressed feelings are pushed down into the deeper layers. If they're not willing to know those deeper layers, they will remain unconscious of them. That's what the subconscious is. You are not aware of what's in it and the many ideas, hurts, and experiences that rule your life from this unknown power center.
Some of us old souls seem to have been born with a willingness to live life from the deepest levels of our being, and to know the depths of Self. If most people live their lives on Layers 1 and 2 and there are 12 possible layers, I feel like I live on Layer 14. It is unique and unusual to live like this, and, obviously, most people drawn to astrology or spirituality are "deep ones."
I sometimes envy Layer 1's and 2's. To me, their lives look simple, viewing them from out here on Layer 14 where it's difficult to find someone to talk to. Few of them can relate to the deep inner healing I am talking about.
It's worth it. Even funerals are a celebration of life, and it's in dying that we are reborn. Dare to plunge the depths, and honor yourself and your feelings when you don't feel like dancing on your own grave until the healing is done.
I fear, sometimes, that in our commitment to "positive thinking" we sometimes do not allow ourselves the tears that cleanse. Sometimes the path from here to the spiritual ideal requires many detours and considerable travel on rough roads. One must keep the ideal/target clearly in mind to hope for a bull's eye. Like the sign in my office says, "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it."
However, in aiming at joy, we must sometimes walk knee deep in sorrow to get there. It doesn't seem like we're making progress at all. Yet when change comes from the deepest part of ourselves, and in partnership with Spirit it is only a matter of time before we burst forth from pupa to perfection. Even (especially!) when we're dealing with Pluto...
As Marianne Williamson, my favorite teacher of A Course in Miracles says, "Are you going to believe in what the ego says, in its need to see something, now, or are you going to believe in the same force that turns seedlings into flowers and acorns into mighty oaks?"
From the deepest depths within me, my decision was made a long time ago: the exotic flower of a human being in full bloom has got to be worth watering with tears.
Photo Credit: CHRYSALIDES © Liumangtig... Dreamstime.com