In 1999, I took a graduate school class titled Paradigms of Consciousness. One class assignment was to write an  autobiographical myth. This process was revealing to me, as it allowed me to step back from my transition and write about it in metaphorical form, giving new dimensions to the process and showing me yet again how transformative this time in my life had been. I would encourage anyone undergoing a major life transformation to approach it in this fashion. You may find you inspire yourself. Here is my personal myth:

Once upon a time, there was a quiet land, unpopulated but for a few cats. This land was very dry, and thirsty. It seldom rained there. When it did, deeply-buried seeds would sprout and bloom suddenly, but would die because no further rain fell. The only creatures able to survive in this dry wilderness were the cats, who were strangely content and purred most of the time.

As the years passed, the land was dimly aware that rain should probably fall more often, that its soil should be less barren, less parched, than it usually was. This dim awareness was partly caused by the presence of the cats, who were very much alive in this barren space where nothing else thrived. In the deep recesses of consciousness, the land wondered whether there should be more living things within its bounds, content as the cats seemed to be.

One Saturday in April, a cataclysm befell the land and rain poured down as never before, drowning the land until it became a sea rather than parched land. Earthquakes shook the bedrock of the land, turning it to quicksand for a time. Nothing was stable! The turbulence was like nothing the land had ever experienced before, and it was overwhelmed. Its awareness was suddenly no longer dim at all, but terrifyingly real and present! The cats rode out the storm, not frantic but perturbed by the upheaval all around them.

In the calm after the storm, the waters gradually receded. That summer was a time of great change. All manner of seeds sprouted that the land had never seen before. Rain fell fairly regularly still, not catastrophically, but in a normal fashion that allowed the seeds to sprout and grow into countless numbers of plants of all varieties. The land had never had more than a few stunted sprouts before, all alike, which had quickly died from lack of nourishment. This sudden plethora of plants was disturbing, and caused the land to feel its ignorance. How to care for itself? How to tend the plants? How to identify the plants???

The land realized it could not support all the sprouts, so chose the hardiest, the most unique, the most beautiful. It weeded the other sprouts, allowing the chosen plants to blossom and grow unimpeded. The cats purred louder than ever. Now the land had shade. It had rain, and looked forward to occasional snow. It had sun. The land had seasons.

The sprouts grew into wonderful and strange trees, strong and resilient. Each was quite different from the others, yet when seen from afar they blended together to form a wonderfully rich and harmonious tapestry of color and form. Each tree put forth fruit as fall approached, attracting many birds from other lands.

The birds fed on the fruit. So entranced were they with the unique flavor of these new kinds of fruit that the birds brought seeds home with them, planting new and wonderful trees in their own lands. Sometimes other residents of these lands saw the strange plants that sprouted from the seeds and were so disturbed they weeded out the new growth. The new plants had no name, were unlike any previously known species, and thus many distrusted such newness. They wanted no part of it on their land, thankyouverymuch!

This did not bother the land, though sometimes it bothered the birds, who loved the new fruit and wanted some for their own lands.

As winter approached, the cats climbed into the new trees and built cat nests for themselves in the hearts of the trees. The trees dropped their leaves, carpeting the once-parched land with gold. The winter sun shone through the branches of the trees. When winter storms came up, the trees bent and swayed, but did not break – their roots were deep, and they were flexible. The cats rode out the storms, in the hearts of the trees. And they purred.

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