The 7 Stages to Mastery: Stage 1- The Breaking Point
By Dr. Theresa Bullard
Have you ever experienced a breaking point in your life? A time where it seemed as though everything was out of control and things were falling apart?
A breaking point could mean losing a job, ending a deep relationship, a major failure at work or even a big argument.
Sometimes a breaking point is experienced as a major trauma or tragedy such as an accident or loss/death of some kind. Breaking points can even be initiated by you. For example, you may get so fed up, sick and tired of a certain situation (a job, relationship, etc) that you decide to take new action and make a change.
Often times, whatever happens is so strong that it rocks the very foundation of your life or business. Such an incident shakes up your view of reality and challenges your “status quo”, pushing you out of your comfort zone.
In our last blog introducing the 7 Stages of the Alchemical Process, we introduced the metaphors of “lead” and “gold”, often alluded to in alchemy. To recap, the concept of lead relates to anything of a dense, polluted, imbalanced or imperfect state. This could be anything from our thoughts, our physical health, to an organization, or society, or even the world at large. While gold, on the other hand, was seen as a state of refined perfection, wholeness, and the ideal state.
Transforming “lead into gold” is the process of moving from the imperfect or imbalanced into a greater state of wholeness, integrity, and ultimate attainment.
Anytime we want to make a change, achieve a new goal, eliminate a bad habit, or develop a new skill or gift, we must go through these same seven stages to get to a place of mastery in that new area.
When we fight or resist the transformational process that is naturally occurring through various life cycles, whether we are aware of it or not, that is when we are often forced into a breaking point situation.
Our own resistance, attachments, and clinging to the comfort zone creates too much rigidity that impede the progress and natural flow of development. You can imagine this as being like a beaver who builds a little dam of logs in the middle of a river, trying to create a nice little cozy home for itself. It might work out for a while, but when the next strong rain comes, or when the snow melts with the change of season and the river levels rise, that dam is going to be broken apart by the more strongly flowing river current. At that point, the beaver’s cozy home is destroyed and it is time for a change and to get back to work to build anew. It’s Nature’s way of saying “Don’t get too comfortable. There is more work to do in order for the whole to continue growing.”
Understanding where you are in the alchemical process
This breaking point we experienced is the first stage of the 7 Stages of the Alchemical Process of Transformation known as Calcination. This stage is the catalyst for the whole transformational process. It is usually uncomfortable and can be quite challenging, because we are being shaken out of our inertia and complacency that we got used to in the comfort zone.
Often times if possible, we try to avoid this stage, preferring to remain in our comfort zone. But inevitably whether initiated by us or not, life will throw us a challenge to shake us up and make us grow.
So how do you move through this stage? Stay tuned next week as we explore steps you can take to skillfully move through the breaking point known as Calcination, as well as, how to apply this knowledge to your role as a leader.