Does life renew itself naturally, or at times must we consciously let go of old ways in order to make room for what’s radically new? What’s the connection between transformation and healing? Is courage necessary for transformation, or does it happen despite what we plan and do? This month we explore what spiritual teachers, and our own lives, offer us about all this.

Mary Ann and Frederic Brussat talk about transformation as an active practice. They write, “The spiritual practice of transformation holds within its wide embrace the personal renewals that come with a spiritual awakening, a conversion, a mystical epiphany, or an enlightenment. It covers the deepening that takes place when we get in touch with our Higher Self or Spirit.

“Transformation usually involves the shedding of old ways, especially those that have become burdens. This practice proclaims that no matter who you are, no matter what has already happened to you, no matter what you have done, it is still possible to be and do something new.

“Transformation implies a marked change in your life, but you can practice it by making simple changes. Start by doing something different — walk to work by a new route, answer the telephone with your other than usual hand. Break a habit, any habit. Signal Spirit that you are willing to accept change in your life and to be an agent of change in the world.

“With transformation comes healing and wholeness. It's as if they had been waiting in the wings all along, until you made room for them on stage.

“Often, however, we aren't sure that we want this show to go on. The refusal to admit change in our lives is a major obstacle to transformation. We cling tenaciously to our habitual ways of doing things, thinking they are our only choices. We may resist anything new or different through indecisiveness. We waver, going back and forth between fear and doubt.

There is also a shadow side of transformation — recklessness where we keep pushing the edge. Here change becomes an addiction, and we race from one stimulus — or perceived panacea — to another.”