Metanoia

I have been rolling this word around in my head since I learned it recently. In theology it means a profound spiritual transformation or conversion, and, as a rhetorical device, it means to self correct a statement just made. Its literal meaning is essentially to change one’s mind. The more I read about it the more I like it. It’s vaguely mysterious and seems to have a few meanings. In my case, I just like the drastic transformation part. When I was in third grade we learned the word metamorphosis, and I remember being equally intrigued. I wrote a short paper on it, and I guess that means I haven’t changed much at all!

Honestly, I have changed completely all the while staying the same. After taking a trip to my childhood home this weekend, I can say that’s actually a true statement. Have you ever gone back to the house you grew up in and stood outside it staring in, wondering how this could be that place in your mind that you knew so well? It felt like an actual hallucination: the two images (real time and mind time) trying to justify within each other forming this conflict of perception that I can only compare with a hallucinogenic experience.

How do we change? Right now seems a very good time to be considering how we can change ourselves, and in doing so, the world. I recall talking with someone who wasn’t very happy and wanted to change, but she didn’t see how it was possible. Even though humans seem to have this desire for drastic change, at the same time we don’t really want it, and it never seems to happen drastically anyway. Sometimes it does, but more often than not it happens subtly. It winds around you as you start to do small things differently, and a year later, you can see that you actually did change the course of your life.

After my weekend away, it was really nice to take a long walk in the woods and let it all settle. This skunk cabbage in the ice really spoke to me. Skunk cabbages actually produce heat and can stay alive even to temperatures of 14 degrees F. So, I guess a ring of ice around the skunk cabbage isn’t doing it too much harm. I feel winter has changed, though, maybe even drastically, and I’m pretty sure the skunk cabbage is handling it in its own way. Changing slightly, day by day, adapting to the warm expansions and cold contractions of these new times.

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Notes:

The 2nd Annual Sojourner Truth Life Walk is taking place this Saturday. It’s amazing to see so many groups gathering to honor a great local personage. “Re-live the life highlights of legendary abolitionist Sojourner Truth as we acknowledge parts of her life including her escape route to freedom.”

Winter Tree ID Walk at John Burroughs Preserve.

I have issues with how intentional communites seem to end up–but I like the idea that people are trying to live differently. How can we change? What should we keep? I thought this quote from the NY Times article was interesting: “Living in an intentional community, the authors concluded, ‘appears to offer a life less in discord with the nature of being human compared to mainstream society.’ They then hypothesized why that might be: ‘One, social connections; two, sense of meaning; and three, closeness to nature.'”

 

 

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