We all come to a junction in our life when we feel we need a change. It is often prompted by a huge shift in our circumstances. Perhaps the loss of someone or a catastrophic incident that seems to shake our world and everything we stood for. We may feel that it is not even a change that is calling out desperately but it is a transformation, a real renewal we crave. We wake up after many weeks or months, even years of agonizing and desperate search for our life purpose and suddenly feel liberated by the idea that we can serve God in better, more purposeful ways that we have been so far. This is a clear desire for a transformation that cuts deep into our own soul and promises that we can experience life more meaningfully, deeper and at a more spiritual level. The idea of transformation somewhat turns into the magic word for giving ourselves permission to live authentically, with intent and on purpose.
As I was strolling along the river bank on sunny afternoon I saw a swan. There is absolutely nothing unusual about a swan in London, they are just part of the watery landscape here. But the story of the swan, for me, was a special fairy tale. When I was little girl I was besotted with the story of the ugly duckling that turns into a beautiful swan. The little duck always knew that she was different while others laughed at her. She was clumsy, lonely but always bright, quietly confident and assured that she would know what to do when the time is right. When her time is right! Her own belief that she can be beautiful empowered her to carry on with life, while the waters pass by. One day she returned to her family and her mum was the only one who recognized her. By then, she was a strong, noticeable beauty who was living her life fully on purpose. She was the power of self-belief and her existence was life affirming. We become what we believe who we are and God is the only source that can help us push through the grit of life to march for our dream of who we want to be.
HOw do I transform my life to live my purpose?
Life is perfect balance. As I watched the swan gliding along the silvery water surrounded by steel rods in the canal in Barbican, I was reminded of life. Rivers run along rocks. They feed the rock’s need and desire to be washed and smoothed, while the river fulfils a purpose of streaming along in its own right. The earth gives space for trees to stretch their roots allowing both the river and the fruit serving the tree by reducing its burden. Everything seems to have a natural purpose, why would human beings be any different? God created this beautiful life in perfect balance so that everyone and everything can fulfil that special, particular mission. Why do we, human beings struggle to understand that we have our own purpose to live?
There is wholeness in it all, just like there is wholeness in our existence. Under the layers of behaviours, often destructive thinking patterns, tough criticism, judgements, the harshness of life and manic actions there is an invincible, beautiful human being created by God. We need to trust that whatever is there is enough to succeed but not many of us believe in that voice, recognize that or even accept that it exists!
Everything has energy and this is the basis of the flow of life. Everything in nature moves, flows just like the swan cruises in Barbican. But our thoughts and emotions also glide along the river of our life. What we thought about love a few years ago is different now. How we felt about life, success or happiness has a new dimension added to it because we have grown and changed in so many levels. Our life experiences have transformed us but we can only truly feel this when we do not miss the messages of God through these experiences. We cannot be truly transformed when we are so caught up in the messy reality of our lives, whether it is a divorce, a change of job or the loss of a loved one that we do not appreciate the rich learning all these experiences offer. Our life experiences are not for God to learn or for us to prove to God that we deserve to go to Paradise only. God is adding something to our system by providing circumstances so that we can become more, wider, more spacious and whole. Some of these experiences are not particularly pleasant but this is just our perspective. God’s perspective is that there is not a single thing in the world that is negative and has no value for us. Absolutely nothing! Not even losing our loved ones or a bitter divorce. It is actually often those earth shattering harsh experiences are the ones that make us whole, resourceful and all in all, powerful human beings!
Our faith expresses this in the form of tests. God tests us with good and bad so that we can embrace our journey with a more open mind and heart. These tests are available to us so that we develop our mechanism for life by paying attention to our wholeness rather than hiding parts of us that do not fit or are uncomfortable. Instead, we accept the labels others put on us and live our life happily (but more often not so happily). We are not the label. We are not the job. We are not the money we have or the car we drive. We are bare essential human beings with all the riches within. Some of us just miss it because we are blinded by the lights and colours of life.
Transformation happens not only on individual level but in nature and the universe as well. We just need to accept and go with it. Try to stop it and you will be stuck for a long time! Try to cut a cocoon open and liberate the butterfly! He will not be able to fly because he is not ready and we cannot force him to get out of the goo because for his growth that goo is essential. For us, to become fully fledged human beings with wings, we need the goo. We need to be stuck in particular emotions. We need to be really in situations and eat our way through the goo so that we can truly feel liberation once we are out! Some of us need to go through divorce to understand who we are and what we really want from life. We need to be ill so that we can grasp God’s infinite wisdom. We need to feel ecstatic or frustrated, resentful or angry to understand the range of emotions that add to our self-expression and full self-discovery. When we learn from our emotions, what buttons other people push and what value it has for us, we learn how to live and grow.