If you think you’re going to complete your life’s vision in your lifetime,
you’re not thinking big enough.
– Wes Jackson, founder of the Land Institute
When people ask me what we do at the Center for Transformational Presence, I respond in different ways. I might say that we help people do the work they need to do on the inside in order to do big things on the outside, or that we support people in turning inspiration into action and bringing big visions to life. Or perhaps I say that we help people learn to think, live, and work in alignment with who they are and what they feel called to create. Yet the one thing that I nearly always say is that, as the Director of the Center, I feel like I have the best job in the world. I get to witness people all over the world stepping into their greatness and making a significant difference.
The Center for Transformational Presence is at the center of a global community of people who are committed to service. While we offer personal and professional training and development programs, what we are really about is bringing together and supporting a community of people whose focus is to create a world that works. A lofty vision, you might say. Indeed it is. Yet we have no illusion that we are going to do that alone or even that this vision will be accomplished in our lifetimes. And, to me, that understanding is very liberating. It frees us each to just do our part – nothing more, nothing less.
Creating a world that works is like building a cathedral in the old-world way – artisans and craftspeople coming together, each doing their part to add to a finished result that they may never see. This is how it was with those who built the great churches of Europe or sacred temples around the world. They focused on doing their part, their task, making their contribution to something that was much bigger than themselves. The stone carver focused on creating the most beautiful flower or magical gargoyle to adorn an archway. The stained glass artist focused on depicting a story in light and color that would touch people’s hearts for many generations to come. There was pride in the small piece of the greater whole that was theirs to create.
We call this “cathedral building” – being totally committed to the vision you feel called to support, knowing that it may or may not be realized during your lifetime.
The Transformational Presence community is made up of people working in service of big visions and dreams – things like reconnecting to the heart in business, creating new models and structures for childhood education, reforming the prison and justice system in the U.S., bringing together business and environmental leaders for sustainable living, creating an economy in service of humanity, shifting consciousness at the grass-roots level, to name just a few. Some in our community are on the leading edge, heading up big projects. Others feel called to support these and other big visions through the day-to-day tasks and the critical “behind the scenes” operations that make it possible for these big visions to come to life. Conscious intention and vision is needed at every level of society, from stay-at-home parents to top-level executives, from teachers to public officials, from people who sweep floors and tend gardens to inventors and entrepreneurs.
In today’s society, we’ve lost touch with long-term vision and potential. We focus on quarterly reports and election cycles. We’ve created a system that gives top priority to short-term results and controlling outcomes for optimal convenience and comfort at the expense of our future wellbeing.
However, all over the world there are people with big visions and huge commitment to making the world a better place. Wes Jackson, founder of the Land Institute, has a vision for the future of farming and was recently featured in an article in the New York Times. At 77 years old, he is working on projects that he hopes will come to fruition in 30 to 60 years. Gloria Henderson volunteers for the Society of St. Andrew in organizing teams of “gleaners” to pick up vegetables and fruits left in the fields after harvest. These fruits and vegetables provide meals for people in need. Ron Finley plants gardens in South Los Angeles to provide healthy food for the people of his community. Performance artist Candy Chang turns abandoned buildings in New Orleans into community art projects. David Milarch, co-founder of the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive, clones ancient giant sequoias and has now started planting new redwood forests. These trees will take hundreds of years to grow. Lisa Shannon works through Women for Women International advocating for women’s rights in Congo. Magazines like The Intelligent Optimist (formerly Ode), Kosmos, and Yes! are filled with stories of people living in service of causes that will span generations.
Some people are visionaries; others are strategists. Some people are organizers and managers while others are really good at taking care of details and getting things done. Some people love to serve and be out among the people. Others prefer a solitary existence, tending a small garden or living a quiet and peaceful life. Some will give their hearts and souls to a specific project while for others, what matters is leaving their little piece of ground better than how they found it. Some visions will be realized in a year; others will take a hundred years. It’s all ok. Know who you are called to be and what is yours to do. And in time, we can create a world that works.
P.S. If you have a vision or dream, yet are not sure of your next steps, there are many programs and services at the Center for Transformational Presence to support you. Perhaps you are looking for inspiration in a book or a self-study program. Or perhaps you are ready to take a big step with the Transformational Presence Leadership and Coaching Program or personal coaching. Whatever your next step is, take it. The world can’t afford for you to wait any longer.
If you enjoyed this blog post and found it helpful or inspiring, I invite you to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter by clicking here.