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Big T versus Little T (RevJC)

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Our theme this month is transformation and when I think about what that means, it feels BIG—life-changing big; and in this month of April with Easter Sunday it feels even bigger.  Transformation and Easter makes me think of words like resurrection, rebirth, renewal and release.  Each word deserves its own story but for the sake of this brief message to you, I want to share with you two ways to look at transformation—transformation with a big “T” and transformation with a little “t”.  Both are required in life to get to our happy spaces, but when and how you choose to live out each is entirely up to you.

The big “T” as I’ve alluded to is when we change or alter our current path suddenly.  Moving on from a stuck relationship after years of trying, giving up an addiction, changing a diet, losing 50 pounds, switching careers, these things require large shifts in our way of being and can take months or years to fully adapt.  We often slip, fall-off, give up, or go back to past habits when these kinds of changes become difficult.

Then there’s the little “t” which is about shifting or reframing the way we see ourselves every day; shifting our point of reference; or re-storying what we tell ourselves about who we are.  The little “t” transformations are about mindfulness and our daily awareness of the little things.  These kind of alterations can happen instantly, frequently and moment to moment like when we see beauty in simplicity, the dignity in hard labor, or the raw innocence in nature that gives and takes away.  These things are happening constantly when we are present to them.

Both T’s move us toward wholeness and show us how to “live boldly and compassionately.”  Each kind of transformation requires work, patience, and dedication but most importantly—awareness—a shift in consciousness.

Author Patricia Ryan Madson was quoted in our Soul Matters materials this month and her way of reframing life to experience smaller transformations daily is simple—say yes more…

“This is going to sound crazy. Say yes to everything. Accept all offers. Go along with the plan. Support someone else’s dream. Say: yes”; “right”; “sure”; “I will”; “okay”; “of course”; “YES!” Cultivate all the ways you can imagine to express affirmation. When the answer to all questions is yes, you enter a new world, a world of action, possibility, and adventure… It is undoubtedly an exaggeration to suggest that we can say yes to everything that comes up, but we can all say yes to more than we normally do. Once you become aware that you can, you will see how often we use the technique of blocking in personal relationships simply out of habit. Turning this around can bring positive and unexpected results… Try substituting “yes and” for “yes but” — this will get the ball rolling.”–Patricia Ryan Madson, drama professor and author


In her book, Year of Yes, the acclaimed writer and producer of shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, Shonda Rhimes says that to get to your happy, authentic, BIG T place, you must absolutely be honest about what you are willing to change—large or small.  She believes that when the real you is sincere about what you want each day, year, and for a lifetime, you move in harmony with the best version of yourself…

“Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. Being traditional is not traditional anymore. It’s funny that we still think of it that way. Normalize your lives, people. You don’t want a baby? Don’t have one. I don’t want to get married? I won’t. You want to live alone? Enjoy it. You want to love someone? Love someone. Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t ever feel less than. When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it. No fairy tales. Be your own narrator. And go for a happy ending. One foot in front of the other. You will make it.” ― Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Transformations and transitions happen whether we like it or not.  What I’m learning is that there are parts of the narrative we can control and can choose to control.  How I see life, my opportunities, and my relationships is all within my spiritual skill-set.  It takes time and practice but with the right people, places and things in our lives—people who affirm you, places that sustain you, and things that lift your worth and dignity, there is no doubt in my mind that you can live that life you were meant to each and every day.

I leave you with a prayer or words to contemplate:

Remind me, Creative Power, that I am worth “being the change I wish to see”.  Help me to live authentically, boldly and compassionately.  Show me how to say YES and not shrink into habits and patterns that do not align with my best stuff.  I deserve happiness, wholeness and peace of mind, body and spirit.  Open my heart to the spirit of transformation and allow it to awaken me to all the sweetness, goodness and love in this world.  I am ready.  May it be so.”



Rev. John

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