Creating Transformation in Practice (Part 1)

According to the principles found in the previous column, someone who lives a transformational life lives according to the idea that humanity is at heart interconnected and unified. We are all a part of one family – or on an even deeper level, different parts of a single organism. As such, we care about one another and feel a sense of responsibility for one another.

Living transformationally means that one is always aware of the status, issues and needs of everyone around you. There is no such thing as being oblivious. When walking down the street, one is aware of who is passing. When sitting in a subway car, one is always aware of who has gotten on. There is a situational awareness that is similar to that of a soldier on duty – although the mission is slightly different. One never drops this level of awareness – it becomes habitual. The universe may not ask anything of us in that moment – but if it should, we will notice and we will be ready.

For example: Once while standing on a subway platform talking to a relative, I noticed that across the way, a man was at the very edge of the platform. As I watched, he fell off of the edge onto the tracks (he had been drinking and was – literally – tipsy). By the time others noticed that the man had fallen onto the tracks, I was already at the edge (with my family member close behind). I grasped one of his arms, my family member grabbed the other and we hoisted him back up to the platform. By the time a semi-hysterical woman had summoned the transit police (who arrested the poor fellow), we were already on the other side of the platform picking up the conversation where we had left off. The speed with which the incident was noticed and responded to grew out of this practice of situational awareness. Obviously each and every situation is different, and we always need to use our judgment (more on this later) – but someone living transformationally will always notice and take whatever the appropriate action is for each circumstance.  What this example illustrates is how something as mundane as standing and waiting for a train can become an opportunity and a moment to save someone’s life (or change someone’s life –as we will see in later examples).

Another example: Recently, while walking down a busy New York City street, I noticed a man who was trying to lead a little toddler girl down the sidewalk – she looked to be about two and a half years old. The little girl had her own ideas of where she wanted to go. In frustration, the man jerked her arm roughly and she cried out in pain. He was young, probably a new father, and he did not know that the way he was treating his little girl was wrong. As I walked past, I patted him gently on the arm. He looked at me – he looked foreign and perhaps did not even speak English. I pointed to his little girl, pantomimed him jerking her arm and then put a (slightly exaggerated) look of sad distress on my face. He looked at me, startled – it was obvious that he knew exactly what I was trying to communicate to him – it was not okay to treat his little girl so roughly. Without another word, I kept on walking. The entire encounter took less than fifteen seconds. But those fifteen seconds may influence his little daughter’s future with her father in ways we cannot know or predict. No one else on the street noticed the little girl in the first place, or noticed her treatment at the hands of her father. No one else thought about the future ramifications of that treatment in the life of the little girl. Certainly no one took action. Living transformationally means noticing, caring, having a creed that demands action, and actually taking action when it is appropriate.

Someone who lives transformationally looks for an underlying purpose in every chance meeting. Every encounter with every person poses a question: What is the reason that the universe (god, goddess, infinite source –whatever one’s belief system) has arranged for me to interact with this person? Sometimes the reason becomes clear immediately, sometimes only towards the end of the encounter. But someone who considers themselves a ‘transformation agent’ sees themselves as being on a continual mission – which eventually reveals itself in each situation. Much more will be discussed later on about the different ways that one can develop one’s ‘antennas’ to become an effective transformation agent.

So, in summation, living as a ‘transformation agent’ means accepting a mission. This mission is living in such a way that one reveals the inner nature of the world and of humankind. A transformation agent is constantly accomplishing two things: Firstly they are living in a way that declares and stands for the interconnectedness of all of humanity – because of our divine essence that unites us all as one. Secondly, they act in specific ways that (as it says in the principles) protect, care for and empower each person that they meet.

Next Week: Creating Transformation in Practice – Part Two – The Three Pillars

Miriam E. Mendelson, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Transformative Development, Counseling, Consulting and Mediation and is available for speaking engagements, individual and family counseling and business consultation. Click here for a complete list of all Miriam Mendelson’s articles. Column feedback and questions are welcome:
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