Transformation is a choice

  • 13 JUNE 2022
  • 5 min read

You can tell a lot about someone by seeing their goals and how they organize their lives to reach their goals. But you can tell a lot more about people by seeing what price they are willing to pay to reach those goals. Most of us have similar goals that are universally human. Achievement, success, a sense of purpose, meaningful work, engaging hobbies, supportive connections and loving and secure relationships. Yet so many flounder around wondering why the reality is so far from the dream.

And I think this happens because very often, we don’t sit down and have a negotiation dialogue with ourselves to ascertain – The things I am pursuing, are these my goals?Am I ok with these? Do I know what price I am willing to pay for them? And am I ok with paying that price?

In any transformation – people, team, organization or community we see the pain of transformation. The pain that we have to bear because there is a lot of work to be done, difficult truths to be faced and old, comfortable habits to be shed. And it is not easy to do this because it comes with confusion, anxiety, grief for the truths hidden from self, grief for lost innocence and disappointment at unmet expectations and needs. And of course, we want to postpone this pain. After all, all brains are optimized to minimize efforts and maximize pleasure.

The pain of transformation is gradual, it comes in small doses and daily. It is what top athletes and performers go through on a daily, hourly basis. It is the pain of being overwhelmed but continuing to work through gritted teeth and taking one step at a time. It is the pain facing anyone who decides to be open to transformation.

Because we don’t like pain, we have become adept in avoiding it. We have mastered the art of distracting ourselves with more work, more tasks, new job, relationship, change of location – anything to avoid the nagging pain inside that tells us to turn around and look at ourselves.

But there is also the pain of regret – all of us know this pain. We make resolutions for improvement but slip on doing the work. We look at the mirror with a twinge of regret as we see the layers of inertia and then avoid looking at the mirror altogether. Sometimes, inadvertently when we are forced to see our reflection, there is that gut-wrenching feeling of “I should have …”.

The pain of regret comes like a tsunami and is often triggered by crises or difficult circumstances. This pain weighs a lot more because it forces us to come face to face with our own cowardice and inertia. Sometimes it weighs more because we know that it is too late. But sooner or later, this pain has to be faced head-on and on the chin. Coming to terms with this pain can be extraordinarily difficult. But pain respects courage. So, if you choose to face this pain, accept the regrets that you have for not doing the work that you should have, show yourself compassion, this pain gracefully recedes, leaving a trail of pearls.

We are all attuned to pay attention to pain and resolve it. But if we are able to sit with the pain and listen to it and respect it, we learn to move forward. Either we must face the pain of transformation or the pain of regret. And everyday we must make our peace with our choice.

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.” – Eckhart Tolle

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