In an effort to be more alert and aware I’ve noticed a theme in things I’ve been reading and topics people seem to want to talk about when they are around me. It may be a result of this being the time of year fact that most people like to look at as an opportunity to make big changes. Everything seems to revolve around transformation.
Definition: transformation (noun) træns fə mei ʃn 1. Complete change; a complete change, usually into something with an improved appearance or usefulness. 2. Transforming; the act or process of transforming somebody or something. 3. Substitution or variables; the mathematical conversion of an expression, equation or function into another equivalent entity, e.g. by the substitution of one set of variables with another. 4. Genetic change; a permanent change in the genetic makeup of a cell when it acquires foreign DNA. 5. Cell modification; the conversion of a normal cell into a malignant cell brought about the action of a carcinogen or virus.
I am a firm believer that everyone falls in love with the idea of “different” but we all have some level of paralysis when it comes to implementing it. We want improvement, resolution, transformation or some other form of change because we feel that what we have at this moment is somehow inadequate. What we often struggle with in trying to make change happen is letting go of the comfort of what we already have in place.
When I decided to make writing a priority in my life, I read book called Page After Page by Heather Sellers. Sellers offered her insight about good writing habits as well as how to keep going and remain passionate about your creative process. What struck me and stuck with me years later was Sellers’ discussion about living a “writer’s life”. Creative processes are mostly made alone and you will need to tell a lot of people “no” so you can sit your butt in a chair and actually write. It’s difficult to implement that kind of change when it requires looking another friend or family member in the eye and telling them you can’t do what you have always done. When you start to consider all of life’s responsibilities, like earning income and taking care of children, a change in tradition or routine is not easy!
Whatever your intended transformation is, whether it’s a creative process, a new diet or a job, it will always require some sort of revolution; a full blown overthrow of something else in your life. I think I’m seeing God point this out to me in all of those conversations and bits of reading material I run across. The message has been coming across loud and clear: “Figure out what you need to let go of.”
My spiritual director asked me last week if I had any goals for the year in my walk with God. I said I wanted an overall goal of health; not just physical health but mind, body and spiritual health. Deciding to make a concerted effort to be healthier on all three fronts means evaluating everything and making room for those efforts. This has required me to dig very deeply into asking why I choose to occupy my time with things that don’t contribute to the health of my mind, body or spirit. I found a common theme; acceptance.
It seems like a lot of what I choose to do is not based on what is good for me, but it’s based on pleasing others. A good example is my job. I l started a new job that I love about a year ago. I feel like I have finally found my niche in an industry I have been working in for over 20 years. When it comes to earning a living I am happy with what I do because I get a lot of praise and acceptance for doing it. I work a small creative aspect (marketing) in a field full of a very analytical people (financial wizards) and because most of them feel like marketing is out of their wheelhouse they appreciate me. On top of that, I occasionally get a verbal confirmation of that (yippee!). I’m also paid what I feel is a very fair wage for this job and the people I work for allow me flexibility to change my work schedule according to my family obligations. WhaaaaHoooooo!
This has me willing to drive 50 miles away two to three times a week. That’s 100 miles a day!!! That drive is not complimentary to my goal of a healthier spirit, mind or body however every other aspect of that job is fantastic. I find myself asking God if I am loving this job because I’m “called” to it, or am I distracted by basking in the glow of appreciation and acceptance to not realize that I’m called to be somewhere else? I see myself reflecting back on the writing habits book and remembering that sometimes the right choice to accomplish a goal can also be the lonely, unpopular choice.
I don’t know the answer to that right now. I do know that I’m excited to go to work for the first time in many years and right now that is trumping my meditation time, exercise time and writing time. I found that physically I’m deteriorating (gaining weight, sleeping less etc) and I’m spiritually exhausted. I joined a health club and started working with a personal trainer just so I have someone else holding me accountable to some sort of schedule with regard to exercise. This too is something I need to make room for!
I will be asking God a lot of question about keeping the balance of this new page of my life. I know this is something every human being goes through. We all look for that balance and I would love to hear how you get direction from God in finding it!