Life has many ups and downs. Some more down than up, but one thing is clear – every dilemma, every crisis, every mistake, every downfall is an opportunity for learning. It all depends on your perspective.
When one is in the midst of the hurricane, one cannot see the sky. One cannot see the blue of the canopy, or the pink or yellow of the setting sun. One can only see and feel the screaming gale and the thrashing rain. The Fall of the Old Life is beginning. And it is a dreadful place to be.
However, during the midst of the storm we forget it is passing. It can take several storms, and several hurricanes, to get to this point in time, the time when we change beyond recognition. It takes the Mother of All Storms to reach a point in life where we crawl out of the sea, or the wreckage of our own lives, wondering who and what we are. But this is the First Day. The New Day. For after we have endured the death of the Old Self, we have been given the gift of the Second Life. This Second Life, we are changed and nothing can ever be the same. But, my Dear Human, this is not a change to be feared or resisted. The Second Life offers us that which we denied ourselves in the First. We get to begin again, and set a course of our own choosing.
One of the main things that we experience is what we are willing to accept. We have faced and endured the death of the Old Self. This needed to happen. It was painful, dark and often lonely. But the dark can only give us more appreciation of the light. Our perspectives change, our preferences change. What matters to us and what doesn’t changes. What we hold to be of value changes. What we bring through into the Second Life is of great importance because it is of great value – we treasured it enough to hold onto despite the storm trying to tear it from our grasp. Our hold, and our faith and our desire to keep those things close regardless of the tempest’s fury, was worth holding on to.
We also learn that what we thought makes us does not. The outside world, society, people, have their own opinions and thoughts about what makes us – a man, a woman, a good individual, a bad individual. There are roles placed upon us by others and, for the most part, we feel the need to fulfil those roles, or live up to them in some way, and sometimes that need is deep and powerful and calls upon our instincts. But it does not make us. It does not make us who we are, and does not define us, nor does not fulfilling that role define us either. We choose our roles in life and, to some degree, we can be influenced by others because of shame, or guilt or obligation. But to feel we need to take on roles that we do not desire nor had planned for ourselves is not being authentic to our true self and we can often pay a terrible price for living a lie.
You see, my Dear Human, your soul, your being, your character, your integrity, values, interests and how you treat others is what defines you, not your gender or your station in life. You are not defined by others. You can only define yourself. We can say we are successful, high-flying and wealthy, but how often do we say we are good, generous, funny or kind? Too often the good things we feel about ourselves or what others say about us are dismissed because one simply cannot accept one can possess those qualities for reasons only the heart knows.
But the world is still kind and good and just. It is still beautiful and the mountain still stands strong after the hurricane has passed overhead. But parts of it have gone – the old, weather-worn sides and the dead wood. New growth springs anew. New life, new ideas, new concepts. The mountain still stands but is forever changed by the storm, but not in the way you expect. No, nothing will ever be the same again, but the world is viewed with fresh eyes, with a deeper understanding of how things are, of why things are. Sometimes the storms come and we must endure them. Sometimes things happens but we are not meant to know why. But the inside of the mountain remains unmoved. Some may disapprove of its new appearance, but they cannot know the heart and mind of it, or why it is; why it chooses to grow bristle-cone pine instead of Scots or cedar. But the opinions and criticisms of those who do not know what storms it has weathered are of no concern. It matters not, only that it stands and will continue to do so regardless of what the fox or the deer might say.
The mountain weathers the storms, is changed by them but does not crumble. It is not defined by them nor by what attaches itself to it or what others use it for. It is a thing of nature. It is what it is. It defines itself. It is strong in its core. Veins of silver and gold run through it. It is made of crystal and granite. No storm can bring it down.
And the skylark sings overhead after the storm has passed.
The Mountain and the Fire Inside it.
Unbroken. Undefeated. Unconquered.
Yours Under the Sacred Oaks
It’s not about defeat. It is not about self-destruction.
It’s about learning who and what you are again. Re-evaluating. Re-organising. Learning what works and what does not. What worked before may not now as, after the Fall, there comes the Rebuild. Just as Rome was never rebuilt the same way, so can a life never be the same after it has been broken. The Fall of the Old Life is an essential part of living, growing and evolving. Many old habits, thoughts, acquaintances no longer fit into the new Empire that is YOU. Feel no shame in opening your hands and letting them descend to earth to be recycled or to decay.
And yet, a few foundation stones remain to build upon – integrity, values – the things that fundamentally make you unique in this world. The old may go. It may die. It may turn to ashes and dissolve into the wind. It is no defeat to allow yourself to fall and shatter and to coalesce into a new form. Stars and planets do this endlessly. And so we must.
It is a difficult task. We are but children again, learning to walk and talk and find our way among our fellows once more. For we are new and untested in this fresh form in a world full of uncertainty, turmoil and despair. And yet, for those who have known a Fall and survived, sometimes many, it is simply another metamorphosis into a different and more evolved form, a better and more stable Empire of Self.