Prospective Immigrants Please Note
Either you will go through this door
or you will not go through.
If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.
Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.
If you do not go through
it is possible to live worthily
to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely
but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?
The door itself makes no promises.
It is only a door.
_ Adrienne Rich
Since the very first time I read this poem, something in my perspective around growth and life choices changed forever.
Its verses sunk in my chest, and gave me a language to explain the difference that exists between the organic and ongoing change with its natural ups and downs, and those moments in life that feel like an invitation to cross a threshold, to step into a whole new paradigm and story about ourselves.
Some of us call them watershed moments — but I think there’s more to it than just an “A or B?” fork on the road.
These moments consist of more than two options merely laying side by side: they feel like an invitation to transcend our current state and turn into something else.
So I refer to them as doors, or Gates.
They are about transmutation, they tend to entail an initiatory process and they take more dedication and energy than the natural, ongoing process of change.
But before we dive deeper into the many elements of Gates, which I intend to do over the next newsletters and sessions, I’d like to lay the groundwork.
Why is this relevant? What for?
I believe that the Gates represent the type of calls for change that many of us are presented with in this historical period: urges to go beyond simple improvement and radically transform the way we operate in the world.
Some of them are caused by the knowledge we acquired over the last decades — about ourselves, how nature works and how the environment is paying the price of systems we built on priorities we don’t stand for anymore. These Gates ask us to steer the course of our actions, projects and organisations, and reinvent the way we live on this planet.
Other Gates appear because of the freedoms that our ancestors fought for, making us the first generation(s) able to stand in front of the choice to keep running on inherited scripts and paths, or to drop them and write our own story.
Regardless of what caused the Gates that are showing up for you, the result is the same: the only way to take the invitation is to learn how to identify, approach and cross them.
Now, there are 3 things I think it’s important to know about Gates:
- Every Gate will present itself multiple times, in different ways, but not forever;
- We can choose to not cross the Gate and still, as the poem says, live worthily;
- Each Gate has a price, it demands an offering that we won’t like, which is why we always resist the Gate at first.
This is certainly a multi-layered topic with a lot more to explore but, like anything transformative, it all starts with questions:
What Gate is showing up for you?
Is there an invitation you identified, maybe already earlier this year, or more recently?
Are you resisting it?
Are you trying to stretch the old script, evaluating if you can stay on the old path a little bit longer?
The very first thing to do about Gates is to acknowledge their existence, learn to identify them and not shy away when they show up.
Over the next editions of #TheOtherSideOfImpact I’ll unpack more elements of this fascinating topic.
But for now, a reminder:
“The door is round and open. Don’t go back to sleep”