Biology of change or how we deal with shit.
Everything we go through we ingest, and everything we ingest, we have to digest. Everyday, we are triggered and receive so much from our environment, how do we cope, how do we swallow? How do we process or how do we digest? Well, it's a vast human question. To digest a muffin, a caress on the cheek, a sweet compliment, a good joke or a job promo is one thing, but how do we deal with the bad news? How do we deal with the sad letter, the break-up, the nasty phone call, the car accident or the death of a loved one? When we face a difficulty, the body reacts. Some of us blush, some of us scream, some of us cry, some of us deny, some of us fight, some of us attempt to breathe, some of us hide, or all of the above in no specified order. The muffin we sniff, we bite, we chew - "it tastes good,or just ok, huh, a little dry today" - then swallow the moist bite easily. Hopefully a decently healthy digestive system does the rest. The morning after, it's flushed in the toilet.
Now what about the break up? Why some of the hardest ones give us a chill along the spin, a shortness of breath, a punch in the heart, a cramp in the belly, and wobbly legs? Why do the news immediately freezes us, mouth wide open with a pain in the throat that hurts like a drill trying to drive a screw in our Adam's apple. It's almost like the body feels before the brain can even catch up, think or react -- needless to say, the brain is fully working at this very moment, activating all sorts of glands and hormonal devices to manage the emergency. It's as if we were blindfolded and presented with very nasty smelly food and had no choice but to eat it. "Nooooo, I don't want to ingest that fucking fender-bender, or the painful fact that you need some time to think, it stinks, I hate it, please can I have a muffin instead, please tell me you love me again, please Time, go back 20 seconds so I'm off my cellphone and my car hasn't touched the front Mercedes' bumper yet, please life, I can't eat this."
But the car in from of you has already pulled over and you're sweating trying to park in the emergency lane behind it. The door is now closed, and the boyfriend is gone. Your hand on the knob, weak and a little sweaty. "Am I going to throw up? I want to throw up. Wait no, belly hurts but heart hurts more. Oh no, the throat again. Ouch my legs, my legs don't support me anymore. Am I alone in the room? Yes. Wait, why is my entire body laying on the floor now? This is not happening. This can't be happening." Next thing you know, you are hunched in a fetal position on the wood floor of the empty room. Like the death groan of the earth entrails or the humph of the avalanche, a painful rale raises from your guts, tears your throat like a blade and explodes in tears outside the mouth, the nose and the eyes. Water, or a geyser rather, starts making its way out now. Why? Because water is dissolution and remedy. It cools the heat. Once the break has happened, it needs to be expressed and transformed. An healthy expression of pain, physical or mental, often both, is externalized and materialized by water. Tears carry out and soothe.
Water is also an the expression of creativity. Clarissa Pinkola Estes mentions it in Women who run with the wolves. Tears are the very expression of the metamorphic process of creativity. A pregnant woman will break her water to give birth to her baby. The seed of the tomato will pushes through the crack of the ground, into a stem, then a plant. But the process won't take place unless rain water enters that split. That cut hurts, put your finger under water.
When you sob and feel like you have to crawl under your bed to hide and process your pain, your body and soul are going into a regressive protective mode, because you're entering the delicate state of metamorphosis, just before the new life is about to live. Your tears are the very water nurturing that blossom. It's the classic metaphor of the larva in the cocoon pushing through to see the light, to live and fly. The change of skin, the delivery of the new, is invariably a very uncomfortable process.
Now if the body doesn't react and the eyes stay dry when the boyfriend you love so much has closed the door, it's only a question of time for a response to occur. The work of the denial brain "the push down and stay inside" can only happen for a while. Eventually digestion needs to take place. We always digest. It might take years, but we, as creature of Nature, have to expel what has been ingested. We might be repressed or too proud and never cry, vomit or shit, but some somatic event will manifest all ingestions, good or bad. The older the resurgence of the shit, the more painful it will be. This is where is gets tricky.
The human animal is always looking to reset to a status quo, the comfortable state of warmth, food and love. So when it's time to change, we tend to panic. Creatures of habit, we fight it. "I don't want to grow", "I don't want to leave", "I don't want you to leave", "I don't want to move", "You have changed", "I want things to be back to the way they were", "I'm cool and my life is perfect like it is". Well, we don't "go back". Granted, we go back to lovers sometimes, but things NEVER go back the way they were. NEVER. Time doesn't time travel. The entirety of our cellular system change every 7 years. Spring never follows after summer. Every second, we are a different us, in a different time, with different beats of life happening within and around us.
This might be one of the greatest paradox for humans. The absolute knowledge that we change, and the common terror of it. Whether you feel prepare or not, whether the break-up was lingering above your head for years or you accidentally find him in a bed with another woman, the change always comes with a break. We create the break to initiate the transformation and it often feels like death. Well it is. In many cultures, death is the birth of life. Again Madame Estès explains the "life/death/life" process very well. The loba, an archetypal wild woman, gathers the bones of the dead to create life. Change is an energetic transformation, which create new life, always. That's the good news. As painful as the change is, it's only a shift of energy, a new cycle of life about to burst open. When the woods burn down to ashes in the fire, the next rain will help the nutrient of the remains penetrate the ground. Next spring will flourish a young tree. Fertility always comes, life alway thrives. So if creatures of habits are programmed to the status quo, they also are made to live, and create the new. WE, people, can only follow that seemingly contradictory flow the best we can, trust its cycle. We can only deal with shit when it comes, and figure out the way to embrace it as a inherent process rather than a foreign slap in the face. Because no matter what, shit has to go through, and exit us to allow the growth.
Shit is a fantastic word and to be taken very literally. The shit we get, good and bad will endlessly return to shit. Only a digested material, as shitty as it seems - and I seemingly paradoxically believe the "shittier" the better - will be the future soil of the new life. The process of digestion is the very process of transformation, of creation. It can be crampy and nauseous, it's a bitch and cracks the heart raw and wide open, but if we ignore it, we only extend the period of pain and delay the new flower to blossom. So when you think "I can't take this shit anymore", well take it anyway, take it all, smell it like the muffin, cover is with tears of joy or rage, sing it, scream at it, hate it, vomit it, but stay with it until it's ready to change. It's your way to tell Nature that you're doing your job at growing up by planting the seed of the rose in the smelly shitty ground of life.