Is there effort in transformation?
I just got my newsletter from Sacred Ground, a community of spiritual directors and seekers in St. Paul, MN. The opening letter from Michele, the Executive Director, is about change – a subject with which I am very familiar. The essays inside are a collection of reflections on transformation – may be a coincidence, may not be. I chose the above as my quote to share for the month of February.
I have received a couple of thoughtful responses to my monthly message:
“Beautifully said. Although I am not sure that we were ready and willing at the time when transformation presented itself. But…..with time transformation did hold on our lives and we were forever changed. Thank you for making me pause for a moment to reflect today.” Leslie from Nevada
“What a good reminder for me today! Be receptive, don’t push the waters. Thanks.” Mary Lou from St. Paul
What caught my attention about Richard Rohr’s statement, the reason I selected it for this month’s mailing, was the dichotomy between receiving a gift (does it really require no effort?) and setting the intention of being open and willing (putting forth effort?) to accept, accommodate and acknowledge it. I have long admired and found inspiration in Rainer Marie Rilke’s quote “Do not seek the answers that cannot be given you…The point is to live everything. Live the questions now. And perhaps someday, far in the future, you will live you way into the answers.” Living with questions requires patience – a kind and gentle relationship with yourself and the challenges or circumstances that have brought about the questions. Is that effort?
One of my favorite speech titles is: “Change is Inevitable. Transformation is Intentional.” Intention is sometimes forcing the issue, pushing the waters, and/or creating a plan and timetable to achieve an end result. Intention, in this case, is the desire and freedom to envision possibilities for moving forward. The willingness to say, “Yes, this has happened. And now what?”
I believe that when we pay attention and are present – staying awake to life with a spirit of abundance rather than scarcity – the potential for transformation is around every corner. Grace is always present, it has nothing to do with our worthiness, only our presence.