Transformation vs. Change


Rev. Carol Bodeau, Minister revcarol@westsideuuc.org

Happy New Year everyone! Often, the New Year brings a sort of resolve to improve ourselves and our lives. We may make resolutions about our physical health, our finances, our relationships, our professional lives, or any of a number of other things. In general, these resolutions start off with great enthusiasm and commitment, but we may find them hard to sustain as the weeks and then months pass. So how can we truly embrace changing ourselves and our lives in positive ways?

Often, good intentions are derailed by the practicalities of changing patterns that are well-established. Though we may really want to substitute a healthy new pattern for one that hasn’t been serving us well, we often forget just how those patterns are part of a greater, interconnected whole. Put simply, our lives cannot be compartmentalized. You cannot change your diet without changing other aspects of your life—perhaps your shopping habits, how much time you spend in the kitchen, how you spend the leisure time in the evenings around meals, how you budget each month, etc. Or, in the area of finances, it easy to say we’re going to save more each month but then that affects our leisure activities, our self-care routines, how we connect with family and friends, and other basic habits. Once you begin trying to change and adjust one area of your life, you find that so many other areas are impacted, it might just be too complicated to make it all work.

This is why I recommend that we don’t try for change, but rather for transformation. It sounds like a much bigger order, on the front end, but is a more realistic approach to shifting our lives for the better. The difference between change and transformation is that a ‘change’ is simply an adjustment or shift in one discreet area. Transformation, on the other hand, is a comprehensive shift in our very being. When we choose to be transformed, we are surrendering to a much greater, more unpredictable process. And yet transformation is what leads to true, sustainable human growth and development. And transformation is something that we can’t “make” happen, or fully control. Instead, it is something more organic, that we must surrender to. We set it in motion, then have to follow where it leads us.

Transformation allows us to change holistically, on all levels and in ways that honor the interconnections in our lives. Rather than just losing a few pounds, we may transform our whole relationship to our bodies. Rather than just saving a few more dollars, we may transform our whole understanding of resources and abundance. Of course, this comprehensive level of adjustment isn’t always called for, but usually the things we identify for our New Year’s resolutions involve some deep, inner wish for transformation.

So, as the New Year begins, let’s consider the ways that we—as individuals and as a community—are seeking, and willing to risk, deep transformation. Though surface changes will surely be part of that process, it is the richer, deeper, more whole-life experience of being transformed that will truly bring us a greater sense of sustainable well-being.

Wishing you a year of magical transformation,

Rev. Carol


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Westside Unitarian Universalist Church

616 Fretz Road

Knoxville, TN 37934

(865) 777-9882

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