UU Church Today, Spirituality & Theology, Practice & Voice

The Art and Act of Shaping Change

Today, we find ourselves in tenuous times. From COVID-19, healthcare and educational disparities, the killing of Black bodies, immigration discrimination, unemployment and the death of great leaders, it can seem as if we are being dismantled at the seams. But we have also seen mass protests with white people at the helm, Black Lives Matters being painted on streets, confederate flags and statues coming down, and an entire women’s softball team quitting in protest for being used to make a political statement. If we are to be the change in this world, we must start by shaping change in our own lives.

The Art of Shaping Change

The art of shaping change is the creative vehicle that moves us towards transformation of mind, body and soul. It is this framework of creativity from which our imagination and critical thinking skills are sharpened, giving us techniques and talents to craft the life we want to manifest for ourselves, our community, and our world. There is a Tao saying that asserts, “We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.” When we recognize we are the pot and the space that’s void is our opportunity for choice, we then become free to soar, dream, see color, sculpt, paint, dance, sing and see the artistic beauty in and of our lives. In this sacred space, we move from judgment of self and others to appreciation and gratitude for all.

We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want.

Lao Tzu

The Act of Shaping Change

The act of shaping change, in my estimation, is the movement that shifts thought and effort. We are undoubtedly the containers, vessels and pots who are called to nurture change and to create acts of self-care for sustainability. We are fortunate beyond belief to be given the opportunity to refashion and configure the life and energy we want to foster. Just as the clay is shaped by the movement of your hand, allow yourself space to feel the heat of transformation that naturally allows the appearance to change within and around you. Gloria Steinem, feminist, journalist, and social political activist affirmed this viewpoint; “The art of life is not controlling what happens to us but using what happens to us.” From this vantage point, we are in full control of the mold that will support this new structure.

Shaping Change at Church

We can attest that change is happening all over the world. We are being asked to give up and exchange one thing for another at a rapid pace, which is startling and overwhelming at times. One thing I’m confident of is that in our humanity, we are equipped to make and shape change with thought, intention, and dutiful action. I see that in individuals and institutions everywhere. These are painful, but necessary alterations required for this next phase of our journey. Although we miss each other immensely, I am proud to see how All Souls has reinvented itself by shaping change to create new content, programming, protocols and even job positions to maintain stability within the staff and congregation. Our offerings have been designated in large part to our Community Resource Bank, which diligently partners with the Historic Vernon AME Church, feeding Oklahomans with food insecurity. If you have not been on our Sunday Coffee Hour, you are missing out and I invite you to join us at 9:30 a.m. CST via Zoom!

You are Shaping Change

Take a moment to reflect inwardly and appreciate all you are doing and trying to do to incorporate positive change. You are shaping change as only can with what you have. Give yourself recognition as you acknowledge and encourage those around you who are valiantly working towards the same. Look around for the signs and signals of change and especially when it seems hard, take a few deep breaths and do it again and again. Most of all, take care knowing you are not alone.

Nicole Ogundare serves All Souls as the Social Media and Life Events Manager. She brings love and intention to everything she does, down to the finest detail. She is the embodiment of Love Beyond Belief. Read Nicole’s post, Spiritual Practices: A Commitment to Self-Love & Connection

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