We go through many transitions in life. I'm in one right now, although I'm not certain what it is. I'm recognizing some tell-tale signs, though.
Transition is a time of foundation-shaking. In labor, it's the crazy intense period right before your body is ready to push. It's the time when you think you can't do it because you're going to die, and you're hyper-sensitive to every little thing standing in your way. It's when you're usually at your most irritable and emotionally volatile. It can be a scary time, but there's also a sense rumbling beneath the surface that things are about to get big and real. For me, transition was when I started to come into my power, but I was well into the process before I realized it. I didn't know how much the uncertainty and apprehension, the awe of facing the reality of what was before me, played a part in accessing that power. Even though I understood the hows and whats of transition before giving birth, the experiencing of it was an entirely different animal; words don't do justice to what the breaking of your body in order to give someone else one feels like.
I know birth isn't this beautiful miracle to everyone, but it is to me. The lessons I learned in labor and during birth provide loud echoes for virtually every other aspect of my life if I allow them. I've birthed two babies, and they were very different experiences. I went into the first birth full of fear, relying on the arm of flesh, and while it was still a powerful spiritual moment to meet my son, I did not make of that opportunity what I could have, and I felt like I didn't fully utilize my agency. It was largely an exercise in frustration and fear and disappointment and powerlessness, and it took me a long time to take ownership of that. Determined to have a different experience the second time around, I changed my approach to one that centered on faith over fear. I learned that cultivating faith in what was, for me, a scary situation required a lot of work. So much work. The work paid off, and my second birth was incredible. It was more intense than I anticipated, but it was also much more profound. I'm not one of those macho mamas who's into the physical triumph of birthing; my victory was spiritual, and it was simply the victory of remaining calm with God while I thought everything around and inside me was breaking. The main difference between the two outcomes was largely my preparation coupled with my attitude and expectations.
Anyone who's alive and thinking is going to go through some crises of faith. In order to simplify the things we don't understand in life, we put lots of things in boxes. These boxes are useful when we recognize that we made them, but they can become damaging when we start to think the boxes are the reality. I think that's why God likes to shake up our boxes every once in a while, to remind us that Reality is bigger than we thought. We are bigger than we thought. It's a merciful thing, an embiggening thing, but it can also be scary. It can hurt. It can make us question knowledge we once thought was so deep it was written in our DNA. It can make us feel like everything around and inside us is breaking.
I'm learning that these transitions of box-shaking can go one of a few ways, for me, anyway. My birth experiences are instructive for me here. Approaching with fear, relying on others to deliver me and take away pain, or having a death grip on an outcome I demand will probably leave me deflated and disappointed. Approaching with faith and openness to whatever is best, willing to go through pain in exchange for understanding, and determined to see things through to the end, regardless of where that takes me, I am more likely to see the beauty in the experience. I am more likely to remain graceful and kind, more likely to revel in the process rather than be repelled. I am more likely to be transformed into something closer to my divinity than I was before.
During labor with my daughter, I was in transition for a little over an hour. That was also virtually the entirety of my labor, so I didn't have much warning. Despite my sometimes-feelings to the contrary, I didn't die. I know someone who was in transition for three entire days. She also didn't die, but I bet she wanted to somewhere in there. We don't get to decide how long our faith journeys are, and beyond deciding that we will always listen to God, we don't have much say in how that journey goes. Being stretched beyond what we think our capacity is alerts us to new territory in our minds and hearts, and the opportunity to explore that territory is a gift. If God is giving you that gift right now, embrace it with gratitude. Know that it won't last forever, and know that you can weather it with grace and hope as you turn to God in whatever way you can. You're being prepared to push. Before you can claim and participate in whatever miracle lies in front of you, all the pieces must be in place. You must be stretched and prepared; you have to want to go forward more than you fear what could be there. Only transition can get you there.
Yogi Bhajan's main mantra for his students was simple: "Keep up and you'll be kept up." When it hurts, keep up. When it's boring, keep up. When your heart's not in it or you're confused or angry, keep up. The rest comes, eventually... when you're ready. You don't need to enjoy it or understand it, not right now. You just have to keep up.
We don't all get to have babies in this life, but we all get to go through transition at least once. Most of us get to do it lotsa times. Let's endeavor to keep up. We've all got big miracles to birth! Many blessings to you on your journeys.
Exploring the spiritual side of things. Brevity is not my forte.