In the winter months, in the midwest, people often find themselves feeling highly under motivated to leave the house and work, let alone socialize. We start feeling lethargic and isolated as we surrender to the hibernation impulse.
Inner winters are challenging. There is so much quiet within that we can no longer hide from questions like, “Who am I without the people, places and experiences I was pursuing?” Or, facing the suspicion that we are only lovable when we say, think and do in accord with others expectations.
For example, I recently closed my wireless account and interrupted the steady stream of notifications I relied on to feel connected and seen in my small part of this world.
That’s how I understand my relationship to my phone at the moment, because when the texts and calls stopped coming in I felt unwanted. And a little lost for a moment (which lasted a few weeks). Where do I belong? Whose my tribe? Who wants me now that I’m not easy to get to? Will I matter the social device that says I do?
We’ve been taught to fear the unknown, the unanswered and the uncontrollable, as well as, the unusual and the lonely. We are social creatures with a growing desire for self-connection.
It’s taking me while to get here (thank you for reading on) but, what I am actually thinking of are thresholds. The points in life at which we are asked to let go, so that we can move on. Or into. Or through.
It’s the in-between place that feels uncertain, unsafe and undesirable and lonely.
“Our business needs to change but we don’t know what that looks like.”
“The very tender time after a beloved has died”
“We know it’s time to move but we don’t know where.”
“Should we go or stay- in this job, in this relationship…”
“Something’s got to change but…what?”
It’s sitting in your new apartment after a break up with the most important person in your life, in the middle of winter and feeling like your life could go in any direction, except the one you expected, or hoped for, or planned for… which, is where the awesome part of thresholding begins…
I love the symbolism of the chrysalis and the butterfly and, yet, even I feel like it’s overused to illustrate this experience but, today, I just have to share some of the language science uses to describe the process and it goes like this:
“Much of the body breaks itself down into imaginal cells, which are undifferentiated – like stem cells, they can become any type of cell. The imaginal cells put themselves back together into a new shape.”
This is the threshold process. Something in us is on the verge. We are neither here nor there. Yet. We are waiting for the transformation not realizing that the transformation IS occurring within.
Signs of a thresholding include:
feeling less like ‘yourself’
speaking your mind more freely- even sometimes against your will (seemingly)
losing interest in what used to interest you including ways of being, groups you belong to, newsletters you read online (smile).
disturbing others who’ve grown used to seeing you show up a certain way. Some people become more outspoken (less accommodating) about likes and dislikes. Some people become less reactive and therefore less easy to provoke.
feeling antsy for movement- of some kind, any kind. When this shows up take care. Breathe into the feeling that something has to shift on your timing. It doesn’t.
Part of being on the threshold is holding the tension of the in between.
We are so used to breezing through doorways that we expect soul deep transformations from the chrysalis should come so quickly and feel so unchallenging.
It’s good to be still and unknowing for periods of time.
This allows us to become receptive.
And open to the Divine Ideas about our lives.