When we’re in the middle of the challenges life so generously provides, what often escapes us is the fact that growth or “becoming” usually involves discomfort. If we’re feeling this, the least helpful thing to do is try to medicate out of it or, in the case in the following story, go back to sleep. “Pain,” as I wrote in my book, “Sand”, “is the ultimate crowbar.” This is because it helps to separate us from our old selves. That is, if we allow it to do so by feeling into it and by making changes that make us more aware, connected human beings.
When in these throes, it’s best to ask ourselves where we feel the discomfort, and why. We may observe whether we’re fighting or medicating to decrease the pain without learning the lesson. If we’re doing these things (common), growth begins when we ask ourselves how can we get to a place where we’re observing, so the lessons can be revealed to us.
There are many methods to do this. I won’t go into them here, but once we decide we’re ready, my experience is that the method of our growth will find us.
The original title of this piece was called “Geoff’s Station”, which is a wordplay on “gestation”. If we’re growing or getting ready for it… that’s exactly what we are doing. After all, we were all meant for becoming, for joy, for peace.
The time has come to allow it!
The sun beat translucent light into the room where Geoff still slept, snoring. How long he had been there was anyone’s guess, but since he had arrived he had done nothing but sleep; sound, solemn, deep sleep.
Time passed, and he finally stirred.
“Ah,” he said as he stretched his back. He blinked his eyes and a weary smile crept across his face. The smile faded almost as quickly as it had started and his eyes closed and his breathing deepened once again.
Later, Geoff’s eyes sprung open, as if he had been jabbed in the backside. He did not move, but lay there in his bed.
“Oh, I wish I could go back to sleep,” he thought to himself in his groggy mind.
Just the memory of the rest he had just experienced brought a dimming smile to his face. But Geoff could not now go back to sleep; he was certainly awake. He shifted back and forth in his bed, but it was as if it had grown too small for him. His covers were apparently tucked in too tightly in the edges, and he swore softly as he struggled to be free of their suffocating embrace.
“Come on…what the…” as he struggled to get one of his arms free, which he couldn’t do.
Geoff stopped struggling for a moment, panting. The covers held him tightly as before. Feelings of claustrophobia swept over him, but he batted them away.
Geoff looked up to the ceiling, which now seemed much closer than it should be. It showed a steady dim glow from no source in particular. It was as if the whole room was made of thick paper. Oddly, no point of the room was brighter or darker than the other. Also, he noticed, the covers on his bed were the same color as the walls. The room was monochromatic.
“Some decorator,” Geoff thought to himself. “At least the bed is comfortable. Or was,” he thought wistfully.
Geoff tried a half-dozen more times to free an arm, either arm, from the bed’s grip with the same result. He lay back in bed, resigned for the moment, panting. His mind raced. He felt bound and he began to panic. This time he was unable to dismiss his frustration.
“This must be what it’s like to be in a straitjacket! I have to get out of here. This is too much. I can’t handle this any more!”
All at once, he had an idea. He would bang his head on the ceiling, which was now right in front of his face. He couldn’t move his arms, but his head and neck were free enough. He could move his neck, flex it backwards as far as the bed would allow, and then fling it upwards to bounce his forehead off the ceiling, which seemed to be getting lower all the time. This he did, to no avail. However, as he was in the act of flinging his head upwards with his might, to his surprise, his right arm broke partially loose of the covers.
His struggles against the ceiling ceased for the moment as he concentrated on freeing his right arm, which he did.
A look of relief spread over his face. He now felt he could get more leverage. Alas, he was wrong. The room was so tight against him now that he could not get his arm up in front of his face in such a way as to be able to push with very much force.
“Ah!” he yelled, and banged his head with all his might against the ceiling.
To his terror, a crack appeared.
It wasn’t the fact that there was a crack in the ceiling that caused the terror. It was the light that came in, hard and blinding. Although he had been breathing heavily from anxiety and exertion of the situation, he now held his breath as he closed his eyes tight. But the light seemed bright even through his eyelids. After a while, when the surprise and pain of the light subsided, he was able to think clearly and look at the crack through squinted eyes. He could see nothing beyond the fissure; the light that came in prevented it.
Geoff lay in his bed, breathing almost normally once again. The light beat down into his eyes and onto his forehead, maddeningly. A small bead of sweat started at his hairline and coursed into one of his squinted eyes, stinging. Geoff fought off another wave of panic, but his conclusion was the same.
“I have to get out of here,” he thought, “Why would this happen to me? What did I do?”
He had these thoughts even though he was afraid of the light, as bright as it was. He had never experienced anything so bright. In the end, however, his fear of staying in the tight bed and room overcame his fear of any light. He resolved to get out of there, no matter what.
With that, he made another frantic push with his head against the ceiling. To his surprise, his whole face stuck up through the ceiling, framed.
“What in the world?”
The fact that his head was held up in the ceiling gave his right arm just enough room from below his body and he gave a tremendous shove against it. This tore away a large chunk of it. His head, right arm and shoulder were now out of the confining space. His arm held him up as he surveyed his surroundings, his eyes adjusting for the first time. He could feel his left arm free the last of its restraint from below, helping to support him.
Geoff couldn’t believe what he saw. As monochromatic as his room had been, this world was not. Colors he could not even comprehend now massaged his senses. He stared, gape-mouthed, at his surroundings.
“I can’t believe I ever wanted to go back to sleep!” he exclaimed joyously. “I’ll never sleep again!
Green grass, white-tipped mountains, blue sky, brown soil, dark woods and an azure ocean were all within Geoff’s line of sight. He took a deep breath of the warm air and smelled ripe fruit mixed with an oceanic breeze, welling up to the top of the hill where he was. He was home.
His gestation now complete, Geoff smiled broadly and with a final, mighty shove pushed away the outer shell of the egg, freeing himself completely.
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