Changes

People don’t like change. Do you like change? To change? Most folks are just too busy trying to be disciplined with their own routines when they don’t really wanna to be distracted with having to change.

“Oh, no, not again!” Changing diapers is a mess, isn’t it?

Change seems to get people going, though. Galvanizes them.

What fires you up?

What inspires you?

What are you passionate FOR?

I don’t want to know what you care about. I want to know what you stand for. And what you’re gonna next.

Are you a doer?

Or a beer? Beer!? Oops, I mean be-er, as in “Are you a do-er or a be-er?”

How are you going to do what you wanna do?

What is your intention?

Are you clear?

Who do you plan to enroll?

Do you even have a plan?

Is it true, you think, that quote “Have a plan, or plan to fail?”

How are you going to execute your plan?

And implement its provisions?

What stops you?

Are you stopped?

Have you given yourself permission to fail? Make mistakes? Own it, accept the consequences, and clean it up? Learn and move on?

Hey, are you even on Purpose? No, not your goals for the week, but your deep, life Purpose? Purpose with a capital-P?

What is more important to you, being Happy or being on Purpose?

Some wise sages say to be on purpose one has to spend period of time where one isn’t necessarily happy. Then again, one can consciously choose to be happy when life is uncomfortable, even miserable.

Research demonstrates happiness has a genetic component. Some people are wired with it. For others like myself we must train ourselves. Maybe brain damage from childhood concussions and the turbulent environment I grew up in messed with me somehow. And I marvel at those remarkable human beings who are happy no matter the circumstances. Their family has been butchered. Maybe they themselves were raped or shot or had an arm chopped off. Their homes were destroyed and a lifetime of work stolen. And, yes, they do feel the loss, the hurt, the anger, the grief, the pain, the shame…and they move forward in life anyway with gratitude, with grace, with a deep inner light of joy so powerful with love no monster can ever extinguish. That is beyond change. It is transformation.

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibetan Buddhism, states regardless “of belief in religion or not,” he believes “the very purpose of our life is to see happiness. That is clear. … the very motion of our life is towards happiness.” His stand for world peace, for example, begins within each one of us. “How can we have peace between nations,” he asks, “without first achieving peace within ourselves? World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is the manifestation of human compassion.”

Rick Warren, the Pastor of California’s Saddleback Church and an Evangelical Christian, stands for a purpose-driven life “based on external purposes, not cultural values.” He lists five God and Christ-focused purposes for all of us to live for.

Both are passionate men. Both approaches lead to happiness and joy. One is internally focused as he looks down and within; the other is external and looks up and outwards. Together at some point each approach connects and loops into a circle.  They move beyond change to stands for transformation.

In my experiences of The Landmark Forum, I remember the Forum Leaders of Landmark Education emphasize “transformation” over “change.”

“Change changes nothing,” I remember them saying. “You take something, anything, turn it around, inside out, point it this way or that, you change it. You move something from here to there, you change it. You change yourself. But nothing really changes! Except perhaps the appearance. It’s not transformation!”

Transformation is breaking down to break out to break through, to rise up and above, becoming unrecognizable. It is metamorphosis. It is an egg becoming a caterpillar becoming a chrysalis full of gloop to emerge fully transformed as a butterfly. Change is just more of the same. Transformation is total reorganization, revolution, re-creation, and an evolutionary leap into the unknown, letting go of everything, inventing new possibilities.

The American poet Wallace Stevens, “a change of style is a change of meaning.” He wrote poems where of change such as “The Blue Guitar” in which, nevertheless, “nothing changed” as “things become…as they are.” Heraclitus of Ancient Greece said “There is nothing permanent except change. Change alone is unchanging.” The popular saying “While everything changes, everything remains the same” may be attributed to people as diverse Aristotle, the Buddha, and today’s folk singers, it embraces a certain truth. To move beyond mere change, transformation is required, needed, desired, and yes, demanded.

What do you transform?

Where do you stand?

What stops you? What keeps you a caterpillar or stuck in a cocoon?

Whether your focus is Happiness or Purpose or both, changing things only changes things. And someday nothing shall remain.

Before you whither away and die like a bouquet of fresh flowers laid out upon the grave, what will you transform?

 

William Dudley Bass
November 2011
Seattle, Washington

 

Copyright © 2011, 2016 by William Dudley Bass. All Rights Reserved until we Humans establish Wise Stewardship of and for our Earth and Solarian Commons. Thank you.

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