Transformation is a popular topic. I have heard the word a lot over the years especially living on the West Coast and frequenting yoga circles. There’s an interest if not obsession with the idea of controlling our own realities through our perception, creating more happiness, more abundance and more motivation.
Today I was listening to a Podcast reading of an author from 1908 discussing this very topic from the perspective of limitations and that they are only real and powerful in so far as we allow them to be. It was interesting to hear the writing a century ago use familiar pop culture buzz words in the new self-help boom like abundance, realization, and success. It’s not that these words are unique to our present time but I didn’t imagine their frequent use outside of our era.
I am a shameless middle of the road person. I have great ideas and intentions but lack the drive to see them come to fruition with much intensity or purpose. Or as the author of the book would characterize it, “lacking back bone.” I absolutely suffer from the “eh, I’ll do it laters”. It’s clear this is a limiting attitude to have and yet if I reflect on my life and the many adventures, experiences and successes I have enjoyed, I can’t say that this attitude hasn’t served me well. OF course there is always the wondering what ifs. What if I had applied myself more? What if I hadn’t let fear of failure keep me from trying that new thing? What if I had been actively engaged and studious in my pursuit of skills and practices and personal growth?
And yet here I am. Happily married with two beautiful children, a stay at home mom who is writing and cooking and surfing and hiking and gardenting and any number of things I love to do and am learning to love to do. There is a contentedness in my current situation that has only been the result of my la se faire attitude. All the adventures I’ve had and the seemingly bold moves I’ve made have been a product not of actively seeking them out but rather having an opportunity present itself and responding with a shrug of the shoulders and a “sure, why not?” I have carried around an interest and intent in furthering my humanity and coming more fully into an authentic way of living and maybe that is what has brought forth those opportunities. But to say I’ve done anything particularly bold or with my own effort to initiate them would be inaccurate.
My family has recently moved to a new home town after years of travelling and moving often. We are starting to happily sink roots in and in a not too subtle metaphor I’ve started gardenting. It was always my intention to do so but the buts got in the way. Our new home already has established vegetable garden beds so it was only a matter of making my plan, doing some research, planting some seeds, and voila, I am a gardener. This seems to be the theme with my transformations. There is always some groundwork laid and I just have to plug myself into it. I’ve been quite fortunate that this has often been the case. It makes it easier to take leaps and make changes. But it may also have me waiting around for the next thing to fall into my lap. But as age has taught me, the more you embrace and work within your nature rather than struggling againse it the happier you will be.
It leaves me wondering about this goal and idea of transformation. Is it really something we must seek out and work toward and toil for? Maybe the transformation is just something that unfolds and takes you for a ride, something akin to being in a wave pool with a flotation device. You just let go and let the bobbing and ebbing carry you where it will because you are a willing participant and not struggling to have the ride be a certain way.
I am by no means an expert in this allowing but I think I follow that path more than one of a direct line to a goal. Thougsands of lines have been penned about the fact that all your planning is well and good but life, god, fate, or chance may likely have another idea. Maybe I’m misunderstanding all the self-help guides out there in thinking they are prescribing a method of action when in fact what they are pointing to is a process of unravelling, of letting go.
All the improvements we can make to our ways of living and perceiving have value and yet they also have the potential to become the burden we’ve been trying to free ourselves from. The temptation I slip into is to see the way I’m doing life and the way I am in the moment as something that must be changed and struggled against. Perhapse the self-help gurus of our time would say that is a result of not living an intentional life. Maybe it’s carry over from a religious up-bringing- it doesn’t feel normal to be without guilt over something in my nature. It has only been with experience, the cooling of a few more years behind me, and finding an enduring love with my partner that I’ve started letting go of so much self-judgement.