Last week we saw Steven Fales’ award-winning one-man play, Confessions of a Mormon Boy. Parts of his story resonated with my own life that I’ve described in my forthcoming memoir. The play takes us on Fales’ heartbreaking journey from being a devout Mormon and devoted father of two to coming out as gay and being excommunicated from his church. He stumbles and falls for a number of years until he’s a broken man, crying for help. In the end, his honesty and vulnerability (when he calls his dad and his ex-wife to tell them his truth and ask for forgiveness) allow him to emerge as a strong and healthy gay father.
But here’s the thing about Fales that especially struck me. He said, “Yesterday’s transformation is today’s ego trip and tomorrow’s relapse.”
The web is loaded with advice about the “3 steps” or the “5 steps” to transformation in order to create the “life of your dreams.” Many of these transformational experts seem to imply that there is a moment, an end point, when you finally achieve the desired transformation. Even my own website refers to Personal Transformation. If we view transformation as a noun, I can see how this might well become an ego trip on its way to relapse.
Instead, I would like to learn to embrace transforming as a verb in my life, a continuous awareness of my limitations and failings, and a commitment to growing, no matter how painful. For me, that requires vulnerability, something an “8” on the Enneagram (https://www.enneagraminstitute.com) doesn’t relish.
What about you?