Psychology of Transformation

transformationThe Psychology of Transformation; Mapping out the Path of Co-Creating a New Reality

I have written this article for people who are in the process of transformation, and who are interested in living out of their own internal compass, rather than following “shoulds” or externally imposed rules. I have created a map to support us as we traverse unknown realms and processes. This knowledge has been gained personally and experientially, through my own growth, the growth of my friends, and the transformations I have witnessed in my clients.

Developed over years, this knowledge began to coalesce after I made a conscious decision to live to my fullest potential. I had just come out of a period of personal fear and wanted to let go of that and the debilitation that came with it. Since then, I have been on a roller coaster of change. The process elucidated by these changes has provided me with an understanding of transformation, and has paved the way for the development of this map. Because change is cyclic, I continue to navigate and re-navigate through these stages of transformation.

At this time, the most important thing we can embrace is transforming reality. In a world rapidly changing, each of us is desperately seeking safety. We are being directed to look inward and create a more spiritual life. Illusions are falling away, and holding on causes suffering. Changing, we confront broken and fearful parts of ourselves, release the ways in which we limit and control our world and awaken to the realm of infinite possibility.

To release our fear of change, we must trust, whether it is trust in God, our sense of guidance, the body’s sensations, or our images of what is possible. I choose to believe that the process of life is purposeful and has intention. I believe that there is more to life than the physical plane, and that I live in co-operation with a greater intelligence and spiritual truths. I do not know it all, but have the ability to open to new and more evolved ways of being. I accept that there are perspectives larger than my own, benevolent forces that willingly assist me, and that I can access divine aspects of my own being. These beliefs are choices I have made that allow me a fluidity that invites change. Consequently, where before fear ruled, now a new courage to explore and understand emerges at the core of every decision I make.

When I am faced with the choice to change, I choose to honor what I know is in alignment with my highest evolution. Whether this knowing occurs through synchronicity or intuition, whether it shows up as a sick feeling in my stomach, a sense of excitement, an image or word in my mind, I trust that what I am receiving is important and worthy of note. I choose to put down the restrictions of linear thinking and allow this knowing to influence me. I re-create myself out of what I intuit and believe possible, rather than out of my fears. As I do this over and over, I build new muscle. I create a new reality.

I trust that I only need to know the next step, and that I will be given knowledge of each future step. I affirm that I am in the right place and the right time and that all is well regardless of feelings and difficulties that emerge. As I exercise trust, a process is evoked that translates into living in present moment consciousness and having the experience of grace, support, love and the knowing that I am changing. I shift into my future self.

The 7 phases of transformation

1) Setting an intention, asking for guidance

To initiate change, we must first discern what we want, and put forth a clear concise view: an intention, the magnetizing force of all our future actions. By setting a conscious intention, we jump start change.

We are announcing to the universe and to ourselves that we are willing to do what it takes to become who we wish to be, opening to guidance and transformation. My intention to release everything that was holding me back; fears, fantasies, wounds, relationships, addictions etc., allowed my life to rocket forward. A process was set in motion where I could see what wasn’t working in my life. Once I could see, I had to take action. As each veil lifted, I could no longer tolerate continuing to be what and who I had been, nor how I had been participating in my life.

2) Being receptive to guidance

We must be open and listening: receptive, to receive guidance. Once receptive, guidance can be received in many ways: through synchronicities, just knowing, various methods of divination, free association, journaling, a casual comment that grabs our attention, or by receiving a new vision. Once we receive and accept guidance however, we must trust what we have received without a guarantee of the outcome, and begin the steps towards manifesting what we envision.

3) Creating through trust: Being in the now, envisioning what will be

As we experience our reality, and look towards what we wish to create, we must hold a trust that this can or will come to pass. We assume the posture that our guidance is coming from a larger and more loving perspective. As we make changes in our lives, we come across situations that are scary, or demand sacrifices of us. We may want to run away, believing that it is too hard or too painful. But we hold the course, witnessing and staying with what is, and painstakingly make our way towards what will be. We choose to endure whatever feelings arise and allow life to work on us, transforming us alchemically. For example, if somebody wishes to be in a satisfying romantic relationship and they realize (hear, are told…) that they are too entangled in another relationship or need to re-locate, enormous fears may be triggered, for the conditions of our lives reflect who we are. We hold our vision, trusting that we will be led to the appropriate outcome. A process of letting go begins.

