Every now and then the earth seems to shift under my feet. No early morning Northern California earthquake rumble, or massive New York snowstorm's icy street -- nope, I am talking about the destabilizing shake up of a new perspective or perception of the self.
My first memory of this type of wake-up call happened when I was heading towards nine years old. I remember vividly. I was at day camp with my friends realizing that I was two distinct entities. First, I was a girl and second, I was a wholly separate individual. These realizations hit me like a lightning bolt. This seemingly sudden awareness came out of nowhere. As a total tomboy, I was dumbfounded that there were no professional female football players so my attempt to follow along with my older brother's dream career came quickly to an end. Fortunately for me, my father pointed out that there were plenty of female doctors so my second career choice was still a viable option.
The consciousness of my self as a separate individual from my close-knit family was a real eye opener. It was scary and exciting at the same time. Being rather fearless, this newly found separateness launched an entire life story of freedom seeking and travel. I still remember spending hours cutting out pictures of places I wanted to see and explore. And no one needed to go with me! I was free to have desires all my own.
Years later I discovered that nine is precisely the age in which studies indicate that most girls recognize their gender difference. And yet for each girl it is truly earth-shaking news.
Many of the other major shifts in consciousness happened when experiencing those expected big moments in my life cycle; falling in love, the death of a parent, and at the absolute top of my list -- becoming a mother. These are the easy places to understand the internal changes that happen.
What are not so clear are those illuminating and transformative shifts that light up your psyche when you are least expecting it. Historically, this happens most often when I am traveling. Standing on some ancient hilltop of my ancestry or dancing in a circle of women on a boat 7,000 miles from home. Perhaps it is engaging in expansive heart-opening experiences that allows for a new window to pop open in our brains. It always feels like a huge gift has been dropped down in front of me -- a gigantic dose of new awareness to contemplate and feel.
With many externally inspired earth-shifting moments in my past, I now relish with joy when a new perception or enlightening consciousness reveals itself to me when I am just sitting still connecting to the knowledge of the universe from the inside out.
What are some of your transformative moments? When do they happen for you?