Transformation and Understanding


Taking a thinking break, I looked over to my calendar. The saying for February was about growing quietly but persistently… I liked that one. Suddenly I realized that it was time to turn it over to March! Pulling it off my cubicle wall, I excitedly peeled up the next page to read this month’s quote. It read:

The most powerful agent of growth and transformation is something much more basic than any technique; a change of heart.” ~John Welwood

In a split second, I took my pen, crossed out “heart” and wrote a different word underneath.

A change of heart… My heart has to change? How?…

It was as if I was a little girl in church again and the pastor was telling me that I needed to change my heart. Feet dangling above the floor… innocent eyes and ears drinking in every detail, every voice inflection, every verse read, every song sung. Change my heart? Make it somehow… better?

Does this mean I have to change how I feel? Yes, I guess it must be that. I have to have better feelings. So some feelings are bad, and some feelings are good. Okay… so how do I change the bad feelings to good feelings?  Because that “good” heart?- that’s what I want. Oh, and having a change of heart means I need to be good on the outside too? Maybe that will help… Okay, give me the list of what’s good and I will work very hard at it. Very hard! If I can work hard enough at this list, then will I get that good heart? Where do I go for the stamp of approval? What signs can I look for to know that my heart really has changed for the better?

I don’t think the writer meant for his words to be taken in quite this way… but that is how they struck me today. Instead of the phrase change of heart, I’ll be looking at the phrase change of understanding for this coming month.

Understanding. After I wrote it, I thought about that word. I pictured something strong standing up on the inside of me, strong legs and strong arms holding up my heart, holding it in place, letting it breath, letting it pump and flow and give and receive and BE alive. Understanding. Knowing that way before it got so confused with other people’s versions of “good”, my heart was good. It was born that way. It’s not my heart that needs to change. The thing that creates the vitality of transformation is a change in the underpinnings of what I believe about myself and a new understanding of where the faulty underpinnings came from in the first place.


5 response to "Transformation and Understanding"

  1. By: Viv Palmer/Harvey Posted: 8th March

    thank you Darlene, Carla,Jeannette,

    I am still that little girl in church being told she had to change her heart. You’ve explained this well in your post, Jeannette.
    I understand a great deal more than I did before writing my story, with the resulting lightened burden. But gunk remains. I too shall focus on changing my understanding,

  2. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 5th March

    Thanks Darlene!

    Jeanette, that picture is poignant in my mind too… You have really linked a lot of things together so well in your comment, describing how we connect what happened TO us to who we are, like there was something wrong with us in the first place that caused us to deserve the abuse. Thank you so much for sharing here Jeanette.

    Splinteredones- thank you for visiting and commenting as well! I agree- Darlene’s “normalizing” post was full of profound wisdom.

  3. By: Splinteredones Posted: 5th March

    Normalizing. That’s exactly it, non? What we considered/continue to consider is so different from those who have not been thru this. It has been heavily on our mind lately. And then here comes this piece of profound wisdom from Darlene. Normalizing, thank you

  4. By: Jeanette Posted: 5th March

    Carla, what hit me in this post was the little girl sitting in church with her feet dangling, soaking in everything and trying to make sense of it in her little mind. I was there, right there in that same pew. And when you are dealing with abuse and already feeling that something must be terribly wrong with you in order for these things to happen, already taking the blame for the abuse, and then you hear from the pulpit that there is something wrong with your heart, that this is where the problem is with you; it’s sets in motion a lifetime of despair, because you can never FEEL good enough, clean enough, changed enough; no matter how hard you try, the abuse is still there, so you must be broken beyond where a changed heart can even happen.

    And so I am just now coming to that change of UNDERSTANDING as you speak of, that it wasn’t what was wrong inside of me and my heart that caused all of this badness to happen, but what was being done TO me; and nothing I could work toward on the inside was going to make that go away. And now I have to try to undo all this twisted thinking that has reached into the fibers of my being, this thinking that it still is about how bad I was and am and not about what was done TO me without my consent or even understanding at such a young age. It just WAS.

    So I am going to take your word for this month as my own as well! Continue in my change of UNDERSTANDING, the foundation of that long slow process of healing.

    🙂 Hugs to you both!

  5. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 5th March

    Awesome post Carla!

    We are born good; stuff happens but before we can just turn it all around, we really do need to realize what the heck happened that derailed us in the first place. THEN the rest falls into place. For me, that was when I felt the freedom. That was when it all made sense, that was when my life was full again and I was happy in my own skin.

    Hugs, Darlene

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