Transition feels like shifts along familiar cycles; day to evening to night, seasons, such as the diminishing feeling of late Fall into the certainty of Winter, or the late Winter’s prelude of the new season with the tender, emergent, and vulnerable transitioning into the full force of new growth and vitality of Spring.
Transformation feels different. Elements of transition are there, growth, emergence, thriving, decline and death, but Transformation does not feel cyclical. It is t...
Transformation feels different. Elements of transition are there, growth, emergence, thriving, decline and death, but Transformation does not feel cyclical. It is the result of an alchemical process, of a call, longing, preparation, departure, immersion, struggle, release and perhaps even liberation. It differs from transition with its components of intention, focus, purpose, insight and vision.
I went on a pilgrimage to Northern India this past December and January. Preparing for it was quite a bumpy ride. I did feel called, and I felt tremendous resistance also. Obstacles came up, and even a month before my departure, I considered canceling my trip. Transitions and transformation were entwined. Transitions were present in the stages of preparation, from excitement and enthusiasm, to frustration and doubt, faith, letting go of intention, allowing myself to be equally content with going or not going, preparing for management of physical pain over several months. Within this, transformation was occurring as well. I was conscious of the shifts occurring along the path of preparation, and arrived at a state of mind with a sense of determination, confidence and resolve to show up for this extraordinary opportunity.
The pilgrimage trip had a number of challenges and difficulties. The path was particularly challenging, and mid-way, I seriously contemplated returning home, as I felt that the difficulty and strain was just too much. The original schedule structure disintegrated for various reasons. When it was evident that I would have to do an early departure home completely on my own, which brought up fears that I did not want to face – fears and agitation more intense what I was already in the midst of, I decided to surrender and just be where I was, for the full time that my fellow travelers and I had committed to. This surrender was transformative for me. While I thought we had already reached the pinnacle of this pilgrimage trip, once I surrendered, additional delightful experiences and excursions came up. Meeting a 94 year old Lama who studied with the Masters and lived a most genuine life of the meditator/yogi. Visiting the private room housing the relics of a beloved Master, a room that is generally not open to the general public, ever. The warmth and kindness of the housekeeping staff, one of the women telling me I resemble her daughter; feeling at ease to walk around the city by myself, relaxing in meditation on the rooftop of the hotel, warm and tender farewells with the entire housekeeping staff upon our departure. These were treasures after having been full of resistance, expectation, impatience and agitation. Those were the invisibles that I showed up with at the beginning of my trip.
Was there a “clear revelation beneath the face looking back”?
The transition from arrival to India, to the journey, homage at the pilgrimage sites, allowing myself to truly sink in and just be there, and then to eagerly return home showed me that I made it through a transformative time, showing up, noticing strong resistance, surrendering, being present, and being grateful. The transformation at the end of the pilgrimage and upon returning home was subtle; a deeper understanding of surrender, allowing and presence, of acknowledging a gentle strength, confidence and courage. Upon returning, I thought I did not want to go to India again. A few months later, I feel a softening and more open attitude, being more at home in this strength, confidence and courage that I discovered.
Just getting started-dabbled in the exercise of temporary names and composed the following haiku-more to contemplate and explore! (I should be more cautious when posting my writing after a long workday…I have had a history of tripping and stumbling along the path.) 😉
A peek into my path:
Child, sister, daughter
Student, maid, paralegal
Dowser, Meditator, Guide
Dreamer, poet, light
Karen Johnstone 5/12/16
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