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Getting over past fears and sparking transformation

Transformation Dance. Photo: Olivia Fermi © 2006

A blog about human transformation and social evolution.

I was going through a difficult life transition about 15 years ago and decided to go to the SPCA, just to look. A cacophony of barking greeted me as I paused to peer inside each cage at the dogs waiting to be adopted. A large mutt jumped straight up in the air, over and over.

Most were too big and lunging at the front of the enclosures. I felt my gut tightening.

Then I saw a medium–sized black and tan dog, hiding behind some others. The clerk said she was 6 months old. When I took the pup out for a trial walk around the parking lot we bonded.

I took my new dog home the next day and named her Qalba (Kah–bah). Qalb is Arabic for heart and is associated with a subtle heart centre for joy. I wanted to invite a dance with my heart so each time I said her name I was also calling to the joy in my life to come. And it did. My life began to open in happy new ways, including the joys my new dog brought to me.

We had many adventures together. Qalba was a wonderful dog, eager to learn and to please, very friendly with other dogs and people. Still I knew Qalba had been abused in her former life, because occasionally she would quake if someone extended a hand to her too quickly. But then as soon as they slowed down, she would be fine.

One day, my girlfriend’s daughters were visiting from out of town. They were used to dogs, had two of their own, and were very excited to meet Qalba for the first time.

We were all surprised when she cowered behind me trembling, frozen in fear at the sight of the two girls. I gently encouraged her, while the girls stood quietly, but to no avail. We decided to leave her alone for a little while. Before we left, I said to Qalba, “we’re going to lunch. You stay here and maybe when we come back you’ll feel differently and want to play.”

When we returned, she was clearly still scared, but now wanted to make contact with the girls. She tentatively moved toward them. Soon the three were running and playing hide and go seek in a nearby park. Qalba’s transformation was joyful and delighted us. She'd shed her fear of the girls, and got past her trauma of having been abused.

So often, going about our day, we notice the barriers between what we long for and our limitations. Like Qalba, we might know that a situation is safe, yet be afraid. Or sometimes we might have the opposite reaction and become overly aggressive in pushing for change or stopping what’s wrong. Soon there’s tightness and constriction where good intentions were sprouting. It can feel like our restrictions (from ego patterns or trauma) and our Higher Self (resilient, unconditioned self) are held apart. Yet I believe they want to touch each other.

When they do, life transforms.

Where there was tension, now there’s a feeling of freedom, room to breathe, space to see. And more than that: insights spontaneously arise, clearing the way for potent action. It’s like a dance within you, between your conditioned self and your Higher Self. Cultivating the dance, seeing transformation becomes a natural part of everyday life.

This blog is about engaging the friction between our conditioning and our unconditioned self to spark the transformation dance. Sometimes I’ll be writing about personal psychology and spirit, sometimes cultural and social evolution — our collective transformation dance.


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