4) Embracing the unknown: Descent into fear, activation of doubt

As we move towards creating new conditions and ways of being, fear of change, and attachment to what is, are activated and emerge. As these fears are worked through and released, we “fall” into the depths. Like Persephone or Inanna, we descend into the underworld, confronting our monsters, our attachments, and our fantasies. We plunge into our wounds and our brokenness: our small self, not trusting that we are safe. We experience this descent as an eternal and static hell, forgetting that it is momentary: part of a process. We cannot grow without living through; we cannot live around that which is not healed. We struggle to find a context for our pain and experience asking why? What? How?

5) Riding the wave: Witnessing our process

Perspective comes from seeing a larger vista. As we witness our struggle, answers come; we have moments of clarity and joy. We remember our commitment to change and our vision, and then lose perspective again. We trust, we hope. We lose trust. We lose hope. The process becomes visible. We start to understand that something is occurring.

6) Navigating into the new: Support

We need to navigate and support ourselves as we ride this up and down process of becoming. Of the myriad of possibilities available, some examples follow:

When we are feeling good and trusting, we can chose to find gratitude and enjoy this time, remembering that we are in flux, and not attach to staying in this condition. This time is not the goal, but a more pleasant moment in the journey of becoming. To over-identify with the “up” position is to denigrate the more difficult “down” position and to cut ourselves off from our full experience.

When we are fearful, it is our task to develop a compassionate witness, and allow our experience to inform us. It is helpful to remember that we chose change, that this experience is part of it, and find ways to anchor and support ourselves.

We can call in any source of love and hold that in our hearts to help ourselves move into a feeling of safety. Or we can seek out a supportive friend or therapist and allow their perspective and love to help us. In the difficulty of intense feelings, we can choose to trust and receive support.

7) The new reality

Eventually we find ourselves standing on new ground. We see our bigger needs or the bigger picture. What we let go of is now clear and makes sense. We have released fear and control, a particular wound and corresponding fantasy, so that something larger could be birthed. We are more able to participate, and more evolved. Creating ourselves through this process, the form of our life shifts accordingly.

copyright jennifer lehr 2008

The Psychology of Transformation; Mapping out the Path of Co-Creating a New RealityI have written this article for people who are in the process of transformation, and who are interested in living out of their own internal compass, rather than following “shoulds” or externally imposed rules. I have created a map to support us as we traverse unknown realms and processes. This knowledge has been gained personally and experientially, through my own growth, the growth of my friends, and the transformations I have witnessed in my clients.Developed over years, this knowledge began to coalesce after I made a conscious decision to live to my fullest potential. I had just come out of a period of personal fear and wanted to let go of that and the debilitation that came with it. Since then, I have been on a roller coaster of change. The process elucidated by these changes has provided me with an understanding of transformation, and has paved the way for the development of this map. Because change is cyclic, I continue to navigate and re-navigate through these stages of transformation.At this time, the most important thing we can embrace is transforming reality. In a world rapidly changing, each of us is desperately seeking safety. We are being directed to look inward and create a more spiritual life. Illusions are falling away, and holding on causes suffering. Changing, we confront broken and fearful parts of ourselves, release the ways in which we limit and control our world and awaken to the realm of infinite possibility.To release our fear of change, we must trust, whether it is trust in God, our sense of guidance, the body’s sensations, or our images of what is possible. I choose to believe that the process of life is purposeful and has intention. I believe that there is more to life than the physical plane, and that I live in co-operation with a greater intelligence and spiritual truths. I do not know it all, but have the ability to open to new and more evolved ways of being. I accept that there are perspectives larger than my own, benevolent forces that willingly assist me, and that I can access divine aspects of my own being. These beliefs are choices I have made that allow me a fluidity that invites change. Consequently, where before fear ruled, now a new courage to explore and understand emerges at the core of every decision I make.

When I am faced with the choice to change, I choose to honor what I know is in alignment with my highest evolution. Whether this knowing occurs through synchronicity or intuition, whether it shows up as a sick feeling in my stomach, a sense of excitement, an image or word in my mind, I trust that what I am receiving is important and worthy of note. I choose to put down the restrictions of linear thinking and allow this knowing to influence me. I re-create myself out of what I intuit and believe possible, rather than out of my fears.  As I do this over and over, I build new muscle. I create a new reality.

