I sort of hate the way people compare human growth & change to that of a caterpillar – butterfly situation. I understand that it is transformative when you make emotional leaps & bounds, but really, unless you’ve been transsexually challenged or somehow similarly transmogrified, I don’t think the analogy stands.
Not to belittle emotional metamorphosis. This is huge. Life changing. Incredible. Believe me, I get it. Yet, I think what actually happens to create that feeling is “a little death”. Or more accurately what the French call, La petite mort.
La petite mort is typically used to describe the feeling of spiritual release that comes with orgasm (physiologically caused by the release of oxytocin in the brain). But the term can also be used when something painful has happened to a person and has affected them so much that “a part of them dies inside”. The transformative moment comes next. Death ends one existence so a new one can begin. The ashes from which the phoenix can rise.
By creating the expression La Petite Mort, the French nailed it. (Pun intended?) One descriptive term used to express the overwhelming release that comes from any deeply powerful ending. – But more accurately, it describes the release that comes from allowing an ending to actually complete. Because, as we all know, some endings linger, often because we wont let them go.
Sometimes it seems easier to let go by becoming angry.
But that’s really just holding on to poison instead of loss.
I’m no expert in endings, or rebirths. But I have witnessed a few; and I have recognized some of my own – after the fact. Yet, if I could be good at it, if I could orchestrate my own metamorphosis, I know how I’d like for it play out.
I would hope that within my my own petite mort I would sense the beauty that is to come. I would hope to embrace the loss within the love that created what is now gone. I would hope to feel the grace that had passed through me. And I would hope to have the courage to greet whatever is to be reborn with open arms.
May you dream you are dreaming, in a warm soft bed
And may the voices inside you that fill you with dread
Make the sound of thousands of angels instead
Tonight where you might be laying your head
I wish you well
On your way to the wishing well
~ with Love, jbb