[For those of you looking for information about my book, please click here. What follows is the original blog post, from which the title of the book is taken.]
The journal posts from the last ten days require a little explanation, because the challenges have surged to a level which made my remaining time with Karaj a more intense development experience than I thought possible. Those entries mark the beginning of a testing period of my life; one with exceptional learning opportunities and insights, but also piercing confrontations, challenges from all angles, and long, demanding days of evidence, feedback and reflection.
The challenges were necessary, but there were a number of occasions when I desired only to be left alone, or even to disappear. I saw the same in the eyes of the others, yet we stayed and worked tirelessly, supporting and challenging each other along the way. Eventually, and with much repetition, we grew.
But not once did I ever wake up feeling like a different person. There were only incremental improvements. In the same way species evolve, laying down a spectrum of modifications, along which it is impossible to discern precisely where one species ends and another begins, I have evolved into the person I am today. Natural selection is a ruthless and unforgiving regulator of life, and my training under Karaj had a similarly forceful effect on my character. I evolved gradually. The challenges and confrontations provided the conditions required to weed out ineffective patterns and strategies, and encourage and establish more successful ones.
Repetition. Every day. Over and over again. Becoming the master of anything takes patience and practice. Mastering yourself is no different, but there is no need for a major overhaul because so much of who we are is already in place. Furthermore, it’s useful to know that our old habits may never disappear completely; I experience echoes of how I used to be because, although I have moved a long way forward, I am still the same person. I’m just better at being me. Much better. More equipped to deal with all the things which used to knock me sideways. An improved version of myself.
Evolution is an unrelenting process, but life always contains beauty. So although we are a work in progress, there is beauty at every stage of our development. In the months ahead, there will be journal entries over which I will deliberate before posting, because they are reminders of a difficult and challenging period. When I do, I shall refer back to this entry and to the other current posts I have written, because they are the fruits of that time. It is who I am now that counts, but it is worth remembering that back then I was okay too.