Day 8: #GratitudeWritingChallenge

Oh, I was so close to saying seven days of writing was enough! I really considered throwing in the towel early. But I have a hunch these next seven days of pushing through when the commitment is getting more difficult might be where the real magic happens. Writing daily for the last week has already been transformative. It’s not that I don’t want to write nor am I struggling with gratitude, but trying to balance everything in any given day was difficult before adding in the self-imposed obligation to write. So why didn’t I quit? No one is making me do this. Well, I guess simply put, it’s because I have the drive and determination to keep going. Without drive and determination, I would have quit a lot of things a long time ago. You would have, too. But without drive and determination, there would be no transformation or growth. I could quit, but at what cost?

Someone noticed a section of my tattoo in a picture I shared in an unrelated Facebook post and asked to see the entire piece this morning. As most things are in my life, her interjection to my day was quite timely. My thoughts were still brewing following yesterday’s reflection on earned wisdom and perspective through experience, but her unintentional nudge through a random text is how I landed on today’s gratitude: transformation.

I chose to have this dragonfly tattooed on my left shoulder several years ago as a sacred testament to the transformation that was occurring in me. In many cultures, dragonflies symbolize transformation, joy, and spiritual light. I viewed the entire tattoo & the process surrounding it – the symbolism, the colors, and the pain as a sacramental act because of what my own transformation had meant to me. Getting the tattoo was a type of spiritual covenant between me and God.

Sorry to those of you who are squeamish. Fresh tattoos although very vibrant and crisp are kind of traumatizing, too. The skin gets angry during the process. The healing process was part of my greater intention.

Transformation is closely related to resilience and they both rely heavily on determination, drive, and effort so I’m cheating a little because I’m lumping all of those things together under the topic of transformation. It’s hard to be grateful for transformation without being thankful for drive, etc. But I want to make an immediate distinction between resilience and transformation. Resilience is recovery. I’ve recovered from a lot of things: illnesses, surgeries, injuries, etc. and returned to essentially the same person I was before I got sick or injured. Recovery is a necessary part of life and I’m grateful for that, too. But transformation is metamorphosis, and as I’ve said in previous posts, I believe it’s also a necessary part of life. Transformation is changing from one version of something (of yourself) into another. Life-changing events are exactly that. The intensity of such events often requires resilience to get through them but they also enact transformation at some point in the process. You come out on the other side a changed person, hopefully for the better. This is where opportunity meets us.

Transformation doesn’t only come from trauma or negative experiences. I think transformation simply occurs when the mind is opened and awareness is engaged. This is more difficult for some than others for a variety of reasons. But when we approach the world with wide eyes and appreciation and a willingness to see the beauty around us and the humanity in everyone and build bridges and open doors, we transform our hearts and minds and souls.

I am so grateful for transformation. I don’t like being stuck or stagnant. You know what happens when water gets stagnant. It starts to stink.

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