Welcome to a Transformative Fall!

October 1, 2010 - 8:18 pm 557 Comments

Whatsoever that is within us that feels, thinks, desires, and animates, is something celestial and divine and therefore imperishable. God created [humanity] to be an image of [God’s] own eternity. ” Apocrypha Wisdom 2

Welcome to a Transformational Fall!  A Reflection on Change

 

Change might well be the only constant we can name. Change can be experienced and understood on many levels and across many dimensions of our lives. There are changes in routine, in health, in our work, in our relationships, just to name a few!

As we enter into the glorious season of Fall with all its splendid changes in nature, we cannot help finding ourselves thinking and reflecting on the nature of change in our lives, in our local community, and the world.

 

While most theorists busy themselves writing about the psychological and the sociological, the environmental or the financial aspects of change, theologians can look at these concerns and place them in a different context.

Theologians see change as the presence of the Spirit that accompanies us in all that we do. Change is life, and the Spirit is that agency and energy that gives breath and life, purpose and meaning to our days. There is not one activity of life, down into its most basic elements, that doesn’t involve us in some sort of alchemical or transformative change in some way.

To breathe, think, walk, relate as a human being means that you are constantly engaged in the processes of change even when you do not realize it! From metabolism and digestion to thought, sensation and consciousness itself, our lives are constantly involved in change.

Sometimes, in our lives, we are consciously called, even compelled to change: To change individually, because of some compelling circumstance, severe obstacle or unexpected blessing we have received. Sometimes, the change we are experiencing is shared– So we are called to change or respond as a group, as a family, or as a community.

In the interfaith and international movement called Creation Spirituality, change is a welcomed energy that gives vitality and meaning to our lives. In this approach to our Western religious heritage, religion combines with relationships, and spirituality with ecology and it is marked or celebrated as the four paths or Vias that a person, or a community travels through in their yearly journey.

The four paths are the Via Positiva, the Via Negativa, the Via Creativia, and the Via Transformativa. These paths can be seen as a liturgical and ecological year corresponding roughly to our seasons of early Fall/Winter, Winter/Spring, Spring/Summer and Summer into Fall. While some religious outlooks might neglect a respect for such observations and natural cycles, I contend that they can offer us valuable insights into how the natural world teaches the human community about the nature of change in our lives.

Fall, is THE season for change-In some ways, it signals new beginnings, such as in the Jewish New Year and the beginning of school, and other ways fresh endings, harvest and reaping what had been sown by our previous actions. In my understanding, this is the essence of real transformation- the new into the old, the old into the new- all in one grand dynamic of change.

This year, as every year has the potential of becoming, can be a transformational year on your life. It will be a year in which we can begin to formulate your personal and community statements of covenant, mission, vision, and personal and relational commitments that can demonstrate greater cooperation, collaboration, and mutual trust.

Waxing theologically, we will be traveling down the Via Transformativa together, knowing full well that who we were as a as individuals and as a community, in some certain measure will change: We will not now stay the same– we always live in a crucible– We do not know what we shall become.

I ask each person or reader to engage in this change process wholeheartedly-as openly and as supportively as they can. Each of us needs to realize that we are all together in an equally shared, transformative journey. Like it or not, change happens to each and to every one of us whether we try to resist it or not. So it would be the best approach for body, mind, spirit and soul, for families, committees, and institutions to consciously seek out new ways to positively embrace change and extract any constructive meaning from it for the greater good…

Some Positive Guidelines Towards Personal Renewal:


Physical

Give your body some form of exercise. Preferably, include an aerobic workout, some stretching, and muscle strengthening. Try not to overemphasize any one approach, Simple walking can sometimes suffice, or choose Yoga, Tai Chi etc. Seek out ways that integrate bodily awareness with spiritual attunement.

Pay attention to the quality, color and variety of the food you eat. Eat low on the food chain, colorfully, with an emphasis on freshness. Practice sobriety in all you take in, digest, or assimilate. Become aware of your specific nutritional needs and how your body reacts to stress. Try to avoid any loss of sleep, unnecessary drug usage, wasteful sexuality, overly mental activities- anything that might rob you of vitality and your need for poise and balance.

Emotional

Daily or regular devotional reading to “open up” one’s heart to inspiration and comfort. Practice rhythmic breathing, and slow, deep inhalations as stress reducers. Offer one act of charity/service or kindness each day/week. Seek to improve the basis and the quality of caring in your relationships. Resolve any contradictions. Clear your conscience. Forgive yourself and offer it willingly to others. Make time for your spouse, children and give attention to their needs.

Mental

Evaluate the quality and content of your thoughts and speech. Appraise the power of language and silence in your life. Think before speaking, and choose to be silent rather than be unkind. Keep a journal, a diary or a dream log as a tool for self evaluation. Do not be too quick to criticize or devalue yourself or others. Read, watch, listen to or participate in stimuli you can learn from and respect. Discover something new each day, and share it with a friend or family member.

Spiritual:

Look to your understanding of God, and not in the mirror or in your wallet, for your sense of identity.

Try to avoid being self conscious. Assess your values and goals realistically, with compassion and courage. Worship regularly with a community of trust and similar values. Check how you greet each day and for how you get through each day. Ask yourself about your purpose in work and career. Look at your goals and at the motives for what you do and why.

Smile. Sing. Dance. Laugh. Draw, and Dream a little something new each day. Find more inspiration from the beauty of the natural world. Accept yourself. Love one another. See God in yourself and seek the good of God in all things. Rejoice Always!

Lessons from the Dalai Lama

Why? One of the reasons for his popularity and for his endearing qualities that elicit such respect and loyalty is found in his statements about life that reveal his deep and abiding compassion. Here are some words of advice entitled “Instructions for Life:”

1) Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

2) When you lose, don’t lose the lesson!

3) Follow the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for all your actions.

4) Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck!

5) Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.

6) Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

7) When you realize you have made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

8) Spend some time alone everyday.

9) Open your arms to change, but do not let go of your values!

10) Remember, that silence is sometimes the best answer.

11) Live a good, honorable life. Then, when you get older, and think back you will be able to enjoy your life a second time.

12) a loving atmosphere in your home is foundational to your life.

13) In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation.

14) Do not bring up issues or problems from the past.

15) Share your knowledge. Its a way to achieve immortality.

16) Be gentle on the earth.

17) Once a year, go someplace you have never been.

18) Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your needs for each other.

19) Judge your success by what you have had to give up in order to get it.

20) Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon!

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