I bought a book* around fifteen years ago.
For some reason I can no longer remember, I did not read the book for almost three years after I got it. There it sat, gathering dust, while I struggled trying to find a foothold in the dense fog. All the while, if I had but read the book, I might have had brilliant light to guide me. Somehow, I find the pointlessness of the thing pretty poignant.
However, there is always a reason for why things happen the way they do. I realized many years later why I hadn’t read the book when I got it first. I wasn’t ready for it. I needed to learn to observe myself as a detached observer. I had yet to learn Sakshi Baav. I had to learn to stop identifying with the me who was living the moments and identify instead, with the me who was witnessing the me living the moments.
When did finally get round to reading the book, I was blown away.
I remember my first reading of it was hurried. It was as if I couldn’t get it into me fast enough. I was so amazed. Incredulity, delight and sheer overwhelm were my predominant emotions. I devored the book greedily like one who was starved as well as thirsty. Some parts of the commentary threw down anchors into my soul, some flitted irreverently past. I knew I had stumbled upon something mammoth.
…I don’t just wish you rain, Beloved – I wish you the beauty of storms…
~ John Geddes
I re-read the book immediately after the first reading, savoring and making copious notes. I let the insights work away at removing rubble so that the reconstruction could begin. I still did not tackle the questions though. I suppose you need a clear space before you can begin re-creating and reinventing. There were parts which simply cemented themselves into the walls of my inner world without fanfare.
All this happened in June and July of 2004. It wasn’t the beginning of the year, but it didn’t matter.
It took me seven full days to answer the ten questions that make the book as powerful as it is. I dug out an old diary to record my journey in. That diary turned into my instrument of deliverance. The seven days of feverish scribbling became my first experience of life giving catharsis.
I wrote as if possessed. Pages filled up faster than I could ever have imagined. Tears flowed endlessly. My head got heavier and heavier. The band around my forehead tightened inexorably. I felt weak with the effort to keep myself afloat while the universe seemed to conspire to drown me once and for all.
On and on my thoughts raced. There seemed no end in sight. I was deeply enmeshed in an awful labyrinth. While despair gnawed at me something began to stir awake within me. I was not aware of it but in hindsight I realized that the awakened me held me together while the storm raged around me.
Through the whole process, I remained unflinchingly honest with myself. With unwavering deliberation I stripped myself of all the alibis I had erected into place to excuse my own inadequacies and failures. I wanted to keep my eyes closed to my own faults.
Trust me, the hardest thing in the world is to look as yourself as objectively as you would look at another. To see your own scars, warts and ugliness plainly and clearly is to tear the lid off your own hell and peer within. I did it, so help me God! It was hardly a sight to gladden sore hearts, but I live to tell the tale.
We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.
~ LeeAnn Taylor
For once my integrity proved to be of direct and immediate benefit to me. As I peeled many layers of conditioning away, I unearthed my deepest motivations. During those seven days I finally unpacked my anger to discover what triggered me off- and why. I dragged out all my belief systems into the light of deliberation. I went over each joint of that belief system inch by inch. I discovered the corruptions which had leached into the timbers, making them warped and misshapen.
I don’t know when the moment of breakthrough happened. But suddenly, I was able to look at the false identifications and perceptions which I had let shackle me. I was forever free of the need to justify or defend myself in response to other people’s wrong evaluations. Their judgments, poor opinions and accusations must never affect me again, I decided. What someone stuffs into their head is none of my business. It has nothing to do with me!
Like magic, my anger issues melted away. People’s opinions- their criticisms, unflattering evaluations and accusatory value judgments- stopped mattering to me. I understood that unless an unfair criticism was fired at me by someone very close, I really did not need to internalize their assessments at all. I felt gloriously and totally free for the first time in my life!
‘How does one become butterfly?’ Pooh asked pensively.
‘You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar,’ Piglet replied.
‘You mean to die?’ asked Pooh.
‘Yes and no,’ he answered. ‘What looks like you will die, but what’s really you will live on.’
~ A.A. Milne
Perhaps the book was merely an excuse. Maybe the time was right for me to undergo that process of transformation anyway- book or not. Or maybe I would have been driven to the book one way or the other because it had already been chosen to carry me to the next level.
Whatever the case maybe, I do recommend that you read it too. Maybe you’re pretty far advanced on your journey already. But then you see, you ARE reading this post. You were brought to it for some reason. Are you sure it wasn’t because the universe thinks it is time to nudge you towards this book?
I don’t know what your journey ahead will be. I don’t know if you will traverse it with the book or without it. I’m sure though, that reading it will certainly enrich and empower you in many ways.
The whole process- of reading, introspecting, answering questions and releasing pain- became the biggest, most moving transformative experience of my life. The time I spent reading the book multiple times, was how I sealed myself in my cocoon. The seven days I spent answering the questions were when the secret, mystical process turned an unwieldy caterpillar into something resplendent.
One Book Is All It Took. Astounding, right?
*The book has been written by Jinny S. Ditzler and is called Your Best Year Yet. The book has been designed as a workbook resource to be used as you step into a new year. It contains ten questions which, when answered honestly, would help you create a faultless road map to ensure that the new year becomes the Best Year you have ever had!
One Book Is All It Took