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Wake up Part II: The Journey Towards Radical Transformation

By Dr. Nicole Cain ND, MA

There’s something inside of you that won’t rest. Something inside you that says: “life is more than this.” A stirring, deep within your core, a mere whisper… or a flutter by your ears. You turn and look, and it has disappeared. You go on with your day, the feeling forgotten or set aside. But it has always been there. In those moments of quiet, it speaks to you, it says: “Let me out.”

To hear the still, small, voice, you have to listen.

And the next step is to begin…

Today is part 2 of “Wake Up: How to Wake Up and Live the Life You Were Meant to Live.”

Today we are going to talk about destiny, existential collapse, and radical transformation.

If you feel stuck, if there is a voice inside of you begging to be set free, you’ll want to keep reading.

The Calling: Acorn Theory

In his book The Soul’s Code, author and psychologist, James Hillman describes what he refers to as The Acorn Theory. This is the idea that our lives are formed by a particular design, just as an oak tree’s destiny is contained in the small acorn.

An average acorn is approximately 4 centimeters long, 1 centimeter broad, and weighs around 2 ounces. Inside of this acorn is the potential to grow a tree which can stretch over 75 feet tall, and produce over 10,000 acorns, half a million leaves and live for over 150 years.

One of the oldest oak trees east of the Mississippi river is the Angel Oak tree located in Charleston, South Carolina. This majestic tree looks like it came out of a fairytale. Standing 65 feet or 6 stories in height, its broad branches shade an area of 17,000 square feet and it is estimated to be 400-500 years old.

This tree has been around since the early 1500’s and it has survived the rise of Western civilization, the Protestant Reformation, the birth life and death of Galileo Galilei who made the first thermometer and contributed to the Scientific Revolution, countless plagues, hurricanes, wars, innovations, rising and falling of empires, through birth, death, existential collapse, re-birth, and with every single breath by every single living being, all the way up to the moment that you were conceived.

As the world turned and the sun rose and fell, the Angel Tree, birthed from a single small acorn, grew and survived.

We all come from acorns. Starting with a small cell, that unites with another small cell. Forming a zygote with endless potential and a unique destiny.

Dr. Hillman urged his colleagues to relinquish the pragmatic approach to psychology, and to embrace a practice pursuing greater meaning, expansive depth, and an openness to the questions of purpose, destiny, and growth.

Do we stay inside of our acorn? Allowing the protective outer shell to surround us and keep us safely encapsulated? Or do we break the walls open, let in the light, and take root?

Arthur Burt was quoted as saying: “Nothing happens until the pain of remaining the same outweighs the pain of change.”

And, so we ask ourselves the question: Am I living my true calling and mission? Or am I living on autopilot, protected by my outer shell?

And: What would it cost me to break free?

Key Points:

  • We have a destiny
  • We can change
  • We can grow
  • We have hard exteriors that protected us
  • But they must burst open in order for a sprout to take root
  • By breaking open that acorn we turn into a majestic tree

How to Begin:

There’s something inside of you that won’t rest. Something inside you that says: “life is more than this.” A stirring, deep within your core, a mere whisper… or a flutter by your ears. You turn and look, and it has disappeared. You go on with your day, the feeling forgotten or set aside. But it has always been there. In those moments of quiet, it speaks to you, it says: “Let me out.”

To hear the still, small, voice, you have to listen. And the next step is to begin.

Throughout our life, our experiences and emotions are stored as charged clusters. With the potential to radically change the map of your very existence. Bracing, with the next breath, bursting with potential to create radical transformation.

And so the first step is to AWAKEN.

We rise up by going deep. By diving into the unknown recesses of your experience and breaking open your unconscious and exploring the clusters of your life.

Practically speaking:

  • Acknowledge where you came from: Identify where you are, and reverse engineer how you got here. Make note of important milestones. Ask this question: Who was I before the world told me who I was?
  • Read Rumi: Rumi was a Persian poet and Sufi master born over 800 years ago in 1207. He writes about love, death, creation and takes the reader on a journey of discovering our own search for meaning and purpose.
  • Step into the Zone of Proximal Development: A concept by Psychologist Scott Miller, the Zone of Proximal Development describes the area just outside of your comfort zone. This is the area where you learn and grow and become uncomfortable. This is the area where the magic happens. The area that will bring you to the threshold.

