If you look at nature, the path to birth is always the same: it requires walls.
Oak tees come in an acorn, hard, wrapped, small. Butterflies are caterpillars until they form a cocoon and shut out the world. Babies are formed behind the safety of their mothers skin.
Growth requires the safety of isolation.
As 2020 reaches a close I’m left to wonder how I managed to do a lot of mental repairing in a year of chaos. I am led to these thoughts…
One of the reasons we get stuck in trauma patterns is because nothing feels safe. And when you are locked in a constant state of addressing dangers (real and imagined) you become stuck improvising your way from one disaster to the next. It is always exhausting and there is never time to rest.
But then a stay at home order came along and I was forced to cocoon. To stay at home with my thoughts and just enough work to cover my living situation. With nothing but time and thoughts I began to notice how each person in my life affected me. I would feel drained after hearing from certain people, uplifted by others, and uneasy but hopeful with ones I had been out of touch with. As time went on and the stress level went up, the protests started and the deaths spiked… I started noticing what I needed to feel safe. I heard myself saying “no I don’t have time for that” even though I had nothing but time. I heard myself calling people out, and letting others know our friendships had run it’s course. Maybe knowing I wouldn’t have to face them made me bolder ? The walls of my apartment began to feel like a nest, finally, a place that felt like a safe home. A new and unusual feeling but a welcome one.
During a phone call that was ending a friendship I was accused of changing too much. “you’re changing your group of friends and no one will know the real you”. This from someone who was determined I needed to be kept in line, reminded I come from nothing so I wouldn’t get too big for my britches.
But what I have learned from nature is the person who tries to mess with the shell is a predator. The person who cuts the butterfly from the cocoon does not want to see it fly. So I didn’t fight, I acknowledged that yes, I am building walls and my inner life looks very different these days.
But a cocoon can quickly become a tomb if you stop growing. Once the walls are built we wait, grow slowly… Then the time comes to tear down the walls that kept you safe and emerge as your next embodiment. It’s a process requiring time and safety as it’s main ingredients.
Don’t be afraid to build walls to contain you and grow stronger behind them.
After all, acorns are for squirrels, but oak trees last lifetimes. Caterpillars crawl, butterflies fly. Give yourself time and safety, and see how you grow.