The Nature of Change

I talk about progressive change a lot, yet that idea does not fully capture my ideas about how change occurs.

I like the word progressive because it indicates forward movement. It is also nonpartisan, or at least it can be understood in that way. Yet, progress is linear, logical, and rational. There is a beginning and an end. Yet, change does not always occur in this way. In fact, change is an ongoing, continual process. Every breath is a potential transformation.

When I was an undergrad, my theology professor shared two views of history with us. According to him, a line with a set starting point represented the Western view while a circle represented the Eastern view. Not being satisfied with either, I developed a third idea – a spiral with no beginning and no ending, with cycles that build upon what has occurred in the past.

Social change happens in all three ways, reflecting the multiple understandings that humans have about the nature of history. Social change also occurs in quantum space when openings are created through chaos.

So how does one become an advocate for quantum change, rather than progressive change, without being physically or psychologically violent?

I think this can be achieved by detaching, opening up to possibility, and flowing.

So how does one effectively do this in a politically tenuous environment?

By focusing on our intention, trusting, and being love.

Releasing our unrealistic desire to control everything in the universe leads to an increased sense of self-control.

I think that the concepts of progressive change and quantum change are complementary, perhaps even paradoxical. Activists can simultaneously employ different means toward the same ends either inter- or intra-personally. The important thing is to be aware of what we are doing, our purpose, and to do something to express our deepest values in the social sphere.

My Week: Clearing

I spent a good part of the beginning of this week watching an old, dilapidated building being destroyed. Bit by bit, a Caterpillar claw removed bricks, shingles, and innumerable other items until a pile of rubble remained on the ground. I spend a good part of the end of the week unintentionally removing all of the toxins from my body. Whether I had food poisoning or a virus remains unknown; what I do know is that I have never felt so sick in my entire life.

While the process of clearing out feels icky, messy, and miserable, it is only by doing so that we can create space for new possibilities. The space where the old building once stood will be lovingly filled with a new home for many people. The space inside of my body will be carefully and delicately filled with nourishment until all is healed. Both processes of clearing have also created a positive psychic energy from which a renewed sense of clarity and purpose is emerging for me.

I often have a hard time letting go of old feelings and things, regardless of how heavy and obstructive they truly are to me. These attachments block the flow of energy and a limit my ability to feel free.

The destructive processes that I have witnessed and experienced this week have reminded me of their life affirming dimensions. Like waste that transforms into compost that nourishes a plentiful garden, letting heavy or negative things, ideas, and feelings flow away can lead to a bountiful, flourishing life.

Awakening and Becoming

The process of personal growth is both awakening and becoming.

Awakening is the process of connecting with our purpose and passion. It is both spiritual and psychological. It is internal and eternal.

Becoming is the process of integrating our soul’s deepest desires–our purpose and our passion–with our everyday thoughts and actions. It is experiential and external.

The more we awaken, the more we can become. The more we become, the more we can awaken.

This idea can be applied to organizational development as well. Awakening is the process of discovering and articulating the organization’s highest purpose and vision. Becoming is the process of bringing that purpose and vision to life through action.

From Contingency to Consistency

Too often, I find myself making decisions based on conditions. This includes waiting for a “when” to happen before taking action and wondering what “if” something goes wrong. When I become aware of this, I recognize that living in this way negatively distorts the sense of wonder and possibility in my life. It also leads to limited expression of my needs. Rather than making decisions based on conditions, I think it is more effective to consistently integrate my truest, deepest desires into my every thought and action. By doing so, I am living in alignment with my life purpose rather than reacting with fear.