Photo by Britney Gill

Photo by Britney Gill

April 10, 2013

"How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us, are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be."

Spring is in the air, and so is my desire to write again. Much has changed since my last entry in November: We bought a house on Bowen Island and I got the all clear from doctors in January. After the news of my "positive response to treatment" as it's refered to on paper, I was flooded with people's relief and excitement that the saga was over. I too was relieved, but felt more exhausted and somewhat lost, than anything else. I could finally allow myself to feel the blow of what had happened over the last year, and it has been an interesting transition integrating the experience into every day life.

Becoming good friends (I even flirt with them now) with fear and death, has given me an intense appreciation of life. I never forget the closeness of death, and I have never felt more alive. I've been re-born. An excerpt from a book I recently read describes it well:

It is said there are two kinds of people in this world- the Once-Born and the Twice-Born. The twice-born person pays attention when the soul pokes it's head through the clouds of a half lived life. Wether through choice or calamity, the twice born person goes into the woods, loses the straight way, makes mistakes, suffers loss, and confronts that which needs to change within himself in order to live a more genuine life.The journey into the woods of change and transformation in as inner one. Twice-born use the difficult changes in their outer lives to make the harder changes within, they use adversity for awakening. Betrayal, illness, divorce, the demise of a dream, the loss of a job, the death of a loved one- all of these can function as initiations into a deeper life.

The journey from once-born to twice-born brings us to a crossroads where the old ways of doing things are no longer working but a better way lies somewhere at the far edge of the woods. We are afraid to step into those woods but even more afraid to turn back. To turn back is one kind of death; to go forward is another. The first kind of death ends in ashes; the second leads toward rebirth. For some of us, the day arrives when we step willingly into the woods. A longing to wake up, to feel more alive, to feel something spurs us beyond our fear. Some of us resist hell until the forces of fate deliver a crisis. Some of us get sick and tired of filling an inner emptiness with drugs, drink or food, and we turn to face our real hunger: our soul hunger.

Twice born people trade the safety of the known for the power of the unknown. Something calls them into the woods, where the straight path vanishes and there is no turning back, only going through. This is not easy. It is not a made up fairy tale. It is very real and very difficult. To face our shadow- the dragons and hags that we have spent a lifetime running from- is perhaps the most difficult journey we will ever take. But it is there, in the shadows, that we retrieve our hidden parts, learn our lessons, and give birth to the wise and mature self. The difficulty of the dark journey is matched by it's rewards. Every single person in this whole wise world is offered- over and over again- the chance to take the voyage from once-born innocence to twice-born wisdom. It seems the most generous and vital people are those that have been broken open by change, or loss or adversity. And not just broken open on the outside. Indeed, it is the internal transformation that matters most. If there is one thing that has made a difference in my life, it is the courage to turn and face what wants to change within me.

 - Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open

Well said Elizabeth. May we find the courage to go into the woods and willingly engage with the whole messy miracle of life.

Chantal Russell