Let mystery have its place in you; do not be always turning up your whole soil with the plowshare
of self-examination, but leave a little fallow corner in your heart ready for any seed the winds may
bring, and reserve a nook of shadow for the passing bird; keep a place in your heart for the
unexpected guests, an altar for an unknown God.

Henri-Frederic Ariel

Make a bit of room. Leave a little space. That may not sound like anything radical or revolutionary. But it turns out that it is one of Life’s favorite ways to make us into something new. Be cautious with those cultural messages about aggressively tilling and turning up your whole soil. Watch out for all the heroic talk about striving and perfecting, struggle and control. Much of the time, transformation is a much subtler art. It’s about stillness, listening and waiting to be led, not fighting with yourself and others to make sure you are in the lead.

In short, when it comes to transformation, the message of spirituality is “Be careful with what you’ve been taught and told about transformation because much of it takes us in exactly the wrong direction.” Our challenge as communities of transformation is to remind each other to take those different tacks. Such as:

It’s about breathing rather than becoming better.
It’s about patience not perfection
It’s about depth not dominance.
It’s about attention not improvement.

That part about attention instead of improvement is especially important. It’s so easy to get transformation mixed up with fixing. And fixing is transformation’s biggest foe. Trying to purify or perfect ourselves is the surest way to stay stuck. The pursuit of purity and perfection focuses us on our inadequacy and inferiority, causing us to overlook those unexpected guests that Henri-Frederic speaks of.

And, friends, we don’t want to miss those unexpected guests! Those seeds brought by the wind and those passing birds are the partners that make transformation possible. They help us notice new paths. They invite us to walk with a new step. They awaken in us new songs. They remind us that transformation is not something we do alone. They assure us that transformation doesn’t have to be a long and lonely struggle, but instead can be more like learning a new dance with a new friend. All we have to do is trust, take the hand of that “unknown God” and follow its lead.

So, friends, this month, leave some room on that dance floor of yours. Keep your eyes peeled. See attention and attending as your greatest assets and tools. And when that unexpected guest reaches out its hand, don’t be afraid.

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