― L.K. Elliott
You keep replaying your friend’s words over and over in your mind: You’ve changed. It’s what she said as she walked out your door. It’s true, you have changed, but does that mean you can’t still be friends?
The thing is, when you really think about it, you don’t feel that comfortable around your friend anymore either. You’ve switched to a different wave length and you just don’t jive with some of your old friends now. It breaks your heart.
On my path of spiritual growth I was broken to tears more than once by past hurts and self-realizations. Sleepless nights and deep melancholy plagued me at times. But I came out on the other side and I know I will during future growth spurts.
Doing The Great Work hurts sometimes. Breaking up or breaking down are parts of growth, which is a process. We move through the pain and are stronger for it. We understand ourselves better and are able to help others because we have been through it. It is important work we’re doing.
Here is the key to making the process a little less painful:
“Acceptance makes an incredible fertile soil for the seeds of change.”
― Steve Maraboli
We can lessen the pain if we don’t resist it. Much of the pain we feel is because we’re resisting the process of change and growth. Acceptance is allowing the process to proceed so we can move through it more quickly and have less time in the uncomfortable zone.
When you understand that being uncomfortable is just a part of the growth process, it becomes less painful. Why is that? It’s because we take fear of the unknown out of the equation. That fear is more painful than the actual pain. When we take some of the tension away, we relax and can let the process happen.
So why is there pain in this process?
Here is the quote I used in Monday’s Motivational email. It really helps bring this idea into focus:
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn't understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.”
― Cynthia Occelli
The pain is there to tell us it’s time to change. We’re growing out of our old way of life just like the potential tree in the seed is outgrowing its casing. In order to express as a tree the seed needs to break open. In order for us to become who we are we need to break open and out of old patterns, old boxes we’ve existed in up until they started to become too small.
Some of the pain we feel is also grief. There is loss involved, loss of friends, loss of a way of life, loss of our old self. These are a part of the growth process so it’s natural to feel some grief.
Just remind yourself that the process of growth and change is going to involve some pain.
Pain or Suffering
Suffering is a choice. To suffer is to wallow in the pain and make pain and not growth the point. Suffering can get us attention or make us feel like we’re special. But what it really does is put us in victim mode as we give away our power in the process of growth.
Acceptance is a way to let go of the pain so you don’t turn it into suffering.
And that’s the whole point. If you don’t understand growth, then the process becomes so much more painful than it needs to be. Do the work you need to do and then let the process take hold. You are safe and always guided by Spirit.
The Butterfly and Transformation
I’ve learned a lot about butterflies over the past year from a friend aka The Butterfly Lady. The caterpillar trusts the process. It eats and grows and sheds its skin again and again, until the final shedding and cocooning takes place. A complete breakdown of the caterpillar has to happen before something as different as a butterfly can emerge from it.
But remember, the butterfly already exists within the caterpillar just like the tree already exists within the seed. It’s just that the caterpillar had to become more fully itself before it could even discover its butterfly self. Once it was full after all that eating it could go within, dissolve and then fully emerge as its true being.
The same goes for us. We grow and grow until we hit the most painful growth of all. It’s the death of our old self. It can hurt so we try to ignore it, run from it, pretend it’s not happening.
But it is happening and ultimately we can’t stop it just like the caterpillar can’t stop itself from becoming a butterfly because it is already the butterfly. And we are already a divine being. We can warp the process with our resistance so it’s better to let Spirit, the same Life Force that moves through the caterpillar, move through us. Life wants to express and grow and change. Let it. The Ancient Egyptians referred to it as “the Becoming”. We are always becoming that which we already are just like the butterfly when it’s an egg and when it’s a caterpillar.
The growth process, the struggle really is important. When someone helps a butterfly emerge from its cocoon, the struggle is averted. The butterfly cannot exist after that and dies. This beautiful being only exists because of the struggle.
Our process can be eased along the way by teachers and friends, but they can’t go through it for us. If they try, we won’t make it. Our growth will be stunted, though we probably won’t die. This just means we’ll have more work to do. And, of course, there will be many more opportunities to grow.
Just remember, in our moments of pain, when we want others to take away the struggle, they are not being mean when they refuse to help in the way we think they should. Our friends and teachers are wise to let us figure it out for ourselves.
When you go through the process of spiritual growth you will gain the ability to guide others and will be wise enough to let them become in their own time and in their own way.
Accept “the Becoming”. Allow the process, which is Spirit, to guide and move you into your true being. There are people who will be so grateful you did.