“How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar”. – Trina Paulus
Transformation. It is my favorite word.
Transformation is the wondrous process by which a desire for change becomes a reality. In its highest form, it transmutes something from one state of being to another. The new state is one of higher positive vibration. Transformation is the reward that happens when we are not afraid to explore the nudges we feel when something no longer works. Those nudges can be asking us to make behavioral, physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual changes. Regardless of what needs to be looked at, the road to transformation takes awakening, awareness and ultimately, a commitment to doing the necessary work.
My life as a designer is all about transformation. Working in the realm of physical space I shift a clients’ existing reality into a new one that is guided by their need to see things differently. And more times than not, the need to change ones surroundings coincides with a need for change in some other aspect of their lives.
Recently I got a call from my long time friend and client, Alana, saying she was ready to do some redecorating. Having not seen her for a few months I was amazed to be greeted by a stunning version of my friend. She had decided it was time to shed the excess weight she’d been carrying for years and her work was certainly paying off. She was feeling so different in her new physical body and finding herself less and less comfortable when she looked around her home. It didn’t align anymore because she had changed, but it had not.
Her weight loss kick started a desire to feel lighter and airier in all aspects of her life.
If her newer, happier, healthier version was to survive it would mean saying goodbye to the things she no longer wanted or needed. And because old and new cannot occupy the same space at the same time, it meant saying a final farewell to the old Alana.
Transformation is proof that change is possible and gives us the courage to explore other areas that need change.
Because we humans are complex, the first transformational steps of awakening and bringing awareness to our current realities can be terrifying. The inability for old and new to live simultaneously means that decisions have to be made about what makes the cut. This brings all types of emotion to the fore; feelings of guilt that we don’t love or want what someone has given us; feelings of anger when the beliefs we held as truth may not seem so anymore; feelings of fear because we don’t have proof that we are headed toward something better, and all the other “should haves, could haves and “didn’ts”.
Transformation occurs when focused intent to elevate ones state of being is present. But it doesn’t happen in a vacuum without impacting other things. The many aspects of our lives are like the threads of an intricately woven tapestry. Together they make up a whole, but when we try to single out a particular thread to explore it can be very difficult. Consider the man going to therapy to discuss a bad divorce. He may feel relieved during the session, but the same dread hits him when he opens the door and sees the furniture he and his ex bought together. Or the woman who has long since raised her kids but never taken the time to update her hair and clothing to reflect this new chapter in her life. When change happens in one area it forces change in another. And not only is it important to make internal changes, but external as well. I have long advocated the partnering of environmental change (interior design) with other aspects of wellness (i.e. psychotherapy, spiritual exploration, weight loss/fitness programs, etc). We humans need to see a new reality when we look around our physical planes to believe that transformation has actually occurred
The only way to test the water is by starting to edit what doesn’t work anymore. With practice, the small matters get smaller and it becomes less daunting to look at the bigger ones. The more nudges we tackle the more self assured we are that we’re making good decisions which turn the tide toward positive transformation. This makes it easier to push past our excuses and quiet the monkey mind that fights against change. I’ve found that ones’ level of discomfort is directly proportional to the level of resistance to transforming something new. There are those who would rather stay stuck and stale and miserable than invest in the work needed to make things better. What a shame that they are missing out on one of the most beautiful gifts of alchemy that we humans have been given – the ability to transform our lives!
Those who attain real and lasting change are those that believe positive transformation is possible and are brave enough to do the necessary work. And when it does happen, no one ever, ever says they want things go back to the way they used to be.