Over the past few months we’ve been talking about recreating a life we love living by creating new paradigms, using gratitude and positive affirmations, journaling, and other tools that are helpful when starting any positive new habit. This month we begin to dig a little deeper as we discuss what it takes to really, truly create transformation in our lives.

The definition of Transformation is “a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance.” To transform our lives, we need to understand what is limiting us. Here is a story to illustrate:

“Once upon a time there was a little girl who had a very scary monster that lived in her closet. Her parents promised her every night that the monster was not real and couldn’t hurt her, but she had seen it with her own eyes. To her, the monster was VERY real and VERY scary. She tried keeping the closet door closed and tried to think about something else. But no matter how hard she tried, all she could think of was that monster waiting to ‘get’ her!

Finally, the little girl decided that she had enough of being scared, shivering under the covers at night. So this night, she snuck her brother’s baseball bat into bed with her. After hugs and kisses, she waited for the sounds of the house to die down (sure that everyone was sleeping) and clutched at the bat. She wanted to surprise the monster, so she didn’t dare turn on the light. Hands trembling and knees shaking, she carefully snuck to the closet door. She had seen the monster inside, taunting her, sharp teeth and long claws ready to snatch her and gobble her up! She held her breath, threw open the door and swung with all of the strength in her little body. There was a clamor and she fell to the floor. Moments later the light to her room switched on, her parents rushed inside to see why she was laying on the floor. The little girl dared to open her eyes, to look and see what must surely be an injured monster in the closet. A mess of clothes and toys lay on the floor of the closet. She looked and looked, and seeing no evidence of the monster she thought she must have scared him away!

The next night, after hugs and kisses, the little girl prepared for the best sleep in months. She peeked over to the closet door and to her surprise, the monster had returned. She must have just made him angry! What if he was mad and would ‘get’ her? She lay in bed, sobbing, and tried to think of a new plan. She thought about what she had learned about school and how scared she was on the first day because she didn’t know anyone. She had an idea!

The next night the little girl decided to sneak some cookies to bed. After the house was quiet, she crept to the closet door, trembling arms outstretched offering the cookies in front of her. She carefully opened the door, straining in the low light, preparing to run at the first sight of the monster jumping for her. He didn’t. He just stood there. She held out the cookies. He stared at her. “I-I-I brought you a t-t-treat.” She stammered. He stood there.

In an instant, her bedroom light was on and in front of the little girl were clothes on hangers. She had been face-to-face with her monster and he was gone! Seeing the confused look on the little girl’s face, her mother turned the light back off. The girl nearly jumped, as her monster had returned. The mom let out a quiet giggle and turned the light back on. The monster was gone and only clothing remained. The girl reached out and grabbed ahold of a sleeve that hung there. Mom turned the light off quickly and suddenly the girl was holding a long monster claw! Only it wasn’t a claw at all! It was cloth. Mom’s giggles now filled the room as she turned the light on and off. Soon the girl was laughing too.

There was no monster. What she had SEEN with her own eyes and had been CERTAIN about, was no more than her mind playing a trick.”

We’ve all had experiences in our lives that have created very real seeming monsters. Whether physical traumas or emotional injuries, we’ve had times in our lives when we have been disappointed by ourselves or another. The resulting ‘monsters’ are just as real and just as terrifying in our lives as this little girl’s monster in the story above. An example would be a terrible car accident which results in a fear of driving in heavy traffic. The car accident happened in the past, but to our mind, it happens every time we get into a car in traffic. We are held hostage by fear of reliving trauma and as we have learned in past months, we begin to manifest trauma in other areas of our lives because that is what we are looking for. Just like the little girl, we may think that by pushing our monsters down, beating them up, or shutting them away will keep us ‘safe’. The reality is, the one true way to be rid of our monsters is to befriend them. By the light of love, we see our monsters for what they truly are.

As we’ve learned in past months, we create our current reality based on what we intend to look for. This is a combination of our deeply held beliefs (paradigms) and our current intentions. Holding positive intentions and a gratitude practice are great starts, but true freedom requires us to dig a little deeper.

One of the most obvious examples of transformation in nature is that of the butterfly. The butterfly starts out as a hairy, creepy looking worm. The caterpillar stage doesn’t last very long and is mostly spent eating, preparing for the work ahead. After a few days of hard work forming a cocoon or chrysalis, the worm sleeps in darkness and its body changes in every way. When the former worm appears, it has grown the most beautiful wings and takes flight.

Like the butterfly, transformation in humans is a process. It begins with nourishment. We fill ourselves with as much “green” wholesome information as possible. With effort, we then create a safe space to rest and allow the transformation to take place. We enter into complete and total darkness, alone. We make our peace with the darkness and ‘rest’. This is when transformation happens. Transformation can’t be forced but does require energy.

Consider the story again about the little girl. She tried to resist thinking of the monster in her closet, and that only caused her fears to grow. “What we resist persists.” Keeping the closet door closed didn’t work either because she was sure that the monster was just waiting for her inside. It takes a great deal of effort to struggle against something. Keeping our monsters pushed down, bottled up, or trying to ignore them takes so much effort that it is physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. This is literally how disease is created in the body and mind.

Like the butterfly, transformation can’t be forced. It happens naturally. One day we enter the darkness and surrender to ‘sleep’ or make peace with the darkness, and the next day we emerge changed.

So how do we create transformation without pushing it away or causing our monsters to grow?

This is where we get to dig a little deeper. This is where a little courage and a lot of love come in. It begins with facing and forgiving those parts of ourselves that we want to keep hidden. We go into our figurative cocoons, into complete darkness, and make peace—our figurative nap—so that the natural process of transformation can occur. Just as the pushing energy of trying to force change keeps real and lasting change at bay, the force of resistance against the things we like least about ourselves cause them to grow. “What you resist persists.” The only way to truly be free of the things in our lives that we hate or fear the most is through love. Love forgives. Forgiveness heals.

There are many ways to come face-to-face with the scary or unpleasant parts of ourselves that we feel are unlovable and to create space for forgiveness and healing to take place. EFT Tapping, Mirror work and Journaling are a few. It’s important when facing these parts of ourselves to not get ‘stuck’ in the muck of blaming, shaming, or punishing yourself. This is where working with a trained coach is invaluable. A neutral outside perspective holds the light, the beacon, to help you as you navigate these dark spaces. Just as the mother from our first story knew just when to turn on and off the light for the girl so that she could know for herself the truth about her monster, a trained coach knows when to shine the light, when to push, and when to step back and allow. Contact me today when you’re ready to begin your transformation.