BOOK REVIEW Metamorphosis: How and why we change by Polly Morland

Book on How and why we change by Polly Morland


This book is a real gem. Its a binding of different stories on change that are written almost lyrically. Like a cup of steaming soy vanilla latte, I sipped through this book, enjoying its stories, moments and inspirations. It is not for someone looking for a self-help book with clear instructions on how to change your life. It is something exponentially more. Polly Morland creates the frames for a roadmap that combines small pieces of insight from different individuals who’ve over-gone substantial changes in their life. Most importantly this book ignites a spark to undergo one’s own metamorphosis and therefore fill-in the core of your own roadmap. Lovely, touching, poetic and even spiritual experience. Loved it. ❤

Heraclitus my old friend, we meet again: Quite humiliatingly it has taken me over 20 years to understand what Pocahontas sang in her song “Just Around the River Bend” about not being able to step into a river twice. It bewildered my mind as a child, so much in fact that I must have blocked it and never thought about it after that. Only now I am faced with this idea again within the book about changes and all the memories of confusion melted down into a philosophical aha-moment. And this revelation about rivers incrementally changed my perspective on self-identity.

It is only a river because it flows. We  are only human beings, not in spite of change, but because we change.

Another aha-moment ensued when faced again by something introduced to me years ago but was too ignorant to understand it fully then.

This last part of the poem by Shelley on nonviolent resistance is so powerful I get chills every time I read it.

The Masque of Anarchy

Rise like lions after slumber

In unvanquishable number!

Shake your chains to earth like dew

Which in sleep had fallen on you;

Ye are many – they are few.


I feel that this poem wakes up the inner me, the one that made me live ferociously as a child and was tamed as I grew older.

What separates me and this fierce being I was as a child is just the succession of many days, as Polly Morland states. Or as John Updike puts it: Everyday we wake slightly altered.

The little girl is long gone, but I do recognise her as my past and no one else’s , a kind of magnetic north from which I gave gone on to live my life and experience my own changes, both organic and deliberate. I feel I  owe her something, although what I am not quite sure.

And yet, how much of us stays the same after changes? Is the boat the same even if it has been rebuilt during its voyage on sea?

“ – However changed you are, there’s always been continuity, some kind of internal stitching. You have never broken off being yourself during the process of change.”

How change feels like? Does it feel comfortable or more like growing-pains whilst trying to stretch your comfort-zone?

“This process of the good life is not, I am convinced, a life for the faint-hearted. It involves the stretching and growing of becoming more and more of one’s potentialities. It involves the courage to be. It means launching oneself fully into the stream of life.”

And there is the sense of deliberate action in change:

“It’s a call to action. For me it was the realisation that if I simply let life happen to me, I wasn’t necessarily going to like what happened to and I realised that wasn’t enough for me, that I also wanted to play a hand in creating my life and that there is a timeline -“

Yes, it takes courage to be yourself and make your own choices in life. This doesn’t always feel comfortable.

The actionable lesson from this book:

  1. You have to know what feels exciting and thrilling for you now.
  2. Imagine the future with these feelings exemplified.
  3. Make choices in your life now that bring this future possible.

+ Practice courage daily.
+ It’s ok if you recalibrate your direction, just do it consciously.