Last week I wrote about flying sideways during this season in life. The sun was out, the birds were coming back, I wrapped myself in spring and used her as my muse.
This week winter has arrived outside my window. Five new inches of snow with more on the way. Such is life in Anchorage, Alaska. We cycle from winter to spring to break up to winter several times before the true arrival of spring comes.
They say that no season lasts forever, but sometimes we get 2 or 3 seasons in the space of one week. Talk about rapid fire change. Which echoes the continued pace of life right now, and my pace of writing.
I’ve almost finished final edits on my manuscript, and there are so many seasons contained within the words that sometimes I wonder at the girl who wrote them and how much life can change over short spans of times.
The beauty of, not just writing poetry, but, being a human being is the vast potential for growth and change. Diversity in our shades, we are not limited to one style, one mood, one way of experiencing life, but invited to be whole individuals by experiencing life from many colors, many voices, many perspectives.
I think there is a fallacy in modern day thinking that our personalities and our beings are somehow static once we reach adulthood. Subject to some change depending on life events, but not subject to the kinds of major breaks and shifts in identity and self-hood we found when we were adolescents and young adults, who were trying to, supposed to, discover ourselves.
But as I near 40, I can say that I’ve changed more in the span of the last few years than at any other point in my life. Sometimes my external circumstances echo these changes. But often my shifts have been a deep internal process that nobody can see, which makes navigating those changes all the harder, as I’ve struggled to accept and understand an emergent self trying to peer out through my old layers of self.
Nobody really tells you that you will feel like you are going crazy when you are going through internal shifts in identity, paradigm, and value systems. That you will feel messy. That you will have some sort of inner manifestation of things falling apart and collapsing like a house of cards. That you may even feel these things on a somatic, cellular level, so strong is the connection between our body and our mind.
What they also don’t tell you is that this falling-apart-crazy-making is absolutely essential if you want to grow into your next phase of self. That trying to cram yourself back into the old boxes you once fit, the old ways you used to think, your old emotional set points will not work.
Life will always find a means of growth, and if you have an emerging self inside of you, that part of yourself will be rather insistent on trying to get out by doing whatever it needs- to and with and in your life- to find the space to grow.
I didn’t know any of this- I literally had a sensation of stacks of dominoes tumbling down in my mind for months- years back when I was about to go through a major breaking of self that would result in divorce. I didn’t understand what my unmet self was doing or why the changes in my life, which seemed to come out of nowhere, felt so sudden, yet right and absolute.
But I know this now, as I stand poised to leap from Alaska to Kauai in three months time. And I know that much of my emotional experience of unraveling and loosening, as of late, is simply a reflection of undoing part of myself so I can become someone else.
Sometimes it’s just hard to know who that will be or trust that if we follow the process through, we will get to where we need to go.
Life is unpredictable by nature. Two days ago I was out in the sunshine, almost warm enough to sit on the porch in the afternoon when the sun hits just right, and today I’m grateful that I haven’t yet donated my snow boots and winter parka. Spring is trying to become and the weather patterns are wreaking havoc on her identity.
And the same holds true for us.
We think we are on the cusp of spring and a storm hits. We are sunny one moment, sleeting the next. We thought we were heading in one season and find ourselves in another: there are many ups and downs as we figure out who we are going to be in this world.
It is a process that never really stops. Nor was it meant to.
I have an almost fully edited manuscript sitting on my computer reminding me of exactly that. And a plan to buy some yellow daffodils today to bring a bit of cheer and to remember- despite the gray chaos going on outside my window, the light of spring will always find its way.