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We are not snakes, we are mountains

Updated: May 20, 2019

Integral Wellbeing - Snakes and Mountains

What do snakes and geology have in common? It’s all about self-development.

In a few of his books, Jack Kornfield talks about the myth of a snake and a beautiful young princess. The princess is to be wed to the snake prince, unwillingly, so she goes to see an old witch who advises her to wear 13 wedding gowns and every time the snake prince asks her to take off a dress she is to ask him to take a layer off too. After painfully removing layer of skin after layer of skin a handsome prince emerges from the last snakeskin. I have been thinking quite a lot about this story and the links it has to self-development. I can relate to the pain and agony of personal growth and shedding layer after layer of the self...I am far from the last layer and would still like to share my thoughts. From my experience where this story falls short is that personal growth is not a one-off thing, it is not linear, but it is human and messy. I recently saw a beautiful picture of the colourful mountains in Peru, and it struck me that a topic I had always found boring was nature’s way of showing us what personal growth looks like. Each layer of the earth is mixing with a different layer during significant events such as earthquakes and landslides. Ancient earth containing precious fossils and clues to the earth’s history suddenly becoming apparent after years of being hidden, sometimes creating new land to be explored. And at times new earth being taken down to the underworld, being buried deep under the earth’s mantle close to the earth’s core, bring with it elements as big mountains. The landslides and earthquakes are the significant events in our lives that transform and change us. Maybe allowing us to remove a layer of skin or possibly exposing an old layer that still needs to be worked on and addressed, perhaps even doing both. My point is that self-development is a windy journey, a journey a bit like the layers of the coloured mountains of Peru. Colourful layers will suddenly reappear, forgotten stories come back to haunt and daunt you, to allow you to learn and grow from them again. And events or experiences will seemingly be quickly forgotten but will have created a new layer of colour deep in you, transforming the overall structure and shades of your mountain. This was inspired by an amazing woman I met when studying with the open university. A woman whose passion for geology was somewhat contagious.

If you are interested in connecting with going on your development journey and discovering the layers in your life, please contact me for a coaching programme.


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