Learning to Stand Again

We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.

Maya Angelou

There come times in our lives when we all must learn to stand again. While it’s natural to experience these periods as sudden awakenings or out of the blue disruptions, I believe that they manifest in subtler ways – sometimes for weeks or months, sometimes for years – until we are forced to confront them at loud and often uncomfortable volumes.

For me, one of these times is now. I can say I didn’t see it coming and that would be true. But in looking back, the collective whispers were calling me to a new way of being over the course of my resistance and desire to seek security in the familiar, however fleeting or fantasy-ridden.

I’m learning that my ways of navigating the world – powering through difficulties with an unwavering optimism and rugged determination to keep my chin up no matter the cost – may no longer serve me. While the consequences of this feel both foreign and expected, I am only beginning to uncover their toll, with a hope that the strength that resides within, that shows up when summoned and when we cannot harness it for ourselves, continues to see me through.

I expect there will be others who can relate: who have ignored the whispers and are now grappling with the cacophony; who have silenced their needs and desires at the expense of meeting others or those of their inner child; who are awakening to the possibilities that their future holds while recognizing the long and weary road that must be walked to reach them.

My journey is far from over. In fact, this new phase is only just beginning, akin to a caterpillar preparing to nestle in its chrysalis. I am learning to find novel ways of supporting myself, to relax into the uncertainty that transition and upheaval brings. I am learning to create space for the parts that long to be heard. I am learning that comfortable is not equivalent to courageous and that fear needn’t be something we’re afraid of.

For those of you who have navigated seemingly insurmountable difficulties, I invite you to join me. I welcome your open hearts and ears, your insights and empathy, your company and community. For those who find themselves in stormy waters, know that you are not alone. In fact, you never have been. I hope that my experience over the days, weeks, and months ahead will lend itself to a greater sense of transparency, trust, and openness. I hope that from our deepest periods of pain and discomfort will emerge newfound manifestations of love and joy.