Perfect Illusion

“If the point of life is the same as the point of a story, the point of life is character transformation.” ― Donald Miller

Lady Gaga’s new song Perfect Illusion has really struck a chord with me. In her latest single – supposedly a breakup song inspired by her ex-fiancé – she bares her soul confessing that she was fooled into believing in a “perfect illusion.” I think we can all relate to the experience of believing wholeheartedly in something, or someone, only to find out they are not what we initially thought.

But what if this was not the perfect illusion? What if it was the other way around?

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself in a beautiful garden, feeling tranquil and relaxed. In this daydream world, you are the you you’ve always wanted to be, and everything in your life feels right.

Now imagine this is not an illusion. It is reality. You may find that this idea is somewhat jarring, even terrifying. Achieving your goals and finding peace often scares people – it scares me completely.

In my perfect world, there would be no drama, no confusion and no cause for conversation. How boring would that be?

Hard work would be effortless, thus arousing fear and anxiety from the mind; spirit feels comfortable in peace. Changes in deep-rooted habits, beliefs, and hardened ways of thought would begin to transform in our lives. Training would be welcomed, not resisted. We would flow with joy, not pain.

When we go through a radical change a certain part of us dies. Our attachments to things of the past fall away. They are no longer part of us – we drop the story. The cocoon that felt like a home to the caterpillar turns into a prison for the butterfly – too small to hold.

When a caterpillar begins to turn into a butterfly it thinks it is dying. And technically, in a way, it is. Each cell is programmed to self-destruct as certain enzymes are released. Nature naturally lowers the right hormone at the right time during the process of metamorphosis. It happens gradually, perfectly in sync with divinity.

Change often feels like the end of the world for a short period of time. During those few days, weeks, and months, everything turns upside down and inside out. The you you knew is dying. You are shifting and reconstructing your beliefs and perceptions, creating a whole new world and identity for yourself.

I have learned to embrace and appreciate the pain that comes from change because I know that peace and joy always follow. From the fulcrum to metamorphosis, I thank God for everything.

How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us.

– Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

You may also like to read thoughts on thoughts and change.

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Jessica is an employment specialist for marginalized youth in Toronto, Canada. She enjoys teaching, traveling and observing - especially the relationship between mind and heart. Jessica also has a passion for outdoor walks, dancing, and all things offbeat and authentic. You can contact her at

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