There was a time when I was certain I had it all together. My ego ruled over my life with what appeared to be a reliable set of rules and beliefs forged out of my many experiences. My life worked pretty well then, and I loved and revered my ego’s beliefs. They were welcoming, reassuring and reliable, until one day when they were not.
You feel like roadkill
The entire scaffolding that supported my old self came apart when my wife started verbalizing her desire for a divorce. She filed soon after. The divorce was final in the fall of 2014. Besides being single again, a series of unexpected events caused me to become unwittingly unemployed and haplessly relocated to a strange place in Florida where I knew no one.
Relying on my ego’s advice, I spent years planning for the day when I would be secure, debt free and live happily ever after. But like a Florida armadillo who confidently crosses the road unaware of the car that is coming, I didn’t expect to get ran over by the forces of change. I felt like roadkill with my guts splattered and the buzzards picking through my carcass. This is a gross image, but major life changes can make one feel splattered and helpless.
The armadillo is a great metaphor for this metamorphosis because of the way it evolved. This mammal learned over time to surround its body with a hard, well structure armature for protection. Yet, despite all of its centuries of development, it had no way to construct what it needed to survive the force of an oncoming automobile.
The ego makes plans in the same way. It tries to predict our lives and urges us to create a plan of action that will keep us safe, comfortable and static. But like the armadillo, the ego never accounts for the force behind a major life change. When these transitions come, there are no human-made plans that can withstand their power. It is only then when we discover our ego was wrong and we must develop alternative ways of thinking and being.
Reverence and appreciation
I am grateful for the changes in my life; they were necessary, even the ones I mentioned earlier. These unexpected challenges cracked the protective shell my ego had built and allowed the light of my spirit to shine through. New challenges forced my spiritual caterpillar to enter a metaphysical cocoon and transform me into the person I am today.
There are times, especially when the going gets hard, I long for the easier times when my mind dedicated itself to the illusions of comfort and security. I can still remember how much I revered and counted on the former fantasies I am sure you do the same. This is natural.
But understand this, I emerged a better person from my life changes and I am certain I have surpassed what my old self had in mind. The same can be in store for you if you allow the prospect of new possibilities to shine through the cracks.
I don’t condemn my ego, for it was my trusted guide at one time. It led me to unknown lands and kept me alive. I am grateful for its influence, but now realize I must proceed with a new order, a more important way to view the world and my experiences. My ego is like my Moses who led me to the Promise Land but cannot enter it with me.
From my experiences of change, one important lesson emerged; the miracle of our evolution is that our Higher Self rises from the ashes of the ego consumed in the fire of grief and loss. I am grateful for my old self; may it rest in peace.
Photo by Valentin B Kremer on Unsplash