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Embracing Our Wholeness

October 11, 2014


“Without sadness, we would never know what happiness is. Yet we live in a society that has become scared of sadness, and obsessive in its pursuit of the positive.” from What Makes Us Tick, by Hugh Mackay, Author and Social Researcher

So what’s Hugh Mackay’s point? It’s this. That instead of the relentless pursuit of happiness we should be pursuing wholeness. Wholeness encompasses the full range of human experience and not just the good times. It includes disappointments, failures, grief, frustration and more, because it is that which make us who we are. We needn’t be afraid of those states of being and in fact we should embrace them as part of who we are.

It’s true. We live in a society that holds up happiness as the chief goal of personal growth and transformation. However, like Hugh Mackay, I have come to understand that seeking happiness in and of itself is Illusory and meaningless. Happiness is not steady state (to borrow a term from physics). I’ve learned that what we really need to be focusing on is becoming whole. Hugh Mackay tells us that “happiness and victory and fulfilment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much.”

So what are we actually embracing? The full spectrum. All the experiences, both positive and negative, that comprise our lives. The breakdowns, setbacks and disappointments as well as the good times, successes and breakthroughs. We need the contrasting elements and, even more accurately, we can’t avoid them.

Think of it this way. How can we know happiness if we don’t experience sadness and grief? And how can we appreciate the gift of togetherness, when we don’t experience times of solitude? Spring is a boon, because we have prepared ourselves during the hard winter months. Breakthroughs are only breakthroughs, because we’ve experienced breakdowns and made generative or positive meaning of them. We live in shadow and in light. All of these contrasting elements, including all the stages in between, make up the richness of life. They make us whole!

For me, it means that I need to be fully present, integrated, and conscious along this journey of personal transformation so that I, at long last, am able to embrace my wholeness with an open heart and a curious spirit. It means exploring my negative experiences without getting bogged down in them. I do this by making generative meaning of those breakdowns, setbacks and disappointments. By mining those experiences for what they can teach me and then releasing them. That’s integration – and transformation.

I invite you to join me on this journey of integration of all that you are and all that you are becoming. Rejecting none of those essential parts of yourself and accepting all of them. And then, of course, transforming them into breakthroughs.

Yours in heart-centered transformation,