March 2018 E-News
Growth and Transformation
"We are meant to live in joy.
 It does not mean that life will be easy or painless. 
It means that we can turn our faces to the wind 
and accept that this is the storm we must pass through.
 We cannot succeed by denying what exists. 
The acceptance of reality is the only place
 from which change can begin."
-Archbishop Desmond Tutu-
I have long subscribed to the G.Y.F.T theory of growth and transformation. For the uninitiated, G.Y.F.T stands for "Get Your Fanny There." I'll take credit for the clever acronym, but not the concept.
Some aspects of growth are out of our control. The tulips, crocuses and daffodils that are growing underground at the moment (here in Vermont anyway) are doing so without any help from me. Some growth is built into the natural order of things and is going to happen regardless of my actions.
But when it comes to our own growth, we have some choices. We can make the decision to put ourselves in a place where growth is more likely to happen.  I see it at our gatherings all the time - people making an effort to get their fanny to a place where growth is more likely to happen. It usually does.
Sometimes the 'there' in getting your fanny there is not a literal location, but a metaphorical place. GYFTing relationally means taking chances and being vulnerable with another. GYFTING spiritually might mean getting ourselves to the place or practice where we have a better chance of encountering God.
I don't know if it is my age or personality, but I find myself less likely to GYFT lately. It is easier to stay home, literally or figuratively. Sometimes it is the right thing to do. Other times I'm missing an opportunity to grow. So I'll ask you the question I'm asking myself this season - "Where, or in what way are you called to 'Get Your Fanny There?"
Reflection Question:
Where do you need to 'show up' this week?
Caterpillar to Butterfly
butterfly nourishing
I can't kill bugs. Unless there is an indisputable reason for me to do so, everything that crawls, flies or burrows underground will live.
I will not deny any fly, beetle, spider or centipede their rightful place on earth simply because I do not value their existence. If they are in my house, I will escort them out the door. If they are lunching on my roses, I will flick them off. It is not for me to decide what gets to live and what has to die.
In my early days I'd run for the swatter. Walk over anthills or crush a Japanese beetle beneath the sole of my shoe. They were bugs and unimportant.
Upon closer observation of these tiny creatures, I marveled at their enormous capabilities. How did spiders spin their beautiful webs without any knowledge of geometric design? How did bees know what role to play in service of the queen? And why were ants so well organized when I always had a closet to arrange?
With wisdom born from maturity, I have transitioned to a place of reverence and respect. Every living creature regardless of size or species holds value and purpose.
As the caterpillar leaves its chrysalis behind, a butterfly slowly emerges. I too have replaced indifference with humility. I view the world through a transformative lens with an ever growing sense of awe and wonder.
Alice Barbera
Growth and Transformation Links
"Personal Growth"
Kionte's Story
Fleetwood Mac
Trust in the Slow Work of God

A poem by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin S.J.

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The Beauty of Imperfection and Aging

Join us for an online conversation on transformation and aging: March 21st, 8-9 PM (ET)

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The Latest Blog: Prayer for Taking Another Look

I play in a hand bell choir, an activity I love, even though I am not all that good at it. Often I bring bells home between rehearsals. Many publishers of hand bell music generously include a "listen" option on their web pages with recordings of...

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Doug Wysockey-Johnson     
Dan Quinlan  
Alice Barbera  
Rebecca Perry-Hill