"This process of healing and being healed, of living into our uniqueness and fullness, is, to me, the greatest joy in life. We are all trying to find our way back Home, home to our holy nature, and this is how we do it, healing thread by thread. I believe this kind of personal transformation requires three things of us: courage, perseverance, and community.

"Courage, because one of the hardest things we do as people who believe in transformation is to look at the truth of ourselves. Being vulnerable and truthful with ourselves, God, and others is courageous work. Sometimes the process of this inner work, the process of claiming our personal truths can feel negative, dark, and full of grief. For some of us, it is even scary to look at our light and our strengths. Somehow we know that our lives will change if we claim and share our stories and our personal truths. We also know that we can't control how they will change, and giving up that control can be frightening. It can also be freeing.

"That is why perseverance is necessary. Transformation is not an easy process and there is no quick fix. Changing any system is always difficult, and changing our inner system might be the most difficult change of all. I credit my mother with helping me at a young age begin to understand the process of transformation. Her symbol for transformation was the butterfly. Every imaginable presentation of butterflies adorned our house — paintings, sun-catchers, napkins, bathroom wallpaper and towels, figurines, tchotchkes, clothing, jewelry, and tote-bags. And though the beauty and color of butterflies surrounded me in my home, I learned that the process of becoming one was not easy. I watched this happen one time when I was in grade school and I had a terrarium in my bedroom. Inside the terrarium was a caterpillar cocoon on a stick I awoke one morning to see the tip of a wing sticking out of the cocoon. When I came home from school that day and raced up the stairs to my bedroom, just a fraction more of the black wing was visible. 'Mom, why is this taking so long?' I yelled. She came up to my room. I still remember what she said to me. 'Becoming a completely new creature is slow work, Amy. Maybe the butterfly is tired and needs a break. Don't worry. The butterfly knows that it was meant to be a butterfly, and it will continue to come out of that cocoon when it is ready. It will persevere.' And like the butterfly, sticking with the process and believing we are worth it, we will come out transformed into our own unique Self.

"In the two decades that I have worked with the transformative process, the aspect that seems the hardest for some of us is belonging to and participating in community. Most of us need support and encouragement, so having a sense that we are not in this process of transformation alone can go a long way in helping us stay on the path. However, honest community makes us vulnerable and open, so the possibility to be hurt again is very real. Because it is in relationship that we get hurt, it is also in relationship that we heal, practice transformation, and see the fruits of our psycho/spiritual labor. The paradox of risk and reward is truly felt when we decide to enter into any honest relationship. That's simply the truth. You might get hurt. And, you might get healed. You have to weigh the risk. When I do, I always come out on the side of community and relationship."