Metamorphosis (April 2023)
Since I started writing regular articles for The Herald, I have been amazed that, every month, the suggested theme resonates, strongly and undeniably, with me. This month’s theme is definitely the most powerful example of that.
There are three statements that form the foundation of my belief system:
1. Everything happens for a reason, and that reason is our highest good.
2. Each of us comes to this earth with a lesson to learn, and to teach.
3. Our adversity is our strength, and our challenge is our opportunity.
4. We must embrace our darkness—our challenges, adversities, traumas—if we are to see the light of a new way of being in the world.
Once again, I rely on Marianne Williamson, whose words of wisdom have helped me on many occasions. In The Gift of Change, she said, “It is only when we embrace In the midst of the deepest, darkest night, when we feel most humbled by life, the faint shadow of our wings begins to appear.” What a lovely reference to the process of metamorphosis … and a lovely segway into my thoughts about metamorphosis as a metaphor for life.
I have written before about the emotionally/verbally abusive relationship I was in, over a decade ago … a relationship that damaged my sense of self to such an extent that I ended up in Homewood, dealing with the effects of PTSD. Somewhere in my recovery, I felt compelled to write a book about my experience. This book has been in the planning stages for several years now. It has taken me that amount of time to get clear on exactly what I want to say, and how I want to say it. I thought, at first, that my “problem” was the emotional abuse. But I have realized, over the years, that the abuse I suffered was a symptom of an underlying problem, not the cause. The abuse I suffered was the result of the toxic shame that began during my infancy and early childhood. Because I hadn’t dealt with that shame (not knowing that it even existed), I lived a life of hyper-vigilance, dreading the day that I’d be outed as the unworthy person I believed I was. It was that shame and core belief that led me to the abusive relationship in the first place, because it was “what I deserved.”
As I worked through the process of recognizing, confronting, and healing from that toxic shame, I made a very important and, for me, life-altering discovery. As I stated earlier, I believe that each of us has a unique purpose in this life, which is directly related to the life lesson we need to learn for our own highest good. That life lesson is, in turn, directly related to the pain or challenge we have experienced.
“Metamorphosis” comes from the Greek, and means to transform. By definition (dictionary.com), metamorphosis is “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one” and, of course, when we think of metamorphosis, most of us think of the butterfly.
Butterflies have always been a symbol of hope for me, as they are for many. And hope, of course, is a crucial component when dealing with adversity. How fitting that I am writing this on the first day of Spring!
I love the following quote by Maya Angelou:
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly,
but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
The book I am writing (and believe it or not, the title of that book is Metamorphosis: From Darkness to Light) touches on each of the four stages of metamorphosis, but relates them to the human experience of transformation, regardless of the type of adversity we have faced.
I am excited about completing this book. It has been a long time coming. I am excited not only for the opportunity to tell my own story, but also for the opportunity to relay a message of hope, much needed in the world today.
Wayne Dyer once said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” I think a fitting response to that sentiment, and a fitting conclusion to my thoughts on this topic, comes from Richard Bach:
“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world,
the master calls a butterfly.”