Tag Archives: transformation

Before it’s too late…

DSCF0672I’ve been transformed. There I’ve said it—it may feel like I’ve just dumped an overblown heap of pseudo wellness speak or new age bullshit on you but this isn’t like that. It is the actual thing of transformation, before the word started being used in mission statements, yoga studio bathrooms or political ads.

What I’m talking about is the sense of slipping out of  your life and into another, only you are in the same body, driving the same car, with mail addressed to where you still live. But suddenly the old gimmick you used for so long to enter into the world is no longer needed, that half-truth you were telling yourself and others, about your life, about moment after moment when your heart’s subliminal, traitorous subtext was screaming at you: I don’t care. I don’t care. 

Gone. All those discouraging voices have disappeared like magic, and what is left is the actual thing you trying to discover, so easily seen now in the outline of buildings , textured and contrasted against the sky; people’s intentions appear undiluted and transparent, like veins you never noticed before. Their agenda so obviously void of you. Agree to disagree? Yes, probably a good idea at this point.

My former life, the one before the transformation, is like a nice but slow patient I must put my arm around and through the crook of its arm and walk to a bench, any old bench in a park say, at dusk. I put my hands on its shoulders and shift it onto the wood, see it firmly seated then say adieu in as cheerful a manner as I can muster.

Walking away, I remind myself change doesn’t come without something—someone— making room for its fruition, and that real transformation is a long haul, only fully complete after it is considered in reflection, a death having occurred of some kind or another.

But I’m talking around the facts. The truth is I went to an intense writing residency for ten days and it changed my life. Or rather, it reminded me of life, the one I used to live, when I wrote and performed my writing all the time. Something so important to my happiness yet year by year I let it go; sometimes on purpose, to prove I could what? Sacrifice? Not be selfish? Be a good mother. Oh, maybe it was to survive. That was it. A lot of it. For years. Like a fog bank that moves in, I could see no other way. And then I spent 10 days with poets and Susan Musgrave. Yeah, if you know of Susan then you’re nodding right now. You get it.

In the book Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott talks about just showing up at the blank page to write, chipping away at it, she urges writers to just keep staying in motion, moving towards the moment when you give your attention completely to the doing, even if it feels like you can’t wrap your arms around all you have to, the immensity of the task, its blinding and potentially life threatening call to truth, insurmountable. You write anyway.

You write anyway.

I want the habit, of writing anyway. I want to live a life that calls me to the page each day. That’s what I know now that I didn’t know then. As in a month ago.

The latin roots of transformation are trans meaning “across” and  formare meaning “to form” so I take this to mean that it affects every part of your life, the very nature of your chemical makeup is somehow altered, and a new form comes into being.

I am so grateful for the wakening to go across and to form. To have the just-in-time love affair with my own life again, my poems, before it was too late.

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Filed under Non-fiction, Poetry


Birthdays require reflection. For me, this year, it requires transformation. Sometimes an emotional tsunami sends you reeling out into distant ether where you are lost to yourself. The gift is the view of your life as it was–bombed out, shelled by pestilent emotions, annihilated–which you can never return to again. Last year at this time I was struggling to understand why the person I loved had left me. Now, a year later, I can see everything so clearly: the disfigured flotsam and jetsam of lies, the idle promises that I held like they were Frodo’s ring to my heart, the blind beliefs in an imaginary world, and the rose-coloured glass through which I looked at my life so as to keep myself isolated from memory.

Picking over the bits and pieces, the disconnected selves, the shattered illusions, and reams of words, words, words, I can poke around like a calm character from CSI; I think out loud to myself, ah so this is objectivity then feel internally that it is, in fact, wondrous.

It isn’t easy to re-build. You’ve got to say no to those things that want to come back, those weeds that you’ve never had the strength to resist or didn’t notice growing there so viciously, wrapping themselves around your ankles and weighing you down like a virus. Sometimes it will require gently saying, ‘I’m sorry, will you come back?’ Sometimes it will require saying ‘I know you thought I was that but I’m this‘. There will be people that don’t like your new life. That is good. It means they weren’t supporting you anyway. Maybe they are your mother. Maybe your brother. Or wife. Or friend or sister. Doesn’t matter. Being true to yourself isn’t for the faint-hearted. The work of transformation is not a walk with Oprah in a lavender farm with puppies frolicking all around. It has to get a little messy, ratchety, dirty even, before you sow the seeds that will grow into beautiful, loving flowers who smile when you walk past whispering your true name with deeply rooted certainty.

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Filed under Non-fiction

Your life at the top

Some nights I wonder if I what I am doing is the right thing. It’s midnight, I haven’t seen the light of day in 48 hours, only the cold glow of my computer screen and a sputtering lamp with a light bulb that needs changing. It’s lean in the house, the cupboards need stocking, the cat meows, the plant droops, and the growling hunger of my son is ever-present.

Why don’t I just give up? Let go. Cave. Succumb. Go silent. Fall down. The mountain.

Because I know this moment is where the real work has begun, the summit, when you swing yourself over and up and there, above you, is sky and air, the kind you were dreaming of that intoxicates your life and makes you remember what you were climbing for. Only, just before that, the oxygen is thin, and it feels like hell, and it’s midnight and a long time since you were touched. It’s midnight and the only sound is the rain and your own voice in your head telling you to just keep going.

The thing is, happiness isn’t some stroke of luck, it’s not won in a card game, it’s most certainly not delivered by the promises of others. It’s hard work. It’s huge sacrifice. It’s defining things so clearly you can know exactly what to bring into your life and what to keep out. It’s being disciplined enough to ignore the low-hanging fruit: the easy job, the adoring but fleeting man, the phony friend, the flat-line marriage, or for some, the next bottle or numbing needle. It’s hard, I won’t lie to you, to follow the voice in your deepest of hearts that says to climb to the top of your mountain. But that mountain is what requires you to dive into your resources and see just what you have. What are you made of? it asks. And it pushes you beyond what you ever imagined you could do.

That is the sweet spot. I’m staying focused like a boxer in a dressing room. Because I feel like I’m just on the cusp of it. I am hoping those who really love me stay with me. Transformation is not for the faint of heart. It will not require luck. It will not require money. It will not require help. It requires that you honour that which is calling you forward. Put your ear to it and hear it before your life passes by you for one more moment.

Will you hear it?


Filed under Non-fiction