How to Be in the Liminal Space: Living at the Threshold of Change

In anthropology, which is the study of human society, culture and development, the word liminality refers to a state of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs when one is at a threshold of transformation.

Liminal = Disorientation from being at a threshold of transformation

Liminal comes from the Latin word līmen, which means threshold, doorway, beginning of, commencement, or entrance. Līmen may have originated from the word līmus, which is Latin for askew.

One of the first steps in transformation is disorientation.

I was speaking with a friend recently. She described to me how she had spent her entire life following the religion she had been brought up in. She formed her identity and values around a system of beliefs handed to her as a child, and she made decisions from a frame of reference that was constructed on a set of rituals and systems created by the larger organization.

But then six months ago tragedy struck, and she lost someone very close to her. Her world was falling apart around her and she sought comfort from her religious leader who cited scripture, offered words of hope and encouragement.

It wasn’t enough. Her acorn had been shattered. The shell that protected her for over 30 years had crumbled, and she was left disoriented.

She had entered liminal space.

There are three important keys for being in liminal space:

  • The first is to remember that the acorn must break open in order for the sprout to burst forth and take root. A tree cannot stay contained within the shell and grow at the same time. To be shattered is to be freed from captivity.
  • Bring forth transformational presence: Something inside of you has been waiting to be known. That small voice inside of you has waited for this moment since the beginning of time, and now is the time to let it speak. Let it share its message with you. This is the message of your soul. Sit down with this presence and listen.
  • Trust yourself: The voice of the liminal space is designed to shake the dead branches off of your tree, to break down what was in order to make room for what is to become, to shatter the foundation of who you were in order to build anew who you are becoming. Living in the liminal space, trusting the process and flowing with it will become the roads by which you will travel.

Radical Transformation:

Waking up, going deep, breaking down, living in the liminal, and persevering creates a foundation for radical transformation.

The word radical refers to entire, absolute, and revolutionary. Transformation describes a change, alteration, or modification for improvement. Together, radical transformation is a term that describes a completely amazing, all-encompassing, modification that inspires awe in those who perceive the change.

From radical transformation, we see new life, shedding of old complexes, and an awakening from the psychiatric slumber that occupies the majority of human consciousness.

There are two steps that remain. They are:

  • Receiving joy, and
  • Maturing in service.

Let’s talk about the question: How do we receive joy?

Receiving Joy

  • Cherish life: One of the reasons I love the desert so much is that it shows me how precious life is. If a plant is willing to grow out of the crevice of a rock, in 110-degree weather, with no rain for months, there must be something special about being alive. As you move about your day, look for life in particular places. Find a plant growing out of cracks in the concrete or moss growing on a fallen tree.
  • Honor the resistance: The resistant part of you has learned that receiving joy is not safe, or deserved, or right for you. Sometimes gifts are given with strings attached, other times gifts are used as weapons for manipulation. True freedom and honesty is found in honoring the resistance and receiving what is pure and right.
  • Gratitude: Mindfully noting the small things we receive daily will help us feel more comfortable receiving in a larger way. Maybe it’s something as simple as someone holding the door for you, or sending you a nice message. Choose something each day to mindfully take notice of. Healthy lungs that bring in oxygen and remove carbon dioxide. A piece of food on your plate. Mechanics who fix your car when it breaks down, or farmers who harvest crops from the field and bring them to your grocery store.
  • Learn to accept compliments: When someone compliments you, respond with “Thank you for noticing,” or “thank you for your kind words.” Or simply with “thank you.”

To receive joy is to integrate the life that you want. To share light with the cells in your body, and to allow that light to radiate back out into the world. This is the method by which we may mature in service. Erick Erickson described this in the 7th of his 8 stages in the theory of psychodevelopment. The 7th stage is called: Generativity versus Stagnation. Erickson postulates that part of the process of being fully alive is to identify a sense of greater purpose in the big picture. In this awareness, individuals value contribution, investment in others, and the virtue of caring. These are the seeds of Maturing in Service.

