"Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it's faced." James Baldwin
The last wise words was focused on transformation as a process of growth and life. Life is change and transformation requires us to commit to change with life .
So why can it be so difficult?
We've all heard well meaning people giving that advice says "time is a great healer" and "you'll get over it" but if you have had a traumatic experience you will know that is easier said than done. But why?
From my own experience it's not resistance to letting go of things (emotions, thoughts, fears, behaviours) in our past that makes me suffer in a transitional phase, it's ignorance of (or ignoring) how I've changed or am changing from those past events that is where the issues stem from. Avoidance of the feelings and emotions that are part of the growing process.
"The past is the past but our history is part of us."
I remember when I was around the age of 6 going to primary school and I had few groups of friends. In one group there were four of us who would regularly walk home together and reflect on what happened earlier in the day. I really enjoyed their company and our chats, and this went on for sometime. Occasionally there would be a change to the routine as they (the other 3) would have sleep-overs and play dates and I would walk home alone. This didn't bother me too much as I was sure my mum wouldn't let me go to the sleep overs, but I did feel like I was missing out.
One day on the way home there were only two of us and I can't remember if I asked or Mark (my friend) invited me in to his house to play. I hadn't got permission from my mother, but it felt good to be invited so I said yes.
We got to the door and Mark asked me to wait at the door while he went to ask his parents if I could come in and play. The door was slightly a jar so I could see through the passage into the living room. I could hear Mark's voice although I couldn't hear what he was saying and the I saw a man's face look around the doorway and then I heard in the man's voice shouting "get that black #@•%≠–§" away from my door!"
I was shocked and to be honest I can't remember what happened after that, whether Mark came back to the door or if I just went, but for me everything changed in that moment. We stopped walking home together and in fact stopped speaking, the others remained friends and for the first time it occurred to me that of the four friends, I was the only one who was dark skinned.
That was the first encounter of racism that I am consciously aware of and was not equipped to deal with it. For decades later I was still processing the dormant feelings and emotions of that initial event. Paradoxically some of the seeds for preparing me about life, growth and my transformational journey were planted at that time.
"Bitterness is like cancer it eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean." - Maya Angelou.
Understanding what we are holding onto and where it came from, is not enough, we are usually being called to acknowledge and develop a part of Self. If we attempt to let go before then potentially we are asking ourselves to let go of that piece of us wanting to grow and deny our feelings.
"There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting." - Buddha
The real opportunity here is to grow into our authentic Self with full integrity. Courageously facing our fear, anger, shame, guilt, vulnerability, etc and Truth. Rather than trying to deny or 'let go'. The process of Self inquiry is of making and holding space for those parts of us that require healing, expression, nurturing or simply being Re-Membered.
When we do this something magical begins to happen....
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the Soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved."- Helen Keller