What does it mean to be the change you want to see? When I was a child one of my favorite things to do was to hang upside down on the monkey bars or from the branch of a tree. Suddenly the world was different! The same thing happened inside when I’d hang my head off the side of my bed or the living room couch, my hair brushing the floor. Suddenly everything was different. Doorways had trestles to step over, furniture clung to the ceiling and my mother sitting nearby was capable of the most extraordinary feats. I’d watch her get up out of her chair and walk upside down! I’d imagine being a fly, able to walk up the walls and across the ceiling all the time.
I’d often climb high into the branches of my favorite tree and see the world from a different perspective, like a queen on her throne, ruler of all I surveyed. Sometimes someone would walk by on the path beneath the tree, unaware that I was above them, watching every move they made. During such times I experienced a unique and unusual sense of power, power that in my normal life simply did not exist.
It took me a long time to realize that I did in fact have the power to change how I perceived the world, my child self innocently showing me just how easy it really was. From a different perspective, the world was new and different and I was new and different as well. How could I not be when I’d suddenly find myself in such an extraordinary position, capable of changing the world as I saw it?
Most of my childhood was spent in deep depression. Not that I was aware of what depression was, as it’s only in hindsight that I know that it was a symptom of my life circumstances. As a result, I shut down, my inner fantasy world much more interesting that the everyday world I inhabited. The outer world paled and became dull in comparison. It became routine, boring, and uneventful. I never imagined it would be otherwise. The thing that changed all that was really getting fed up with that boring world, and with myself as well. I had to find out what else there was out there!
And so I got up and got going. I looked for signs to show me what to do. Signs appeared, which led to a series of changes as I dared myself to follow them. I moved, a lot. I married, divorced, and then married and divorced again. I filled my life with children and work, with keeping active and busy, with creative endeavors. I instigated change all the time—I became a person of action! But it wasn’t until I realized that with all the changes I was making, nothing had really changed at all, and I was still the same depressed person I had always been. Something was wrong with my approach.
It was then that I realized that all the changes I’d made had been related to the world outside of me. I was constantly changing my circumstances or the people in my life, or trying to. It was then that my spirit spoke to me. It was dying. It was worn out with the boringness of the life I was living. It gave me an ultimatum, change or I’m checking out. I sensed a spiritual death was about to happen, and in fact that it meant a physical death as well. Only then did a different kind of change start happening. A series of events began that instigated the real change I had always sought. As most of you already know, that was when I began to discover another, deeper self, and the reason for the deep state of depression that had plagued me my whole life. I met Chuck and began a three-year-long shamanic recapitulation.
My recapitulation brought me right back to my child self and her ability to perceive a changed world simply by hanging upside down from the monkey bars. I discovered that all I really needed to do to change myself and my life was to look at the world and myself from a different perspective! Sounds simple enough, but it took more courage to do that than any of the other things I had ever done in my life.
By my own volition, I entered a new world. Suddenly, everything began to make sense. Pieces of the mysterious puzzle of self began to fit together, the events of my life interlocking in a way that made perfect sense. I wasn’t incapable of change, I just didn’t know how to let real change into my life. It involved taking action on my own behalf. It involved not looking outside of myself for the change as I had always done—filling my life with so much doing that I had no energy left for anything else, nothing left for myself—but by looking inside. The old frantic, neurotic self was an attempt to keep the truth at bay, but it wasn’t until I turned inward, away from who I’d become in the outer world, that things changed. My perspective on everything changed, just as it had done when I was a child. From a new angle the entire universe suddenly took on a new look and new meaning. Suddenly, nothing was impossible!
So, how do we become the change we want to see? We take action. We change ourselves, from the inside out. Instead of looking at everyone else, blaming, resenting, regretting, whining and moaning about how bad we have it and how everyone else is against us, or doesn’t notice or respect us, the best thing we can possibly do for ourselves is to shut down all of that and be okay with finding out who we really are.
Are we really powerless? Why do we feel so entitled? Who says we’re not capable or worthy? Who says we’re hopeless failures? How did we get where we are? Whose voice rattles through our head, putting us down, keeping us safe and contained? Is that how we want to live? Can we let go of our resentments? Can we free ourselves of our old ideas? Can we take full responsibility for our own life? Can we think for ourselves?
I continue to seek new perspectives, to do things differently, to consider different ideas and to take action to change myself. It’s not that hard. Read something new. Take a walk. Movement alone can bring in much needed energy, offering new fresh air into the brain and body, opening up long dormant synapses. Learn to play, sing, take up a musical instrument. Eat differently. Think in a new way. Look at life from a new angle. Hang upside down every now and then and get a new perspective on the world. Be the change you want to see by changing yourself!
Eternally in metamorphosis,