“Transformation: A marked change in form, nature, or appearance.”
Transformation happens when we become our change. While the changes that are thrust upon us, or we choose to embrace, can alter our life – following through with change can ultimately transform the way we relate to the world.
Recently I wrote about Five Ways to Embrace Change. The fifth touched on the notion of claiming change, even the tough ones.
Choose change. While no one chooses to get sick, you can still ask for help, research your options and make active choices in your treatment and recovery. The same goes for ending a relationship or losing a job. Finding ways to claim choice in the change of circumstance helps you mentally move through difficult times and embrace the outcomes. When we feel like a victim, blaming others or ourselves effectively shuts the door on growth and stops us from finding the upside to change.
Some would say it’s the tricky things in life, like how we deal with set backs, that shape our future successes. (If a sense of failure is your particular stumbling block, this Maria Forleo interview with Dr Cathy Coullatt is a must view).
How can we forget people like Gill Hicks who almost lost her life in the 2005 London Underground bombing? Her inspirational response to terrorism and becoming a double amputee transformed her life’s work from the world of design to founding M.A.D. for Peace, an organisation dedicated to seeing the best in humanity
While Gill Hicks’s story is profound, for most of us the path towards transformation begins with small, seemingly insignificant, changes.
From my observation of clients who’ve transformed their lives, there’s often a common thread. In each case they gave themselves permission to change a habit, listened to what they truly desired or simply followed their curiosity. Some of the first small steps included these things:
• Eating dinner at the table listening to music, instead of on their lap in front of television.
• Not working on their day off.
• Taking a beginners’ meditation class.
• Stopping eating a food (or foods) that made them feel unwell.
• Not answering client calls or reading emails outside of work hours.
• Taking a community centre art class.
• Smiling at strangers.
• Following Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way.
And a few started with a courageous leap, like:
• dropping out of a vocational university degree, when they realised they’d only chosen the course to please a parent
• leaving a corporate job to volunteer in a developing country
• giving up alcohol and joining AA.
So how can something simple like eating dinner at the table be transformational? For J it was the first step in changing her relationship with food and doing more with her life. By eating without the distraction of television, she became conscious of what she ate. Instead of snacking on cheese, biscuits and chocolate on the couch, she made an effort to cook a balanced meal. This singular small step started a ripple through her life. Within days of improving her diet she had more energy. Over the weeks her skin improved, which boosted her confidence. Ultimately one small change lead to J having the energy and self-esteem she needed to fully engage with the world, instead of staying comatosed in front of the television every night.
Transformation requires us to engage rather than resist change. Sometimes it involves forgiveness, letting go of past hurts or discarding resentments that stop us from moving forward. For others it’s simply to choose being happy each day.
While heroic responses to adversity make the headlines, don’t forget that most transformations begin with small, seemingly mundane changes rather than grand gestures, which result in living a happier and more fulfilling life.
Are you ready to transform your life?