In dire circumstances, urgency is palpable.
thrives on that the direr the circumstances, the greater the urgency
for restoring normalcy. The
is: ... no, wait: there's really not a lot of
in dire circumstances. That's their distinguishing feature. What's
worth looking at instead, is that in the midst of dire circumstances,
what there is, is the way it is (and the way it isn't). I
assert there's power in this distinction (which I'll
in this conversation). Wishing, hoping, wanting, and
is natural (indeed, it's very human) in the midst of dire
circumstances. We're thrown to look to and for imminent
It's our own brand of frenzied, hopeless optimism. We're sure "with all
there must be a pony in here somewhere" (as James Kirkwood
may have said).
Yet consider that doing so, as human as it is, may actually (and
inadvertently) obfuscate the possibility of real, powerful,
in the face of
all circumstances, no matter what the circumstances. Why
should that be? What would make it so?
this is counter-intuitive territory. It's
counter-intuitive because dire circumstances obscure the ongoing
possibility that transformation is available at all times, no matter
what the circumstances - and primarily in the midst of dire
circumstances, we look to change (ie to prevent) the circumstances.
It's only secondarily that we look to bring the possibility of being
transformed, to bear - if at all.
Maybe it's because as
we're wired to survive, so we have no choice but to be
in the face of
any real or imagined threats to our survival. Maybe it's because (if we
tell the truth about it) we've cast transformation as little more than
a colloquial change ie as a benevolent force for the good, as a
"fixer", as the righter of wrongs (if you will), as the
restorer of balance. But transformation is none of the above. And it
can't and won't do any of the above - much to the contrary of how we
cast it, what we wish, hope, want, and
for, and (standing in the
of it) much to our chagrin, disappointment, and
It just doesn't happen by itself.
If wishing, hoping, wanting, and
in the face of
dire circumstances (that is to say if wishing, hoping, wanting, and
prayinghad any powerin the face of
dire circumstances) and indeed had any power at all over
the circumstances, we wouldn't merely vanquish all dire
circumstances in which we find ourselves: we would prevent them
entirely ie we would have them not show up at all in the
first place (and
let's face it:
our many attempts to do that, aren't going well for us, are they?).
Try this on for size: what makes circumstances dire (as
distinct from regular, vanilla,
variety circumstances) is the degree to which they overwhelm our
ability to cast them as the way it is, and to accept them that
way, and so to relate to them powerfully. In other words by
definition, circumstances are dire when they overwhelm our ability to
be with them. And that (I really want you to get this)
doesn't begin to speak to changing them or preventing them from
re-occurring - which we may yet do ie which we may have to do for
posterity. The thing to get here is being transformed as a possibility
is invented prior to changing or preventing.
Transformation (wholly and in part) pivots on our ability to
distinguish between who we really are ... and our circumstances. And
dire circumstances (which pose wholesale and imminent threats to life,
survival, and property for example) threaten us to the degree that we
lose sight of our power to cast circumstances as what's so.
That's why transformation is disempowered when it's cast as change.
Transformation happens prior to change. The domain of change is
circumstance. The domain of transformation is who we are (and who we
intend to be) like a context for lifein the face of
any circumstance - the direst of which notwithstanding. That's power.