You are Allowed to Change

We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis. —LeeAnn Taylor

One of my wise yoga teachers said that anything can be healed from the inside out. She’s on the money with that one, because “from the inside out” is the way all transformation occurs. The caterpillar doesn’t start sprouting wing buds on its back that grow until they reach full span and enable it to take flight. Off it goes! 

We all know the story: That slow, plump worm climbs up a branch and spins a cocoon and then its body starts to melt into pure liquid. Back to God—just not all the way back.

It goes without saying that any important inner work creates shifts of consciousness that will eventually rock our outer world. Depending on the depth and power of the transformation, the impact might be a few ripples in our close circle or a full-blown tsunami that takes out our entire village and washes us into a world of new relationships and circumstances. 

No wonder the process of transformation takes time and patience. We have to grow our wings and then bash them against the side of the cocoon for a while before we’re strong enough to fly.

Claiming the right to change deals with more than reactions from our friends and family to the shifts in our habits, attitudes, conversations and manner. As our newly sober path continues to evolve and unfold, it’s so common to feel hesitation about openly expressing all the beautiful things we are discovering and becoming.

What will they think? Will they still like me? And it’s true. It’s very human to expect the people around us to show up in predictable ways. We settle into grooves in our close relationships, we create a dance together—dysfunctional at times, but it’s still a dance. When the steps change, the rhythm crashes. Suddenly feeling so out of synch is awkward for both partners. So many of us these days are dropping the booze on what we call a high bottom, well before any real destruction begins. We saw the flashing red lights, no need to go over the cliff ahead. Our friends and family might be surprised or even mind-blown. They may even feel deeply uncomfortable and oddly judged because loud but silent voices are going off inside their heads: “So what then. You must think I have a drinking problem too? How is this ever going to be fun times again?”

Back in my pot-smoking, single days, I was dating a dentist who invited me to join him for dinner at his married friend’s home—another 30-something professional. Larry said later that his friend was abjectly unhappy because his wife had changed. She was no longer the fun-loving, party girl, free and sexy love thing he was so crazy about during their courtship. The moment they said I do, she wanted him to tamp down the alcohol and forget the weed and start establishing a healthy, stable home for a family. She even wanted the two of them to start looking for a church they both liked for gawd’s sake. Larry was puffing on a joint as he was explaining all this, and clearly he saw a lady who had trapped his buddy with a calculated bait and switch. I saw a woman who had shifted from a girlfriend to a wife, living with a man she assumed would change in sync with her. The Magic 8-Ball was saying Outlook not so good, Don’t count on it, and Very doubtful.

Maybe we should start greeting each other with “Who are you today?” instead of “How are you today?”

Most of the major transformative shifts in my life have been such catastrophic ruptures that no two stones were left standing together, the ground was leveled. Everything changed. After years of storing and continually moving a box filled with old yearbooks and high school photos, I heaved the entire thing unopened into an over-sized trash bin. Fuck it, fuck it all. That girl lived so many generations ago that nothing in the box held any present value. I had no idea who she even was because she had no idea who she was.

Whatever it takes to find the real you, don’t be daunted if the rest of the world looks on in shock. —Stephen Richards

This post is by MaggyD , the author of the blog Maggy Doodles and an active member of BOOM the private, anonymous community inside the Boozemusings website.

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