She is Change.
She holds a flaming sword, and she uses it brutally. She is terrifying, beautiful, wild, mischievous, unpredictable, centered, grounded, and powerful. She will teach you how to ride, without wiping out, the waves that she creates. You will learn to surf. And while you’re horrified at the idea, (that’s dangerous!) you’re also aware that you’ll never feel more alive than in those moments when you’re succeeding, laughing into the mad ocean that surrounds you, riding the wave that propels you.
She strips you of all that is unnecessary. Every belief you have, every value you think you cherish, is a challenge to her. She sees you there, built into your stone tower of beliefs, many accepted long before you had words to think of them, and she finds the vision dull. Lifeless.
At first, in your early days, she approaches your tower with calm resolution, interrupts your process of building, and gestures for you to come out for a chat. You refuse, politely. You have everything you need, thanks. You’ve managed thus far without feeling the least bit constrained by the stones. You actually like them, and you have a lot of work to do. This tower is not going to build itself.
She drops her head in resignation and retreats, waiting until the moment the stones begin to block your access to sunlight. Your tower is not quite that high yet, but she knows it will get there.
Later, you’ve built the tower so very tall that it is truly limiting your view. You see your stones surrounding you, try to remember to love them, and feel vaguely uncomfortable that they don’t seem quite as nice as they once did. Perhaps it’s time to decorate. It’s so dark in here. Maybe remodel a bit… put a window up there so a bit of light can get in. You smile in satisfaction. Yes, that’s just the thing. A few tapestries, a window… look how lovely the light looks as it shines down into your warm, snug tower.
She approaches again. No, no, you don’t need anything. It’s pretty in here. Cozy. You like it. Yes, of course, you’re a little limited now, so many responsibilities, you know… but that’s the whole point, isn’t it? To create a boundary between yourself and… what? You have a niggling doubt. What was that boundary meant to keep out? Or enclose? You wedded yourself to that belief, remember? Do you remember why you picked that one?
No matter. Moving on with your life, you begin to forget the “why” of the stones, but only know that they exist, and that you found them necessary, and that’s good enough. It’d be so much work to revisit the choice of stones, and the tower is good, useful. Everyone ought to have a tower as wonderful as this one. It may appear to be keeping you in, but it’s really keeping the elements out. The unpredictable, damaging elements. The things you don’t like being exposed to. You are entirely justified in keeping the elements out. Who wants to be exposed to the whims of Nature all the damn time, anyway? She’s always trying to do shit. Human Nature. Nature-Nature. Whatever. It’s all a pain in the ass.
Ever read the story of the Three Little Pigs? Yes, you are the smart pig, the one who built his house of stone. You are keeping the Big, Bad Wolf at bay. And your foolish brethren, well… what can you say? They’re idiots.
She is coming. Oh, dear… she looks mad. Mad-angry or Mad-crazy. Whichever way you choose to see her, this is probably Not Good. You climb up to your window, and batten down that hatch. Then you wait. Maybe she’ll think no one is home and go away. These stone beliefs are not projectiles, unfortunately, so you can’t really drive her off. Plus… she’s an Archetype. They tend not to be drive-able.
She attacks. She has clearly Had-It-Up-To-Here with your tower, and you don’t know why. It’s a Good Tower! Carefully constructed! (Or maybe carelessly, in some spots, but How Dare She?) How dare she? Did you think that? Silly mortal. She’s a force of Nature, an Archetype. That’s how she dares. Change is the only thing in this world, in this universe even, that is 100% guaranteed! Of course She Dares!
How dare you think that your tower will, or even should, make you immune to the flaming sword she wields? She will attack your tower with everything she has. You think you are a Good Person? No, she will obliterate that belief. You are a person. And you can be Good. But there is no tribe called Good People that you can join. You can do good things. You can do bad things. You can do Things, in general. But it doesn’t make you a Good Person. It makes you Human. That belief, she can accept. The belief that you’re Human.
You think your philosophy would serve the world best? If only everyone would go along with it? (And why won’t they??? They’re idiots, of course! Or just Bad People. Because can’t they see that the Best Thing is for everyone to agree? If we all agree, and that agreement is enforced, just in case anyone’s tempted not to agree, then everything would be Good!) Oh, my… you just stepped over her red line. That particular belief riles her like no other! Do you think you’re an Archetype? Really? You think you, tiny Human You, can come up with an Answer to an Archetype, especially one as determined to bring about Change as she is? Good God. Who do you think you are? Take care, lest you unleash Nemesis.
But, but! Your tower! Your precious beautiful, (if a bit constraining maybe) Tower! You rage, you sob, you despair. You resist her power with everything you have. Change shall not happen! Things were going great! Destiny was on your side! Your beautiful stones. Surrounding you now, useless against all those things you desperately needed protection from.
She glides away as you huddle in the ruins of your stone belief-tower. You timidly reach for a stone, honoring your secret wish to rebuild the tower. She knows, of course. How could she not? She’s an Archetype. She knows things. Her eyes flash fire as she whips her head around to spear you over her shoulder. “No,” she says. Your hand withdraws from the stone.
She sighs, the martyred sigh of a mother of a particularly willful child. Approaching you again, her eyes say “Must I do everything?” and her mouth twitches with humor. She places her hand over yours, and you’re surprised by the gentle energy that holds you. Perhaps you can trust her. But damn, that was loud, when those stones came crashing down, and you kind of resent the destruction. Or to be honest, (because she would not have anything less than honesty), you truly, deeply resent the destruction. And you aren’t sure you like her much, either. No… really you think you might hate her.
“Be still.” Her order is spoken gently, but firmly.
Your mind protests. “But, I…”
She shakes her head. (She really does appreciate the power of “No.”) “Be still. Observe,” she says. “You are alive.” She directs your gaze toward a landscape that you haven’t seen since infancy. Open. Empty. “Barren,” or “filled with promise.” The interpretation is up to you. It’s Yours.
Yours to plant what you like. Yours to traverse if you prefer, moving on to a new landscape. Yours to build on, as long as you build a structure that can breathe. A roof would be good, probably. In this mindscape, there really isn’t a winter, so what do you need walls for? But sure, if you need the walls, maybe just create three of them, and leave the fourth wall wide open… nothing but air, reminding you that you can leave this hut at any time and go explore the land. You can also come back to it. You were created Free.
The only choice she refuses you is the choice to rebuild your tower of stone. You do not need it. The first stone you wish to handle, the cornerstone (in a circular tower? Is there a corner?)… is the one inscribed “You Need The Tower.” The second stone says the tower must be made of stone. Those, she won’t let you touch.
She teaches that your belief-walls are meant to give you a structure, a place to put your thoughts. Nothing more. All that sound and fury? It was never about changing the world. It was about changing you.