Doing Vs. Being

The chrysalis time continues. I had thought I had emerged, that my wings were going to grow and dry in the sun. Now I realize that the nature of the transformation to which I was called is something entirely different.

My transformation was not a transformation of actions. My transformation was a transformation of self. Doing vs. Being, if you will.

I saw the fragility of the cage that I’d built for myself. I took action after action to achieve goals, but I remained the same person – just a person who could lift more, eat fewer carbs, write more regularly, exhibit more discipline. Action is good, goals are good. But my actions didn’t touch my being. They were a structure to which I committed myself, oriented myself, and graded myself. When my actions didn’t result in transformation, I blamed myself for not doing enough. but it was I who had designed those actions to be entirely external.

My actions were never designed to transform the person inside, they were designed to change her environment. I was doing, and doing, and doing some more – doing so much I had to have a color coded chart for every minute of my week. All my orientation was on “doing”. I put so much in “do” that I had no time for “be”. In all honesty, I did all the things because I didn’t like who I was. I wasn’t reaching my dreams – and I blamed myself as if it was for lack of trying. But “try” was what I did best.

I knew that in entering the chrysalis that I would be transforming who I was, not merely my surroundings, but decades of habit and the culture surrounding me oriented me to the “do”, not the “be”. What am I doing, what is being done to me, how far has my body come, what changes have been wrought? I looked at the action. I knew chrysalis time would be a respite from trying, and I knew that would be an interior culture shock. I thought the time for rest would give me time to think.

It did. I armchair quarterbacked all the changes I’d “do” as soon as my feet were under me again. I saw where I’d gone wrong, and I reoriented myself. But still it was “do”, not “be”. I made myself a list of actions I’d take to support the changes I was making inside. But the actions are not where the change exists. Action is a structure, and structure can support change – but it is not change in and of itself.

More circumstance presented itself. Instead of one surgery and recovery to endure, now there are four (I found out months after the first surgery that it actually counted – and recovered like – two). Threats to my existence loomed, even if only briefly. Emotional struggles presented themselves with truly terrible timing. Each circumstance, each surgery, each hurt, became a strand in the cocoon.

I thought I was out, that I fanned my wings – but that was a butterfly’s dream. In truth, the strands of the cocoon have bound me so that I must dissolve. They have forced a surrender of self that has been too long in coming. But this surrender is what was required, the surrender is, in fact, the core of transformation. This transformation is a transformation of who I am – not what I do.

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