“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” ― Cynthia Occelli
Every living thing goes through certain stages of growth, from birth to full maturity. This is how it is supposed to be and the more we simply allow this natural process to take place, the healthier and more complete our development will be.
Many of us, often in mid-life, experience an “awakening” that launches us into a new cycle of development–a transformation. We uncover something that has been hidden in our hearts since our birth. We hear a music playing, ever so faintly, in our souls that causes us to dance through life in a different way. We discover our passion, our purpose, our calling.
Caterpillars transform into Butterflies. When we awaken to our purpose and calling, we go through a similar transformation, changing from what we have been all our lives to what we were really created to be.
Understanding the stages of transformation is very helpful to those of us going through it. It is also helpful in guiding others through it, as we recognize and encourage the transformation of our loved ones.
Stage 1: Awakening
You start to hear that small voice, the faint music, the warming feeling of potential growing inside you. When you recognize this and grasp the potential of what you really can become, this is when the change actually takes place. Transformation doesn’t happen when you arrive at the destination. It happens when you realize that the destination exists and it’s possible for you to get there.
I didn’t become a “Marathon Runner” upon the completion of my first marathon, nor upon the completion of some portion of my first marathon training program. I became a Marathon Runner the instant I saw the faint light of potential and believed in the possibility that I could become one.
There comes a time when you become aware of a possibility for yourself that you were previously unaware of. The possibility always existed; you were just blind to its reality. This is the hatching of your heart.
Stage 2: Growing Wings
As soon as a baby bird hatches, awakens, from its shell, it is fully a bird. It is not a fully mature bird, capable of its full potential, but it has everything it needs to become what it was created to be. It must go through a period of growth, learning to chirp, to waddle on its awkward legs, to grow feathers and lose its down, to strengthen its muscles and allow its wings to grow.
This is the phase when we take in the nourishment God provides us and we become more comfortable with the awareness of what we really are. This is the time for allowing the seeds of hope and potential to grow within us. This is a stage of visualizing our future and allowing the excitement to grow.
Stage 3: Learning to Fly
Trying, experimenting, falling down, getting up, trying again, gradually getting more things right, going farther and farther, becoming more and more of what we were created to be. We try, we test, we study how others got to their level of mastery. We talk to others about our vision of becoming this new creation. We ask for help, and find mentors.
This is also a period of redirecting and gaining clarity about who are are to become. You may start out thinking you are a sprinter but, after growing and learning our gifts, discover you are a long distance runner. You may start out wanting to major in biology, then discover your deep gladness while studying psychology. Eventually, you learn what you are truly created to become and devote your life to that calling.
Stage 4: Soaring
We have discovered, as Frederick Buechner describes, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
In the phase, we are confident in our abilities, our giftedness and our calling to this new life. We are in love with our new life and we truly feel the “deep gladness” and see how the world is a better place for us having transformed into what we were created to be.
We are truly alive, vibrating with energy and excitement for who we are, for still more potential to grow into, and for the positive influence we are having in the lives of others.
Hear the music, dance your dance. Others may not hear your music. That’s OK. It is for you, not for them. They have their own music, should they choose to listen to it. As Nietzsche said “those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who couldn’t hear the music!”
Do you hear it? The music was born at the same time you were. It was planted deep inside you by your Creator. We often don’t hear it until we learn to quiet the noise of life, our domestication, and the expectations of others.
You were created to be YOU! I hope you dance! I hope you embrace your transformation.
— You may hear me speak about this and other similar topics on my Life Is A Marathon podcast