Discovering the geode within

Posted by Kenetha Stanton on

Image credit: © 2013 James Petts, Flickr, used under CC-BY-SA licensing

I think geodes are absolutely fascinating rocks. They are rather dull and unremarkable on the outside, but once they are broken open, they are filled with such amazing beauty!

Hidden away inside their bland, crusty exteriors are crystals in magnificent colors and delicate formations reaching into the empty space in the center.

Isn't that an accurate picture of how most of us live our lives, though?

On the outside, we've learned to so completely tame our inner wildness and magnificence that we've built a dull, conforming crust around ourselves to help us blend in with everyone around us.  After all, blending in keeps us safe, helps us fit in so we can belong, and makes us more acceptable to those around us.

Those efforts to fit and belong gradually encase us in a hardened shell that hides our inner wonder even from ourselves. We begin to identify more with the dull, unremarkable outside and forget about the wondrous colors and amazing beauty we hold within.

Until something breaks us open and that magnificent beauty is once again visible to all.

Breaking open still hurts

As wonderful as it is to rediscover our inner beauty, that only comes after our outer crust that we've so carefully nurtured is broken open. And breaking hurts.

I'm sure the geode doesn't enjoy that process any more than we do, no matter how much we "Ooooh" and "Ahhhh" over its insides.

Most of us have spent years and great effort building our protective shells, so there is real grief and loss as the image we've so carefully designed collapses.

In the midst of losing that identity we have held onto for so long, we find ourselves so disoriented that most of us are completely unable to see the beauty of what is emerging from within. In fact, we may not even be able to see that there is anything inside at all.

All we can see is the destruction and loss of the person we thought we were and the open, empty spaces inside where we thought we were completely solid.

This grief and disorientation can be so intense that it is very common to put our effort into patching up the cracks and trying to glue that crusty shell back together to hold onto our familiar selves. That's a very understandable response!

An invisible grief

For most of us, though, there comes a time we just can't hold the pieces together any more, and we need to grieve the loss.

Grief is never an easy process, but grieving the loss of our identity is particularly challenging because it is such an invisible grief.

We know what is falling away, but those around us usually can't see what is happening at all. They just want us to get back to business as usual.

To make it even more challenging, we are often at a complete loss to explain what is happening. Identity shifts can be so disorienting that we can't find the words to describe the vertigo, the loss, the unknown we are discovering within because we are still trying to figure out for ourselves just exactly what is crumbling and what is emerging.

It's hard to function normally when we've don't even know who we are anymore most days.

Fortunately, this phase is just a temporary one. When we stay with it and refuse the temptation to try to patch over the cracks and keep going as usual, one day we'll start to notice the beautiful crystals that the break has exposed.

Rediscovering our inner beauty

As we recover from the shock of the break, we begin to rediscover facets of ourselves that we had forgotten (or never even known) existed in our rush to fit in the with the crowd.

For example, I went from thinking I didn't have a creative bone in my body to a discovering a creative vein that runs deep. Now I organize my entire life to maximize my time for creative work because I can't keep up with all of the ideas in my head. I had no idea that was in me!

This rediscovery of hidden parts of ourselves can send us off in whole new directions for our lives, as my creative drive has done for me, or it may enhance and deepen the way we live out the direction our lives are already going.

Either way, the treasures we find within during this process bring deeper joy and peace than we could have imagined as we live more fully into the people we were created to be.

If you're finding yourself in that process of losing the person you thought you were as you break open, be gentle with yourself. It's not an easy road to travel, but the result is ever so worth it.

You, too, are a geode with more beauty within than you have ever imagined!

How does this image of a geode speak to you? What facets of your own inner beauty have you rediscovered in the process of life breaking you open?

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