Living Transformation: Body Soul Spirit My life with me, you and all things.

I am sitting in a house that shelters me, it was built in 1894. I am looking out of the garden doors that we put in during one of the many renovation shifts that my longtime partner and I offered to this grand old gal of a home. The garden doors are framing the sunflower bush that has been offering a kind of light to the garden, even on the rainy dreary days- like today.

Everything wants to be in right relationship, offering in a good way what it has to give. All things change in their relationship to time and I have experienced that we can change our relationship and experience of time. Some experiences are so full, so large that in 10 minutes we bring to birth what would usually take an hour. There are also those times when an hour seems like a day, time so pregnant with itself that even a day isn’t enough to do what usually takes us to do in no time at all.

Transformation takes time, and it occurs in time. Modern life seems to have a shortage of time – people working longer days and weeks with little positive effect in making the world a better place to be, or so it seems. The ancient Greeks had two references for time – Chronos and Kairos. Chronos, lets call him the father of time, is the measure of time – chronological time, the structure of time in ordered movement: 60 seconds to a minute, sixty minutes to an hour, 24 hours to the day. It is form, a grid, and it offers stability and a way to organize and simplify understandings. When we say “I will meet you at 3:00 PM on Wednesday, we share a meaning that lives outside of ourselves. Kairos, lets call her the younger sister of time (yes I know the Greeks thought of Kairos as a young man – I am shifting that imagination), is right timing, a flocking/swarming motion, effortless flow rather than a grid. A murmuration of right activity in all ways.

Time is where I practice my life as an intentional living transformation. More and more I find myself shifting from a Chronos stance of predetermined order, lets call that “hard will”, to a more present, flexible and emergent Kairos gesture, a “soft will”. In traditional religious language this is seen as shifting from “my will” to “thy will”. It can be awkward, and also annoying to others. In my experience it is connected to a move from opinions to curiosity … from duality to inclusion, from “either or” to “as well as”. I have found that a necessary element of this dance with living transformation is an openness to dance also with my shadow. It is hard to honesty express how difficult this is at times ….. to acknowledge, accept and yes come to love parts of myself that don’t live up to my own standards! It is tempting to see these qualities as a part of you rather than me. Then I can complain or blame rather than self reflecting and owning. It can be a crisis of acceptance when I come to understand that I may not greatly change some of those qualities even with great effort. At best I can meet them at the edge of emergence, and gently persuade them into softening just a little.

I have found it somewhat shocking to experience and understand that there are qualities and ways of being that I will not radically shift in this life time no matter how hard I try. I am not a house where more light can shine in with the addition of new garden doors facing south. Just as my eyes are hazel and no amount of study, visualizing or good intention will turn them bright blue, I have qualities that will be with me along with my hazel eyes. I can work to modulate, but I cannot eradicate nor profoundly change this part of who I am. What I can do is love it into softening, even just a little.

Barbarah Nicoll
Ubuntu Learning