When we are in transition, depending on how serious the breakdown is, we may feel as though almost every aspect of life has been disrupted. The old certainties, the old habits and comfort zones, have been dive-bombed. The old home, the old job, the old “me,” may be almost gone. It may be the time to ask, “What is that essential core of who I am that remains through all this upheaval?” This is an important question, because it is this remnant that will be the starter for the new stage of our growth.
The thing about this remnant, this core of being, is that we often don’t discover it until the force of change has stripped away the outer layers of past certainties and securities. Just as the seeds of the eucalyptus trees in Australia can’t germinate until they are exposed to the intense heat of a forest fire, so, too, there may be deep parts of ourselves that are activated only when the shallower layers are stripped away.
And it isn’t just about survival; it is about growth and transformation. The new you that comes through the blast of change will not be just a shadow of your former self, but truly a new you, with deeper layers of your personal potential exposed and invited to grow and flourish. For example, through apparent disaster you may discover skills you never knew you had. You may discover qualities that had never previously been called upon, such as resilience, patience, ingenuity, empathy with others going through similar upheavals, and even a sense of humor to laugh through the tears and glimpse the rainbow through the rain.
—Excerpted from The Other Side of Chaos by Margaret Silf