WHITNEY CAIN, PHD

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tend on

There are so many opportunities to transform some aspect – or the whole kit and caboodle – of our lives.  We can choose mainstream, alternative or super kooky programs and gadgets to get entirely new bodies, relationships, and minds.

Sometimes these offers tickle and tease a part of me.  I’m interested in transforming and transformation.  I love the idea we can take something and make it wholly new.  And I love the idea I can do that with any and all parts of myself I’ve labeled “not quite right.”

But I worry about the boundaries and timelines attached to these transformational opportunities.  Oftentimes the goal is quick and total transformation; persistence and progress don’t count for much.  I’ve tried enough quick fixes to know I can’t make some part of my physical or mental self something totally different than it is in a month.  It wears me out just thinking about it.

I am much more interested in tending versus transforming.  Transformation may sound sexier than tending, but sexier still is the idea we don’t need to transform.  We need appreciation, love, nourishment, and the occasional new lens.  When I tend my outlook, my environment or my relationships, I make time to explore what is and what could be.  I audition new strategies and paths.  I focus on what works for me, rather than hoping someone else’s magic fix is my own and feeling shame when it isn’t.  Tending makes space for do-overs, formative shifts, and celebrating every size of success. 

I believe, ironically, it is tending that leads us to transformation.  It is a gentle transformation rooted in who we have been and branches to all we can be.  It is not transformation of self to other, but of self to best self.  So, tend on, my friends.  Tend on.

Whitney Cain