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Initiation: An Evolutionary Impulse

April 23, 2015


There are moments in our journey when we know we must change—where we are filled with an inner ache, a drive, a restlessness so fierce, we cannot turn away from it. Perhaps this sense of unrelenting un-ease relates to an old way of being, an outmoded role in our family, our job, or our primary relationship to ourselves . The life we have been living becomes an old skin we are itching to be free of. We may not even know what we are being called into, but everywhere we go, we find ourselves rubbing our backs against the rough edge of the world—trying to shed this skin. In time, we see and feel the new skin beneath. It is raw and tender, but also supple and alive. We are relieved to have passed through this shed, to move beyond what we have truly outgrown. Now, the well of our life force refills. Now, we remember our own wild soul. These kinds of developmental initiations happen throughout our lives, as we walk through the gateways of puberty, early adulthood, coupling, parenting, mid-life, eldering.  

 And then there are times when Life brings us an initiatory event— a moment or experience that simply shatters our world. We are asked to transform our lives at such a radical and fundamental level, that we must die to our life so that we can be fully re-born. These initiations and invitations are ferocious, elemental, non-negotiable. They require full surrender—not passivity, but a willingness to turn our lives over to the momentum and force that is moving through us. A diagnosis, a death, an encounter with the numinous, a birth, a divorce, a spiritual “emergency”—something turns us upside down so that we are completely dis-oriented, our old self dis-membered. We have stepped off a cliff and are free falling through wide open space—without reference point—having no idea if and when and where we will land.

 When initiation is brought to us as in this way, all that is familiar is burned up in a white-hot fire so intense, we know we cannot survive it. This is the function of this fire, of this kind of initiatory process—it must fully break down the old to allow for the emergent. It is natural to want to turn away from the heat—to move away from that which terrifies us, to want to bargain away our soul for safety, to try to stave off what is transforming us. And, our courage lies in our willingness to simply turn towards this fire—to meet it, to let it consume all that is no longer us.

 As storyteller and mythologist Michael Meade says, the invitation in times of “crisis” or rupture is to run towards the roar—towards that which perhaps seems most dangerous or fearsome—to make the counter-intuitive move into the heart of the heart of our crucible. And it is through this turning towards that the full gifts of what is being offered begin to be revealed. It is through our willingness to be present with the unknown that we can liberate ourselves from the old fears that so often keep us from hearing the song of own soul, or the call of Life itself.

Life evolves us this way—breaking us open, jarring us from our patterns, inviting us to open our heart ever wider to the Mystery— so that we remember what matters most. Life evolves us this way so that we can continue to awaken to who and what we are and live into our deepest passion and truth. 

©Laura Weaver

~from the upcoming book Blooming from the Dark

first published on

for more information about Laura’s work go to


2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2015 10:56 pm

    beautiful Laura! And right where I am at. The white hot fire. Rubbing my back against the bark of life. Love you! Thank you for your words.

  2. April 24, 2015 10:43 pm

    Thank you dear one!

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