I trust that I only need to know the next step, and that I will be given knowledge of each future step. I affirm that I am in the right place and the right time and that all is well regardless of feelings and difficulties that emerge. As I exercise trust, a process is evoked that translates into living in present moment consciousness and having the experience of grace, support, love and the knowing that I am changing. I shift into my future self.

The 7 phases of transformation

1) Setting an intention, asking for guidance

To initiate change, we must first discern what we want, and put forth a clear concise view: an intention, the magnetizing force of all our future actions. By setting a conscious intention, we jump start change.

We are announcing to the universe and to ourselves that we are willing to do what it takes to become who we wish to be, opening to guidance and transformation. My intention to release everything that was holding me back; fears, fantasies, wounds, relationships, addictions etc., allowed my life to rocket forward. A process was set in motion where I could see what wasn’t working in my life. Once I could see, I had to take action. As each veil lifted, I could no longer tolerate continuing to be what and who I had been, nor how I had been participating in my life.

2) Being receptive to guidance

We must be open and listening: receptive, to receive guidance. Once receptive, guidance can be received in many ways: through synchronicities, just knowing, various methods of divination, free association, journaling, a casual comment that grabs our attention, or by receiving a new vision. Once we receive and accept guidance however, we must trust what we have received without a guarantee of the outcome, and begin the steps towards manifesting what we envision.

3) Creating through trust: Being in the now, envisioning what will be

As we experience our reality, and look towards what we wish to create, we must hold a trust that this can or will come to pass. We assume the posture that our guidance is coming from a larger and more loving perspective. As we make changes in our lives, we come across situations that are scary, or demand sacrifices of us. We may want to run away, believing that it is too hard or too painful.  But we hold the course, witnessing and staying with what is, and painstakingly make our way towards what will be. We choose to endure whatever feelings arise and allow life to work on us, transforming us alchemically. For example, if somebody wishes to be in a satisfying romantic relationship and they realize (hear, are told…) that they are too entangled in another relationship or need to re-locate, enormous fears may be triggered, for the conditions of our lives reflect who we are. We hold our vision, trusting that we will be led to the appropriate outcome. A process of letting go begins.

4) Embracing the unknown: Descent into fear, activation of doubt
As we move towards creating new conditions and ways of being, fear of change, and attachment to what is, are activated and emerge. As these fears are worked through and released, we “fall” into the depths. Like Persephone or Inanna, we descend into the underworld, confronting our monsters, our attachments, and our fantasies. We plunge into our wounds and our brokenness: our small self, not trusting that we are safe. We experience this descent as an eternal and static hell, forgetting that it is momentary: part of a process. We cannot grow without living through; we cannot live around that which is not healed. We struggle to find a context for our pain and experience asking why? What? How?

5) Riding the wave: Witnessing our process

Perspective comes from seeing a larger vista. As we witness our struggle, answers come; we have moments of clarity and joy. We remember our commitment to change and our vision, and then lose perspective again. We trust, we hope. We lose trust. We lose hope. The process becomes visible. We start to understand that something is occurring.

6) Navigating into the new: Support

We need to navigate and support ourselves as we ride this up and down process of becoming. Of the myriad of possibilities available, some examples follow:

When we are feeling good and trusting, we can chose to find gratitude and enjoy this time, remembering that we are in flux, and not attach to staying in this condition. This time is not the goal, but a more pleasant moment in the journey of becoming. To over-identify with the “up” position is to denigrate the more difficult “down” position and to cut ourselves off from our full experience.

When we are fearful, it is our task to develop a compassionate witness, and allow our experience to inform us. It is helpful to remember that we chose change, that this experience is part of it, and find ways to anchor and support ourselves.

We can call in any source of love and hold that in our hearts to help ourselves move into a feeling of safety. Or we can seek out a supportive friend or therapist and allow their perspective and love to help us. In the difficulty of intense feelings, we can choose to trust and receive support.

7) The new reality

Eventually we find ourselves standing on new ground. We see our bigger needs or the bigger picture. What we let go of is now clear and makes sense. We have released fear and control, a particular wound and corresponding fantasy, so that something larger could be birthed. We are more able to participate, and more evolved. Creating ourselves through this process, the form of our life shifts accordingly.

copyright jennifer lehr 2008

© 2008 - 2018 Jennifer Lehr, MFT