The Frog: On Being Boiled

Recently you may have followed my writing on waiting, and how when we conspire to change and transform, we often get to a place that makes us come to a full stop.

Today we'll step back a few paces and look at what precipitated this stall point. I vaguely referred to it previously as an event, an incident. At one moment in time something happened that knocked the breathe from our bodies.  The impossible happened. We lost, we got fired, we broke up, we made a mistake. 

In hindsight, the event was probably a long time coming. However, it feels like it was a split second; one day all is fine, the next day, shazaam, not so fine. From that day forward, the frog is in the pot, the water is being heated, and we are given a choice. 

The old experiment about the frog - in case you've never heard of it - goes like this. Put a frog in a pot of water, turn the heat up slowly, and the frog won't notice it is being lulled to sleep in the ever warmer water. By the time the water is boiling, the frog is so sleepy, it just dies rather than jump out of the pot and save itself. On the contrary, boil water, and toss the frog in, and it will immediately jump out. 

Now, admittedly, this is a gross experiment, and please don't do this at home. Frogs are our friends! The amazing thing to me is when we say it like this and we are disgusted with anyone who might conduct an experiment like this, we forget this is exactly what we do to ourselves....all the time! Staying in hot water, lulled to sleep by fear, anger, anxiety, shame or sadness, we don't move and then it's too late.

How come we don't move? Why don't we jump out? Why do we stay? 

Every individual person has their own specifics, and yet, it does boil down (pun intended) to three possible reasons. The first is hopelessness. Deep down, someplace that never ever sees the light of day, we have a tiny inkling that it's a pointless endeavor, nothing will change, and we might as well stay where we are. The devil you know, after all, is better than the one you don't, or so the saying goes.

The second reason we stay put is a bit more sinister. We want to be boiled; we like the suffering. The martyr in each of us comes forward and claims this day as The Day to make a stand, or in this case, stage a sit in.  We don't think we are going to die. We think we're making a point, and we will be proved right. This one's a real challenge; it's hard to watch someone you love throw away their life and harder yet, when you do it to yourself, unconsciously.

The last reason to sit and cook, to stew in our own juices, is the only reason that has a lasting purpose. In the midst of the suffering, there does arrive a moment of grace and a surge of energy and strength. This is alchemy:  to sit in a situation only long enough for the lessons and the learning to soak in and change us and not a moment longer where resistance and avoidance begin to build their forces. True transforming happens in the worst ordeals, makes the best most juicy human beings, and ushers in a life, finally, that is remarkable for its beauty, and awe, and inspiration. 

The old treasure maps used to say, 'Beyond here, there be dragons!' I think it's fitting.  If you've come this far, made the sacrifice, faced the ordeals, traveled your s/hero's journey, you are now at this threshold. 

All you have to do is leap..... or so sayeth the frog that got away.