None Can Know What Gets Lost and Found at the Crossroads.
Shit got real for me when the company I worked for, for 13 years, was acquired by a behemoth multinational corporation.
The moment was surreal. Time was taken hostage by circumstances, and the events that followed proceed as if possessed by an otherworldly force.
I resigned soon after that. Not because of the behemoth multinational — although that was the death knell — but because I had soul-work I needed to do that I could no longer ignore.
Had I known the depth of the spadework that my soul had in store for me, it’s a fair bet that I would not have left my job.
My choice initiated a precipitous descent down a trail of many losses that would follow the loss of a career I loved, its senior-level income, and coworkers who had become my family.
The next move I made would land me in another leadership position that would come and go in a year, together with new people I cared about. An untimely death would tear a hole in my heart wide enough to see through my illusions about permanence, and deconstruct my story that children outlive their parents. A debilitating back pain would break down my dependable body and contort me into a person I did not know. Possessions I’d accumulated through my years of success became a burden as I navigated the steep decline, and so I shed everything that was not essential to my soul’s design.
Maybe these life-changing moments are random. Perhaps they are destiny, or maybe karma? I don’t know about you, but I flip-flop between all three depending on the day. Nevertheless, these are transformational events in all our lives that lead each of us to the same place: The Crossroads.
At The Crossroads, there are no roadmaps, no trail guides, and even if you happened to have a compass with you, the Earth’s magnetic pull seems to have no sway here.
The journey has been a three-year traversing of a foreign land where I’ve had to learn a lexicon of symbols out of which I am crafting a new language. I’ve encountered others who are making the same descent, and I’ve come to recognize telltale signs that one has arrived at this reconciling intersection: (a) one acts on instinct and has no plan, (b) there is no clear direction to go, and (c) there is a peculiar terror beneath the surface of it all, and the only thing one knows for sure is that no matter which path you choose, shit is going to get real!
In her soulful book Rising Strong, Brené Brown explores the transformational potential of such intersections in our life where failing and falling are the path, and despite our need (or addiction) to winning and propagating the story that we have it together, we each must fail.
Still, it is how we show up during these periods where we are failing and losing is what matters… a lot.
Brené describes the act of standing in and being accountable for the truth of having fallen and failed — getting up, dusting off, and then struggling to write a new narrative from the bits and pieces of our life — with rigorous self-honesty and courageous vulnerability, as badassery.
As she says so beautifully well, “The middle is messy, but it is also where the magic happens.”
By definition, Transformation is a process by which one thing changes into an entirely different thing. I can’t think of a better example of Transformation then than that of the caterpillar becoming a butterfly.
The caterpillar is destined for transformation. You know it, and I know it, but does the caterpillar know it when it’s going through that god-awful mess in the middle part of its becoming?
In the middle, the caterpillar must be consumed bit-by-messy-bit in a digestion process, as immune cells fight against its transformation and its significant becoming, while imaginal disks remain healthy, imprinted with the genetic material necessary to create the butterfly.
None of us can know what shattering heartbreak we will encounter next on our path, or what we will have to lose around the next bend, but we do know that to be alive is to age, and aging is inherently a losing proposition to which we must surrender, with grace or not.
What I’ve found through my own losses at The Crossroads is that the ultimate win is to surrender. That it is my clinging to my mental constructs that is the source of my suffering. Clinging to what I want, to what I thought, to what I believe, to my fears about the future, my memories from a past, and my fiercely held self-image.
I’m coming to learn that we all must make this descent into a deeper purpose or calling, be it our soul’s calling, or spirit, or our true self trying to emerge, this is a time for digesting and regenerating our cruder nature to transform it into something of significance and a lightness of being. And if we can surrender to the process, perhaps we will emerge something like the butterfly — a being of humble beauty.
Tarini Bauliya moonlights as an author, blogger, Yoga practitioner and instructor, and by day she is an executive Purpose Coach and Sales Whisperer, coaching massively transformative purpose to make sales an honorable profession, one leader at a time. Tarini’s first book is Saved from Enlightenment: The Memoir of an Unlikely Devotee. You could contact her via her website, Twitter or Facebook.