How to Mature in Service:

There are three key steps in maturing in service, they are:

  • Turning your eyes outward: Your journey has required deep introspection, inward analysis, destruction and finally reconstruction. Next is the refocusing on those around you. Taking mindful notice of how you can serve, share, and care for the environment, the marginalized, and humanity. What is your calling? Who are you and what is it you bring to this world that is unique to you?
  • Integrate the opposites: Our natural instinct is to swing from chaos to rigidity. It can feel much sturdier to hold onto a solid foundation, but if a tree’s roots and branches are too rigid, they will break in the wind. Just like my friend, whose rigid worldview was shattered when a hurricane of loss flooded her life. Hold the opposites mindfully, one in each hand. Hold them at the same time and allow yourself to fluidly and mindfully honor each of these and release the need to change them. Simply observe and be.
  • Lastly: Speak Truth w/Love: Every word has the potential to give life, or destroy life. Always speak truth, but always speak with love.

I want to share with you a story from the White Mountain Apache, adapted from Mythic storyteller, Michael Meade, in his book: Why the World Doesn’t End.

Not too far away, there is a special cave that contains divine knowledge of the wonders and workings of the world. Tucked away in the side of a giant mountain, and despite cities, road, satellites, and detailed maps, the cave remains unfound.

The cave possesses a profound wisdom. It offers the knowledge of how to act when dark times come, and what to do when the world tips away from order and falls into chaos.

Unaffected by the passage of time, confusion of life, and strife of human existence, an old woman lives inside of the cave. She spends most of her time weaving in the cave, and has a longer sense of time, and deeper capacity for vision. Her heart’s desire is to fashion the most beautiful garment in the world and has been working on her project for a long, long time. She has worked with love and diligence, and she has finally reached a point where she was weaving the last fringes of the garment.

In the back of the cave is a cauldron hanging over an ancient fire, containing a soup containing all the seeds and roots that become the grains and plants and herbs that sprout up all over the surface of the Earth.  The seeds must be regularly stirred and attended to in order to survive, and if the old woman fails to stir the ancient seeds they will be burned by the fire and destroyed and many troubles in the world would arise from that.

So, the old woman divides her efforts between weaving the exquisite cloak and stirring the elemental soup. In a sense, she is responsible for weaving things together as well as for stirring everything up. She senses when the time has come to let the weaving go and stir things up again. Then, she leaves the weaving on the floor of the cave and turns to the task of stirring the soup. Because she is old and tired from her labors and because of the relentless passage of time, she moves slowly and it takes a while for her to amble over to the cauldron.

As the old woman shuffles across the floor and makes her way to the back of the ancient cave, a black dog watches her every move. The dog was there all along. Seemingly asleep, it awakens as soon as the old weaver turns her attention from one task to the other. As she begins stirring the soup in order to sustain the seeds, the black dog moves to where the weaving lies on the floor of the cave. The dog picks up a loose thread with its teeth and begins pulling on it. As the black dog pulls on the loose thread, the beautiful garment begins to unravel. Since each thread has been woven to another, pulling upon one begins to undo them all. As the great stew is being stirred up, the elegant garment comes apart and becomes a chaotic mess on the floor.

When the old woman returns to take up her handiwork again, she finds nothing but chaos where there had been a garment of great elegance and beauty. The cloak she has woven with great care has been pulled apart, the fringe all undone; the effort of creation has been turned to naught. The old woman sits and looks silently upon the remnants of her once-beautiful design. She ignores the presence of the black dog as she stares intently at the tangle of undone threads and distorted patterns.

After a while, she bends down, picks up a loose thread, and begins to weave the whole thing again. As she pulls thread after thread from the chaotic mess, she begins again to imagine the most beautiful garment in the whole world.

As she weaves, new visions and elegant designs appear before her and her old hands begin to knowingly give them vibrant shape. Soon she has forgotten the cloak she was weaving before as she concentrates on capturing the new design and weaving it into the most beautiful garment ever seen in the world.

 

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This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Whenever considering changing your protocol whether it includes a change of medications, supplements, diet or lifestyle, always speak with your primary care physician first. Dr. Nicole Cain consults with clients locally and internationally. Dr. Nicole Cain ND MA has helped countless people take back control of their lives, and she can help you. To set up a complimentary consultation, call our office or visit https://drnicolecain.com/getting-started to schedule online.
Dr. Nicole Cain is an advocate for empowering people around the world to help themselves via her educational video e-courses, books, and exclusive free Facebook group. You can receive the tools you need to find the root cause of your symptoms and feel healthy again.

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