Destroy It Before It Destroys You: Part II
A handy guide to self-destruction.
This is the final half of a two-part series on what nature shows us about destruction as a path to transformation.
Not all destruction serves creation, and not all transformation yields improvement. Discerning between good and bad destruction is what Part I of this series explains. It also presents the Big Problem that faces humans when it comes to wielding destruction for transformation.
Both parts of this series can stand alone, but together, they’ll expand your vision of the problem, which makes it easier to discover a solution.
For a species that flirts with it often, we understand little about destruction.
I walked through a sequoia forest in Yosemite seeking the majesty people load themselves into planes and cars to see, but the omnipresence of destruction outshined the beauty of tall trees and green leaves. Scorched bark and decomposing branches glared at me everywhere, daring me to find some poetic meaning in their ugliness.
So I did.
I don’t know if writing about something makes it appear in your life or the reverse, but after I decided to uncover the power in destruction, I gained an example that was far more personal than a forest.
It’s hard to remember the philosophies that encourage embracing the burn of destruction when you’re the one burning.
I’m facing a big change—a transformation. Thanks to the unceasingly unpredictable nature of existence, I can now say with confidence that destruction is the doorway to transformation. Something is always dying inside us, whether some habit, some desire, or some fear. Something is always dying outside us, whether some institution, some relationship, or some idea. Why leave destruction up to chance or torture yourself avoiding it?
Instead of kicking in the quicksand of life’s inevitable changes, slow down to stillness and float to the top.
Everything hurts more when we do those things we love to do in the face of destruction: cling, blame, resist, deny. I still panic and prepare for the ultimate end when changes I don’t want appear, but the time I spend cursing them is shrinking. Instead of avoiding and fighting the destruction that flows through life, I’m learning to anticipate its arrival.
Instead of clinging to what can’t be saved, I’m learning to meet my losses with an eye for the fertile ground they leave behind.
You can’t fight destruction, but you can negotiate with it.
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