Reflection on Transformations

After college graduation, I decided to move to Hawaii. My plan wasn’t really any plan at all. There was a recession going on and I knew college friends who had sent out hundreds of resumes without so much as one single job offer. I had no idea what I wanted to do in life, but I knew I needed to get out of my stale office job and go somewhere I could think clearly and figure out my life. Hawaii was amazing. If offered me respite and a way to think about my life a little differently. During my first year there, I figured out I wanted to pursue the field of Holistic/Alternative Healing practices, and I enrolled in the Honolulu School of Massage Therapy as a first step, with my next step being acupuncture college. I had settled on a career path for myself that I felt was personally satisfying.

Yet, I struggled in my home living situation. During the three years time I lived in Hawaii, I moved nine times. Yes, nine times in three years. That works out to be a move every four months. Each place I lived, things ended up not being quite right for more than just a temporary living situation. In one place the owner decided to sell the house. Another was a summer sublet that I hoped could turn permanent and did not. More than once, I realized it was a mistake only after I moved in — problems with roommates, cleanliness, noise, etc… So,there was always a reason, and I always thought the next place would be the solution. I thought if I could just change my situation things would magically fall into place.

Change is immediate. It is moving externals around: objects, people, locations. Unlike change, transformation is comprised of different elements, even though we often think of the results of change and transformation to be similar. Something is different. But transformation is an internal process that comes from within. It leads to a betterment of yourself, your situation. Things transform for the better. Change is a part of transformation, but it is not the same as transformation. Change lies within transformation, while transformation encompasses change.

One of the things we can get caught up in our lives, as I did in Hawaii years ago, is making changes without true transformation. We all do this: We change jobs. Change diets. Change fashion. Change apartments. Change cities we live in. Change relationships, friends, lovers. But how do we create true transformation, making it better, in our lives?

The pandemic, and the ensuing slowdown, in the midst of the havoc, is also creating an opportunity for us to examine the changes we make as human beings. What is becoming more clear to me during the last two years, is that making a change, for the sake of making a change, does not get me to where I want to go. Change can be escaping from the present. Change, paradoxically, can sometimes be a hindrance to transformation. I notice my impatience with transformation. How can I stand to wait, while other options are there, tantalizing me with their ease? Yet, transformation takes time, and requires patience to know which changes to make, and which changes to not make. Trying to get out of a ”less than ideal” situation, it can make sense to seek out something that is different. Anything which doesn’t have the unwanted components of the present situation can seem ideal. If we are not careful though, we trade one set of problems for another, like I did with my carousel of roommates and houses.

There is a global transformation going on. People are examining their lives and asking themselves questions about what is really important to them. In both professional and personal lives— you can see the changes all around you. People are looking for better, for transformation. Not just change. How do we engender transformation? We can start by asking ourselves some tough questions:

~What do I really want for myself in this life?

~What are the reasons I am where I don’t want to be?

~ Am I willing to sacrifice quick and superficial change so that I can have true transformation?

~Can I tolerate the present while I move through the gradualness of transformation?

~Am I willing to be patient with myself so I can dig deep within to find my truths?

~Can I take responsibility for my current life while simultaneously giving myself loving compassion?

~Can I give myself forgiveness when I see the discrepancy between the current present and the preferred future?

~ What is transformation worth to me?

~And lastly, remember we are all on a transformative journey together, going different places at different speeds for different reasons. So be kind, be gentle, and be loving with yourself and others.

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