Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Growth and Improvement

This past year has been like a hot molten chamber which is used to melt steel and then reshape it.  I have recognized (again...sigh) parts of me that I have wanted and needed to change.  This includes areas of my life.

I'm still discouraged in the fact that my voice is not coming along like I had hoped.  I can sing a very little bit but not much and then I pay for days with a scratchy and sore throat.  So I must not push it and stop trying to sing for now.  I have been missing my music and to play the flute still hurts my neck.  So this leaves me my piano.  I had forgotten how much I love to play for my own enjoyment.  It is like a balm to my soul to play.  An hour can fly by before I realize that my fingers, wrists and forearms are tiring.  I've been absolutely enjoying making time to play for myself when the house is quiet and nobody is home.

One day this past week, I was reading my "The Friendship Book 2012" as well as "The Book of Awakening" by Mark Nepo and I was amazed that both entries for the day dealt with growing and the improvement of ourselves.  Specifically, one of the books described a water beetle which skims along the surface of water.  I know I've seen these when I've been out canoeing or walking along the shoreline where the water is calm and still.  I always wondered about these beetles existence because they didn't seem to have any purpose that I could see.  Well.....I guess the beetles climb out of the water onto rocks, boats, canoes, paddles, etc. where they dry up and get brittle.  If I was to see one of these, I would think that it had died because it got lodged out of the water.  In actual fact, the beetle dries up.  The shell becomes brittle and then breaks open to allow a dragonfly to emerge.  As I pondered this wondrous transformation, I imagine that the beetle would feel some discomfort and pain as it dries up and the shell becomes brittle.  What a glorious transformation occurs through the pain to see a dragonfly emerge!!

If I look back to when my children grew from infants to toddlers, they would take temper tantrums if I kept their "boundaries" too small.  I had to allow them to transform from infants into moving toddlers that could have distance between me and them.  Again, there was pain/worry involved as I remember how anxious and scared I would get if I couldn't see them.  Even on the part of the toddler there was fear as they would lose sight of me and then return to an area far enough away but where they could still see me.  This was the pain of the shell of infancy drying up and a toddler emerging.  Then there was the pain of separation (more for me than my children) when they started school.  But again, growth and improvement took place through that pain of separation and my children became well adjusted children who left positive footprints in their various classrooms and activities.

Because I'm at the stage in life where I'm the mother of 2 teenagers, I can definitely relate to the concept of pain and transformation again.  If I look back over my own life, I can see the pain of bullying when I was a child allowed me to emerge and be more compassionate and empathetic towards other people in society who are teased and treated with condescension and who are patronized.  The pain of going through adolescence transformed me into a responsible and caring adult (although I do have my moments being a Gemini, when my evil twin appears). The pain of my own adolescence does allow me to recognize when my teenagers are trying to discover who they are and push the boundaries to become responsible, young adults.  My teenagers are just like the water beetle where their shell of childhood is drying up and becoming brittle so that they can "bust" out of it and be transformed into caring, compassionate and responsible adults.

To return to my metaphor at the beginning of this post regarding the melting of steel and reshaping it, I truly see the correlation between my "steel" will which allowed me to fight cancer and beat it, but it also needs to be melted down and reshaped.  This doesn't necessarily weaken my resolve, but it just reshapes it.  Unfortunately, some of this change is like the water beetle's shell in that it really is painful to break out of the shell and emerge as something much more beautiful.  Having said that, to not change and to stay in the shell (which is comfortable), the shell will become confining and will smother any changes that may take place.  So as I continue to work on improving (transforming?) myself, I just have to remember that to break out of the old shell will be painful but once the shell is broken, I will be free to fly just like the newborn dragonfly.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely post, Cathy. It spoke to my soul. I love the comparison of dragonflies and children. Both transformations can be quite diffucult, but something beautiful emerges eventually. Parenting teenagers can be trying and painful for everyone involved. But this, too, eventually passes.