Transformation — put most simply – is change. It can be an “aha” moment, a circumstance that changes us forever, or a subtle experience that nonetheless shapes who we are and who we will be from that day forward.
Yet the word itself seems to imply a bigger kind renewal that comes from a spiritual awakening, a conversion, a mystical epiphany…an enlightenment. If we imagine transformation only in this BIG way, it can seem daunting and surely unattainable. Why get our hopes up at all?
And for some, to suggest that what we all should be aiming for is some kind of a full transformation is the same thing as saying that who we are now, just as we are, is not acceptable, not enough.
Still, our UFP Purpose Statement declares that here we ‘foster personal transformation.’ But because every possibility holds a shadow…a fear, a caution, a lie…we need to grapple with what transformation means. In my own process of grappling, I found some quotes offer helpful perspectives.
“There’s a part of every living thing that wants to become itself,” writer Ellen Bass observes, “the tadpole into the frog, the chrysalis into the butterfly, a damaged human being into a whole one.” Looking at transformation this way, it is akin to metamorphosis, a process of becoming which changes us, but only in the way that helps us to become more of who we already are. Becoming whole, or finding our way back to our wholeness. Seen this way, it’s difficult for me to resist wanting this kind of transformation.
Another helpful saying is an old Zen Buddhist one: “You are perfect just the way you are…and you could use some improvement.” I know I need to better embrace both parts of that adage. Yet, the humility this perspective seeds in me might just be the catalyst I need. As Andrew Harvey, a modern-day mystic, has pointed out, “The very things we wish to avoid, neglect, and flee from turn out to be the ‘prima materia’ from which all real growth comes.”
I can’t determine what transformation should mean for you, or even if you should consider it desirable. Rather, I invite all of us into a month of reflecting on all of the possibilities and implications of transformation. As shared by essayist Normandi Ellis, we are each “human becoming in the spirit of growth, change, and development that is part and parcel of this life.”
We are humans becoming. We are. And we are becoming.
May this be a month of transformation for us all.
P.S. Please call or text me at 705-933-3746. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, I offer thanks to the whole SOUL MATTERS community for contributions to this post.