By Sr. Janet McCann, ASC
With the turn of the page of the freshly-minted calendar of 2024, many of us have renewed our commitment to self-improvement. For some, it’s a commitment to healthy eating and exercise. For others, it’s a pledge to declutter our lives and our spaces of all the unnecessary things that surround and consume us.
While those are admirable steps toward becoming our individual best selves, we know that God’s profound grace always takes us beyond ourselves; inviting and challenging us into a deeper and more loving relationship with one another, with our global community, and with all of creation.
We are learning more about evolutionary shift and transformation of consciousness. During a recent webinar, Carol Zinn, Executive Director of LCWR, defined consciousness as “thinking about what we think about.”
As women religious, we are discerning what is ours to do for these times. What is becoming clearer is that there is a call and a readiness to contribute to the evolution of consciousness. This will require us to continue spending time “thinking about what we think about.” This calls us to expand our thinking to include perspectives and visions that are different than ours. Quite the challenge!
During that same webinar, it was explained that scientists have coined a term called Leap of Transformation that shows that a shift from either/or thinking to a both/and mindset is needed. They believe a significant number of people are already at the level of transformation that has moved them from survival, “me” thinking to a collective “we” way of being. According to scientific research, 10% of the population is needed to move toward integral consciousness. This would be the tipping point that could create the shift toward a positive and life-giving direction. There is substantial evidence that there are more than enough people ready to do this.
Liz Sweeney, SSJ, writes about the evolutionary shift being marked by a decrease in self-centeredness and a wider embrace of inclusion and love.
While it’s certainly not easy, our lives as women religious already contribute a framework for making it possible for us to help create this shift: prayer and contemplation, decisions based on community and mission and a commitment to Gospel living. As Adorers, for instance, our assembly focus groups, our ministries, financial contributions, and our compassionate presence are just some of the ways that put us on the path of transformational consciousness.
Sometimes, it just takes a reset, like a new year to remind us to recommit to being our best selves. This year, let’s choose to take the big Leap of Transformation by “decreasing our self-centeredness and increasing our capacity for inclusion and love.” And, in case you wonder, and just for the record: 2024 is a Leap Year!