Becoming in 2019


“What can we do? We can become a sign.

Whatever happens, become a sign of joy and a fountain of divine love.”

–Bede Griffiths, OSB

As the new year is quickly approaching, it seems like it wasn’t all that long ago when we had this year’s resolutions on our mind. The new year always brings thoughts of how we can change ourselves, or habits we can adopt to better ourselves throughout the year. However, the science of resolutions has proved faulty time and time again; in 2012, Patty Spears wrote that she learned long ago not to depend on personally-curated lists of “”shoulds” and “oughts”.” She goes on, stating that such futile projects often leave us feeling like failures midway through January. She proposes that instead of identifying strict behavioral changes throughout the new year, we should re-focus our intentions to identify a way we want to be in the New Year. If doing so will allow us to achieve clarity on who we are and who we are becoming, “then the doing usually follows.” Bede Griffiths touches on how a change of mindset can often serve as a precursor and catalyst for a change in behavior.

“Bede Griffiths asks the question that so many of us ask every time we pick up (or click on) the newspaper,” Patty continues. Currently, we are in the midst of an intense government shutdown that may last “months maybe years” according to our nation’s highest elected official. As this stalemate continues with no end in sight, it is hard to maintain high hopes going into this new year. The weight of our current political climate and of the world can be overwhelming, and may leave many of us wondering, “What can we do?”

The list of things one can do is endless, but it will never be enough. This is not to say we should not actively try to better ourselves and our communities; being an informed voter, volunteering, and giving back to the communities in which we operate are all important parts of being a contributory member of society and progressing as an individual. However, Griffiths urges “us not to do but to become” who you really are. As Patty states, “awake to the divinity within you and become it.” She quotes Thomas Merton who revealed, “As sons {and daughters} of God we are called to use our freedom to help God create His (sic) likeness in our own souls.” With this change in thought, we must push ourselves to become the truest version of ourselves; it is likely the rest will follow.

Surrendering ourselves to the divine images within us will allow us to become “sign(s) of joy and…fountain(s) of divine love.” The journey to this goal is unidentifiable; we must become these things by letting go of our need for control. Patty quotes Pema Chodron, a Buddhist teacher, who suggests, “Instead of looking for fruition, we could just try to stay with our open heart and open mind.” It is this openness that will allow divine love to flow through us as water flows through a fountain.

As new year approaches, we urge you to identify ways to surrender your need for control in order to awaken to the divine image within you. Surrendering your worldly desires to that of the divine can guide our behaviors to ones that will better both ourselves and the world around us.