For the past week or so, tension has been building in my nervous system. I colored with crayons the other day and instead of easy doodling, I scribbled with so much force, one of my crayons broke. Later in the week, my chiropractor touched my spine and without any conversation or prompting said, “When you go home you need to break some plates.” Just by touching my spine, she could sense the tension thrumming through me. I didn’t break any plates (who’s going to clean those up?) but I did punch some pillows and indulge in silent screaming.
It didn’t help.
Instead, the tension remains like a brand on my body. I keep trying to dissipate it, to go back to feeling peaceful, but maybe I’m not supposed to feel that way. In his book The 12 Stages of Healing, Donald Epstein writes, “When we have become disconnected from, or have denied the reality of, our internal power – or if we have not expressed our innate potential – we often become angry … [however, as healing progresses] the initial irritation, upset, or anger is gradually replaced by a deep sense of self-respect and the desire to truly honor who we are.”
I’m not past the anger, I’m still getting in touch with what all this tension is about, but I resonate with Epstein’s message about truly honoring who we are. As we enter into a new year according to the Jewish calendar, I feel the energy of change. I’m being transformed. Some might say I’m like a piece of coal being turned into a diamond, but that’s a myth. Diamonds are related to coal, but they’re the purer cousin so no, if you squeeze coal really, really hard, it will not become a diamond. When discussing this with a friend, she said a more apt metaphor is that of a seed.
To become a full-fledged plant, a seed exerts force in two directions. It pushes roots down into the ground but it also shoots up into the air. The force to push through a hard-shell casing is tremendous. It’s also miraculous, which I’m witnessing firsthand and in real time. I’m growing basil, cilantro, sage, and parsley from seeds. I planted these seeds, watered them daily, and then literally overnight, boom. Seedlings. While the process may have been gradual, for me as an observer of the process, it wasn’t that way at all.
I’ve written numerous times about feeling like a seed buried in dark, fertile soil, meaning life felt slow, quiet, perhaps even confusing. Right now, anyway, that’s no longer true. Instead, I identify with the seedling, bursting forth and experiencing something new. Because of the timing of all this tension, I wonder if it’s related to the novel writing class I’m taking. Meaning, I wonder if like the seeds, now that I’m giving myself the metaphorical nutrients to support the novel I’m working on, the magic and life force within me are busting out. I’m transforming. I want change to be easy, meaning less intense, but as I take my cues from nature, I realize transformation is the opposite.
This post is about me, but it’s also about everyone. Whether you celebrate the Jewish New Year or not, whether you’re experiencing a change of season temperature-wise or not, things are changing. It’s undeniable. And if you’re also feeling tense, I wonder if you can view it as a sign you, too, are transforming.
I dream of a world where we recognize change requires pressure and force. A world where we understand not all tension is bad. A world where we honor the cycles of our lives and support ourselves as we birth something new like the metaphorical seedlings we are.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.