Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Primordial OOZE

Meet Tiktaalik. You may not know it, but this is a picture of your resistance to change. Actually, this is several steps beyond your first notion of resistance, but it is the first provable specimen of how it feels to change something major in one's life.
Say what?
Imagine life in the Primordial Ooze. It is water, possibly getting thick with algae, crowded with millenia of species perfectly adapted to the ooze, maybe it's a little rank but nonetheless, it is home. It is comfortable, it is what you have known literally Forever. But, inside you there is something saying "there's gotta be more to life than ooze." So you take the first step. You leave the water.
Have you ever sat in the tub and let the water run out? Did you notice how heavy you got? How it felt like a great weight was pressing down on you? Or have you stepped out into a gale of wind and had your breath whipped right out of your lungs, drying your mouth and eyes, clogging your nose? How about sunburn? Chapped lips?
Think about how that first creature must have experienced itself when it first left the water. The crushing pressure, the drying air, the extreme changes in temperature and suddenly it could no longer glide or go with the flow. It had to move step by step all on its own. Imagine the difference! But mostly can you imagine how heavy it's body must have felt? Like walking through a wall with a thousand bricks on your back. Why did it go on against so much resistance?
See where I am going with this?
I bet there must have been hundreds of individuals who weren't ready for the change and who simply died before they got their feet on the ground. Maybe the few that made it were laid as eggs at the edge of the water and as the water dropped their genes responded differently than the generations before, thereby creating an individual already adapted to the New World. (This is adaptive radiation theory and more can be learned from the February 2009 National Geographic - I hope to write more about this later)
However it happened, the first creature to leave the Primoridal Ooze didn't just do it. It wasn't a moment of inspired determination or even a leap of faith. It wasn't even a matter of discipline or commitment. Perhaps there was a drive and maybe there was a vision. There definitely had to be intention involved- the intention to survive? to eat? to lay eggs? Or maybe it was just time. Whatever the reason those first creatures must have felt something pulling them that was stronger than the resistance they faced.
Maybe they really dug the resistance!
Maybe it felt good to really feel themselves defined not by the motion of water but rather by the power of their own movement against something invisible. Think how cool it must have been to not always be reacting to all that is communicated in the water. Why a stone could drop and it wouldn't affect Tiktaalik one bit!
Tiktaalik was suddenly her own self. (It had to have been a female because a female's genes mutate thousands of times faster than males' and her offspring would be quicker to adapt to the new environment. She could go back to the water to get some sperm and then move to the land to have her eggs.)
So this is the girl I think about when I come up against my own resistance. It does seem to come from deep inside me, like some Primordial Ooze, and it seems so powerful. It makes me want to crawl back into that soft, rocking, warm and comfortable place. It makes it difficult to see to the other side. It makes my body heavy and my brain foggy. Anyone able to relate?
So why push on to the other side?
Tiktaalik tells me that it takes time, right timing, several hundreds of small-seemingly insignificant steps and changes that add up to just the strengths needed to survive on land, and it takes drive. She tells me that if I listen deep inside, beyond that murky layer of scum at the edge of mud there is a LAND full of opportunity, safety and new sensations. She tells me that my eggs/ideas will do better out there than back there. She says in her croaky watery dry air voice, "Go girl! go!"
And then with a twinkle in her eye she adds, "watch those first few steps, they are a doozy. But don't worry, it gets easier after that."


Anonymous said...

You know, maybe I would be able to understand your metaphor in a better way if... it's just that I LOVE water, I love to be in this OTHER state.
Ok, going out of the metaphor, I don't agree with you neither or not 100%. Why? Because very often, unfortunately, what I decide to do and that is so meaningful, one would say, is just a question of seconds. Concerning difficult situations and decisions, I do them and while I am on my way to do them, I feel fear, anxiety and am sure I will fail (or more or less sure), but I am still moving toward change. It's just like with my Desmond- I can spend hours or days being freaked out, but still, there was no one second the possibility that I wouldn't meet him and that I wouldn't do my best. Still, all the way long, I will behave as if I was about to give up. But I won't.
I understand, though, that other situations, or the same situations to other people will create a strong need to resistance to action or to change. Then, as coaches, we come with our famous question: "and what is the worst thing that can happen to you if you decide to do XYZ?". Personally, I like to ask to name 3 terrible things- it's impossible that all 3 happen, isn't it?
Now tell me if I made some sense here or just the contrary...

Wildwych said...

I had no idea, Renee. I came here after wishing you happy b-day on FB and found your delightful blog. Don't have time to read it thoroughly, but you can be sure I will. What a fun way to get to know you!

Mary Prewitt
Wildwych Connemaras