“Forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.” – Leonard Cohen
From a shamanic perspective, change is seen as a journey through a doorway. To make any changes means that a door must be cracked open, that we dare to look around and feel into what exists beyond the current landscape of our lives. Moving through the opened door, we leave behind what’s familiar and head toward something new.
Opening the doorway boldly sets things in motion – because the light gets in. We’re able to see what we could not see or perhaps even dream of before. We begin to wonder about possibilities, taste the potentials, sense the adventure, get curious and hungry for more.
Change is ever present in the natural flow of life, yet we often fear and fight against the cycles of endings and beginnings. We struggle to hold onto what’s known and familiar while longing for something fresh, exciting, and new. Endings often get fueled by anger, regrets, and disappointment. Beginnings often evoke self-doubts, fears of unknowns, and confusion about which direction to go.
So how do we find our way?
1. Lean Into the Ending
Every step through the doorway of change is a death of sorts. So it’s essential we befriend death, learn to recognize and honor the gifts that come with completions and endings.
My dad, in his dying, was a great teacher about accepting death and courageously going with the momentum of transformation and change. So was Jasmine, my beloved canine friend. With both of these loved ones, I didn’t want to miss a moment as they made the passage from this world to the realm of spirit. Instinctively, I dove deep into the sharing of their journeys, offering care and companionship, even though this was new territory for me filled with not-lived-before experiences. The gifts of the learning and the love that was shared, even with significant losses, will be cherished forever.
When we lean into the ending, we stay connected and engaged. This may be an ending of a health challenge, our job, a relationship, familiar daily schedule, or old ideas and beliefs. Staying present with the process of the ending, the dying-away, opens space for learning and enrichment, for exploring the mysteries, and allowing genuine feelings to be felt. Endings and completions are filled with gifts we can purposefully search for and find.
2. Love What You’re Letting Go Of
Moving through the doorway of change involves letting go of something familiar and known. Letting go is a natural part of growth, healing, and transformation. With the letting go, essential energy is freed up to move into the next cycle, to pursue and manifest what now fully supports the flourishing of life. Nothing is stuck or blocking the way. Remnants from the past aren’t weighing things down.
There’s much we can learn from the natural world about letting go. Take a look at the ways the trees drop their leaves in the fall. Leaves serve a vital purpose for the life of the trees. Once that purpose has been served and the cycle is complete, the trees make an intentional internal change which allows the leaves to naturally fall away. Without the letting go, the well-being of the tree is compromised. Letting go nourishes health, balance, and well-being for the trees and others in the web of life.
We too can be intentional with our process of letting go. There will be more effectiveness and ease when we feel respect and appreciation, even gratitude and love, for whatever is being let go of – clutter in the closet, addictive patterns, completed projects, an illness, old ways of relating, judgmental thoughts. We can honor the purpose that has been served and which now is complete. Letting go opens space for the new.
3. Let Passion Be Your Guide
Change is a passage, a journey through the doorway leading from what has been into something not yet known. Heading right into the mystery can be rather daunting and fear-filled. So what carries us through? What compels us to open doorway after doorway of change?
If we reach beyond the fears, we’ll find the passion of our hearts calling us, guiding the way. Like a butterfly coming out of the chrysalis, readying to fly into an entirely new existence. Like snakes shedding skins, creating space for expansion and full self-expression, not staying small and confined. Like little birds tapping open eggshells from the inside and moving out, boldly leaving behind the only world they have known.
Unstoppable uninhibited passion – let this be your guide.