We might say “I’m making a transition” when going from one site or place to another, perhaps at work or to a new home. If we say “I’m transforming” we are in the business of taking who we are and becoming someone different.
One of the oldest images of transformation is the life-cycle of plants. The seed goes into the ground, and something entirely different in form grows, fruits, and creates new seeds. Another central image is the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. Inside the cocoon the caterpillar dissolves completely, and from that jelly another form takes shape. The process of dissolution is uncomfortable at best, and terrifying at worst. One has to risk everything while trusting in an unknown, unproved future.
Photo: Karen Aspen Fischer
Important Facts about Transformation
- Transformation is not a random process. The new form is true to the DNA – a specific caterpillar becomes a specific butterfly, plant an acorn and get an oak. All that you were before is still embedded in your memory and other systems, but the transformed you accesses, understands and uses everything differently.\
- The price is high. If we choose to metamorphose, to transform, the old “I” will not be there – it dies to its old form. Often a person (or organization or country) is unwilling to die to live, especially if unsure what the new form will be.
- Transformation happens in an altered state, and Form I does not dictate the process to create the transition, nor control its outcome.
- There is path. Joseph Campbell says “Know which story you are in, and know where you are in the story.”
- There is a learning curve for each entity, with opportunities occurring again and again. Sometimes accumulated pain or loss finally cause a passage through the gate into transformation. And sometimes the vision of what can be shines brightly enough to become a guiding North Star.
I believe our work in the world is to undertake our own transformation journeys, and to help others do the same. I write about people and places that are engaging in transformation. Join me here.