Transformation -it’s bloody hard!
Many years ago I met a young man at a Gestalt therapy training in San Diego. We had very different way of understanding and practicing our chosen modality of psychotherapy. One day we were playing with these inner-sight cards. You know the ones with words like Kindness, Compassion, Introversion, Truthfulness written on them. I picked Introspection and sighed. I guess that was what I knew I needed at the time but didn’t want to admit.
Introspection requires self-examination, analysing yourself, looking at your own personality and actions, and considering your own motivations. So for me an example of Introspection is when I meditate to try to understand my actions, thoughts and feelings.
My friend chose Transformation. And in my excitement, imagining a quick and wonderful change to his life and exclaimed, “Oh Wow . How wonderful!.” To which he slowly replied,
“Transformation is not easy. It often hurts. It’s usually a complicated and challenging process.”
And at the time, I confess, I didn’t completely understand. I was in the throes of studying to become the psychotherapist I would eventually become, and I was excited to have entered a world that would change me and I was loving the changes. But that was not what my friend meant. Not at all.
In an organisational context to undergo profound and radical change that orients an organisation, community, country and planet into a new direction required a dismantling of the structures that held the original ‘oragnisation’ in place.
And as I believe physical, emotional and mental change cannot occur without recognising the implicit Spirituality that exists in all that IS , then clearly we are all experiencing a Spiritual transformation of, as I prefer to call it, a Spiritual Shift.
As I contemplate this I can reminded of the metamorphosis of a caterpillar and I began to wonder how that feels. But before I could imagine this I needed to know what actually happens. This is what we all know.
The story usually begins with a very hungry caterpillar hatching from an egg. The caterpillar, or what is more scientifically termed a larva, stuffs itself with leaves, growing plumper and longer through a series of molts in which it sheds its skin. One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth.
But what some of us, including me didn’t know was that in order to be able to become a butterfly, the caterpillar has to fall apart completely, decompose down to its very essence, devoid of any shape or consciousness. It literally dies. There is nothing left of it. And from this liquid essence, the butterfly starts to put itself together, from scratch.
In a way that’s what appears to be happening now. There is a ‘falling apart’ of the structures that we believed or perceived, held our world together. There is a Spiritual Shift occurring, a transformation and is not comfortable. It not easy. It’s often painful, frightening and full of uncertainty.
I imagine those of you who read my writings on Speed of Light-Heartedness are already conscious and even welcoming of the changes that are occurring, but some of us are so overworked, so struck with the grief and horror of the loss and sickness and death, so confused and angry and just so, so tired, that they naturally want this to end as soon as possible.
Here is how I think we might be able to speed this up for ourselves and in doing so help everyone.
When we are pushed in the supermarket, spoken to rudely, when groups of people stand too close to you, when you disagree with the leaders that hover and change their minds and say something you completely don’t agree with, when people regard you as overreacting, when you feel judged, when memes, Facebook and Instagram images and posts putting down individuals find their way into your email boxes, I want to suggest what you might want to do.
- Remind yourself that they are frightened and this is how they are reacting.
- Try to respond from the heart and not react from fear.
- Take three breaths( they don’t even have to be deep) while you wiggle your toes in your shoes.
- Look at your feet and remember we are all walking this journey together.
- Remember no one is less than or better than another.
- Become aware of when you are being judgmental and just stop.
- Put your awareness ‘or your hand’ on your heart and say,
Who do I want to be right now?
What needs some healing of love within me right now?
What words of comfort do i want to hear right now
8. Speak carefully
9. Be Kind
10. Be Forgiving
11. Be generous
12. Consider the rude, the cranky, the judgmental, the frightened and the struggling are all part of our spiritual family
And so to my old friend from San Diego, all I can say to you is, thank you.
I get it now.