Thursday, May 3, 2012


Everywhere in economic reports I hear the term growth, and every time I hear it, the space between my shoulder blades tightens. As if growth will make our problems go away. As if growth will dig us out of the hole we're in. Wasn't it accelerated growth that got us into this fix? And yet, we're still looking for growth to be the one-size-fits-all solution. Then every once in a while I hear the words redesign, re-envision or redevelop in relation to a company or a community. Every once in a while I hear people talking about transformation. Those words make me stop in my tracks and listen.

What's the difference between growth and transformation?

Picture by AMADAES
Growth is one-directional. Growth is expansive. Growth has us employing all the resources we have to layer new forms on top of old forms. Growth, by definition, isn't "sustainable" in a world with finite natural resources. Growth is exhausting unless it has a built-in pruning process. Then growth becomes transformation.

Transformation is a conversation between old and new forms. It sits in the space between what is and what could be. Transformation is about cycles of expansion and contraction, of creation and destruction, and therefore, by definition is sustainable. It is self-reflective, requiring that we destroy what is no longer useful to free up the energy and resources to create something new.

Why are these concepts so lit up for me?

For many years I have been growing into my own skin--expanding into the places I knew were a part of me but didn't dare to embody. More recently I have been feeling the need to transform into something else--something I can't yet see. In order to transform, I have to let go of outmoded concepts that have been central to my identity. Because trying to add a new self-concept on top of my current identity would be an act of self-sabotage. I cannot maintain the old picture under the new picture without burning out from exhaustion. I've been hinting at this on my blog for the last year. Now it's time to do it.

Picture by AMADAES
Sure, I could try to find new possibilities while holding on to the old model, but somewhere along the line it would cut me off at the knees just as it has every other time I have tried on a new creative identity. Like clockwork, illness shows up to inform me that I have over-tapped my finite physical and emotional resources. This time I am going to put out the welcome mat for transformation--destroy old pictures to make room for new pictures. And our recent economic "illness" could benefit from the same treatment.

Time to listen to the clues our individual and collective intuitions have been dropping for years about where we need to go. Time to be daring. Time to burn off what no longer works in the fire of transformation and free up that energy to redesign our worlds, both inner and outer. This time I'm sounding my own transformational alarm. Want to join me?

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