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Is There Balance in Transition?

Is There Balance in Transition?

Tammy October 27, 2015 6 comments
Mina Pauses, an original tile by Tammy Vitale

Mina Pauses, an original ceramic tile by Tammy Vitale

If there is, I haven’t found it!  Have you?

In the meantime, I am researching how to get through transitions.  I have mostly given up on ever finding a mentor to help me – in fact I read that at my age I’m the one who’s supposed to be doing the mentoring (not that anyone has asked).  Which is fine.  Greg Levoy, in Callings (my latest favorite book of all times tied with Brene Brown’s Rising Strong and Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic –  move way over Women Who Run With the Wolves  which has ruled for 21 years!), says:  The best mentors are also those who are students at the same time, other people’s mentorees.”  Which means that I need a good mentor in order to be one!  I digress.  Maybe more some other day.

See, that’s what being in the midst of transformation does – gets one’s head and heart hopping all over the place.

I think I should also mention that in the last year it seems to me as if there have been few resting places and on-going shedding skin:  uplevel, uplevel, uplevel in the words of modern day coaches.

All that upleveling fails to take in consideration that often there is a step back to take two forward. From Callings:

The commitment to stretching beyond our comfort zones demands the willingness to take one step backward in order to take two steps forward, and it is a peculiarity of successful people that they’re able to tolerate sometimes extended periods of uncertainty and still hang on to their faith…Human life is, in some sense, the chronicle of a land animal caught between its desire to sprout wings and fly and to retrace its steps back into the sea.

For me that lines shows up in my musing on my pond (here, here, here), and the desire to run off somewhere and live in a cave.  Also it brings up trials

Discoverature - an original ceramic tile by Tammy Vitale

Discoverature – an original ceramic tile by Tammy Vitale

and tribulatons for inner A Student who is convinced I should be perfect at any and everything from the very first try.

Patti Smith, who I never really got into but have bumped into several times in my search to be my own mentor (finding no outside mentors showing up yet – perhaps I have not asked hard enough – or made enough space, being pathologically unwilling to give up the reins to just anyone) has a new book out, M Train.  It is reviewed thus on BrainPickings (a new to me blog that is fascinating and worth following by the way):

“The transformation of the heart is a wondrous thing, no matter how you land there.” [Patti Smith]

But every transformation is invariably a loss, and the transformed must be mourned before the transformed-into can be relished. The mystery of the continuity between the two — between our past and present selves — is one of the greatest perplexities of philosophy. Smith arrives at it with wistful wonderment as she contemplates the disorientation of aging, that ultimate horseman of terminal transformation [blog author]:

I considered what it meant to be sixty-six. The same number as the original American highway, the celebrated Mother Road that George Maharis, as Buz Murdock, took as he tooled across the country in his Corvette, working on oil rigs and trawlers, breaking hearts and freeing junkies. Sixty-six, I thought, what the hell. I could feel my chronology mounting, snow approaching. I could feel the moon, but I could not see it. The sky was veiled with a heavy mist illuminated by the perpetual city lights. When I was a girl the night sky was a great map of constellations, a cornucopia spilling the crystalline dust of the Milky Way across its ebony expanse, layers of stars that I would deftly unfold in my mind. I noticed the threads on my dungarees straining across my protruding knees. I’m still the same person, I thought, with all my flaws intact, same old bony knees…[Patti]

Stand alone sculpture, Her STory, fired clay and acrylic, by Tammy Vitale

Stand alone sculpture, Her STory, fired clay and acrylic, by Tammy Vitale

And isn’t that thing with all transformations?  Before transformation:  sweep leaves off the deck, clean the kitchen, figure out how to make enough money to live in this world.  After transformation:  sweep leaves off the deck, clean the kitchen, figure out how to make enough money to live in this world.

It came to me this morning as I was cleaning the kitchen mentioned above (I did NOT sweep the leaves off the deck) that I have heard that whatever you do you should do with your whole heart and with gratitude.  Even cleaning the kitchen.  And I thought, “Gee, that is the part I am still learning.”  I honestly don’t mind the chaos of transforming, what bothers me most is the mundaneness in between (I am accustomed to chaos and therefore probably comfortable there – to the point of having to make sure it is actually time for transformation and not a distraction because I am bored with the same old same old).  Which isn’t to say that chaos is any less confusing – I remain lost and unbalanced and wondering what’s next.  The comfort comes from knowing something IS next.  My job is to hold the space for myself that I would hold for a mentee while I look around and cast out fishing lines for possibilities to see what reels in.

I have no great conclusion for you here.  Because I am in the midst and haven’t concluded this time yet.  So I will just share this part of the trip with you in case you find yourself in transformation too, so you know you are not alone.  I’d wish you safe pathways but somehow I don’t think that would help you stretch.  So instead I send white light, hugs and a good amount of tossed glitter to light your way.

[Note:  all art is available for sale.  I cast the tiles.  The sculpture is one of a kind.  info@TammyVitale.com for more information]

 

 

 

 

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Comments

6
  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    October 27, 2015
    Tammy

    I love this post. We’ve discussed this, the transformation process and how smooth many people think it will be, and it is not. Like jumping from polluted water into fire in a way. But when purified, it is amazing.

    As for mentors, I’ve always been a skeptic and now am of the belief that all we can do is grab bits from people who seem wise, put it all into one package and claim it because, in the end, we are our own mentors.

    I’m fully enjoying traveling on this journey with you.

  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    Tina
    October 27, 2015
    Tammy

    This post is amazing! And so relevant to where I am as well as you know. I realize that this is all preparing me for something coming, but it sure is taking it’s time and I have no idea what it’s going to be. So balance during transition? I don’t find it. It’s all up and down and around unless I can find my center enough to be still and wait. Stillness. At least as much as possible so that we’ll recognize the New when it arrives. My thanks for this post are beyond measure.

  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    October 27, 2015
    Tammy

    Jackie: I had a mentor once, for community based organizing. Bob Johnsen. It was amazing. He gave me books to read and people to meet and guided my thought process as I learned how to be a GOOD community based organizer. Oddly enough he now is active in forming UU congregations. He always said I should be UU. Like real estate, that one has been coming at me since my 20s. Maybe I should listen and commit. Trust the process.

  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    October 27, 2015
    Tammy

    Tina – isn’t it funny how we each find our own way? For me it isn’t stillness, it’s curiosity and “tossing out those lines” to see what gets hooked. That’s all very active. Especially paying attention to lines that are jiggling – I can’t reel everything in but I figure if it gets away it wasn’t the right time. What reels in I pay attention to. LIke these books here. Arriving at the same time – except “Callings” was first and I got side tracked so I’m reading the ending after the other and it is absolutely perfect. See me reeling in?

  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    October 27, 2015
    Tammy

    I’m so accustomed to you calling me JM that I had to stop and wonder who Jackie was…LOL

    If I’ve had a mentor it would be an older friend of mine who always kept me within “earshot” to help me reconsider new possibilities but that’s it.

    I do think that some influences from our past were popped into our consciousness as seeds. Perhaps you can now return to some of Bob Johnsen’s comments and see if they fit in your current quest.

    More than a few times, I’ve found that I buy a boo that supposedly has life altering info, I enjoy it but don’t actually put those suggestions into practice and many years later it is like an epiphany when I come across that same book – because at that point, I get the message. I don’t think growth is linear.

  • Joined:
    2009-10-19 15:07:50
    October 27, 2015
    Tammy

    The world really DOES need Tammy Vitale 🙂

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