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
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]
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]