Ten Questions for Self-Transformation


1. What important things do I believe I could accomplish that no one else could?
2. What’s my second or third act in life?
3. What would change everything for me from how it’s been up to this point?
4. What things am I better at than nearly anyone else?
5. What are my shortcomings that are holding me back?
6. What do I love to spend my time doing?
7. How can I transform what I naturally love into a career which sustains me?
8. How can I best engage reciprocation: providing service to others while gaining improved social standing?
9. How can I best utilize my most valuable external asset, time?
10. How can I best utilize my most valuable internal asset, my mind?

I’ve been spending some time lately reflecting on my own process, especially the ways in which I’ve come up short. For much of the time I’ve written for BSJ, I’ve focused on exposing the shadows I’ve seen in the hypocrisies of the worlds religions, and the shenanigans of the world’s so-called leaders. I’ve talked about personal shadow work, and the importance of coming to grips with buried grief, fears, angers, and resentments.

I realize I haven’t said enough about the other type of self-reflection, which starts with an honest evaluation of where I’ve come from, where I’ve been during the past few years, and how I can make the rest of my life count.

I’ve started to slowly work through the above list, and I realize that like anything worth doing, coming up with satisfactory answers is going to take a while. But I share the questions with you today as I encourage you to also go on that same quest to find your bright shadow: that part of yourself which you may feel you have not adequately expressed, which lies hidden and buried underneath the mundane realities of everyday life.

Whether we’ve wanted to or not, the past two years have forced most of us to focus to the point of distraction on the global economic crisis. The worsening business climate has affected our careers and those of our associates. It’s been damn frustrating to experience, and a lot of that anger has spilled over into the political arena–where it’s largely been misdirected. Readers of BSJ already know I want nothing to do with the trite non-solutions of the GOP or the Tea Party.

“What the world needs now,” to steal a line from TED, is a long-term move toward a sustainable economy based on Natural Capitalism, closed-loop manufacturing, and multiple levels of expert analysis of the costs and benefits of decisions on systems and infrastructure. We need this desperately, yet old money stands in the way, old thinking stokes fear, old bastions of corruption in the media prevent us from even having the right conversation.

We need to get away from these tired divisions and move toward win-win solutions that will transform the world and get us out of this slump we’ve fallen into. As we suck down the dregs of the unsustainable, we need to use the energy we have to build a new interconnected global economy that will last. So each of us has to realize that we are partly responsible for how things have been. Also that if we refuse to become discouraged, we are fully capable of transforming ourselves and the world.

If we really focus on the original meaning, and apply them to our lives, the following quotes are far more than the cliches they’ve become:

And so, my fellow americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

John F. KennedyInaugural address, January 20, 1961
35th president of US 1961-1963 (1917 - 1963)

You must be the change you want to see in the world.

Mahatma Gandhi
Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 - 1948)

What is the best way to keep focused on the big picture? How can we be that change we want to see in the world? How can we find that calling which President John F. Kennedy passionately asked every citizen of the world to answer nearly 50 years ago? How can we express service in such a way that in doing what we love we will be nurtured and prosper beyond what we ever considered possible?

I look forward to your thoughts in the comments.

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Comments (71 comments)

N.John Borgen / October 5th, 2010, 8:40 am / #1

Thought provoking questions! Thanxxx for the fuel for thought and action.

Babama / October 12th, 2010, 12:32 pm / #2

Excellent! After twenty years "hiding in the shadow of the cross" of a Christian cult–I have spent the past fifteen processing what the heck happened–and searching for my own "bright shadow". I figure I have at least another five years to go! LOL. These are great questions–I am currently asking myself #7 and #8 while going back to school and learning more about what I really love and am passionate about. Thanks for this inspiring article. :)

Richard Rabinowitz / October 18th, 2010, 6:02 pm / #3

Interesting to see how the son of an autocratic founder of a religion thinks (even if that son has repudiated that religion) - activism, how to improve oneself, how to improve civilization. I don't know very much about CUT, being a Reform Jewish agnostic from New Jersey, but… still…. pretty interesting.

Richard Rabinowitz / October 18th, 2010, 6:20 pm / #4

First of all, I think your ideas on what to do about the economy - solve problems and help build America - are sensical. And now for the nonsequiter, which has little to do with self transformation and more to do with the fact that Elizabeth Claire Prophet nee Wulf was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, not too far from where I was born (New York City) and grew up (central NJ). To understand what I was thinking just right now, one must understand that I have practically always lived in Lenapehoking, the land the Lenape once inhabited (a chunk of terrain containing NYC, western Long Island, Philadelphia, NJ, eastern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware, and the southernmost parts of upstate New York), and that my religion has always considered Jerusalem to be the holiest spot and the land of Israel, on the other side of the ocean, the holiest land. Alas, it is inconveniently far away, and I note that it's hard to find holy land on this side of the ocean. What do we have? Ground Zero in Manhattan, at best, and that because of a terrorist attack nine years ago.

I have thought of the idea of sacred space in New Jersey (which is much of Lenapehoking) but what do I have to go on? Let's see…. founders of religions with a Lenapehoking connection…. L.Ron Hubbard, founder of Scientology, and your mom, founder of CUT (at least according to Wikipedia) - and even they did most of their business elsewhere. Folklore…. let's see…. Gitchi Manito and the Hindenburg explosion and the Jersey Devil and, oh yeah, whatever Jay and Silent Bob did in the movies (LOL). As for religious communities, they buy and sell their land as a commercial commodity, not really stopping to think of any one spot as any holier or more sacred than the rest, thus making it difficult to come upon any notion of holy ground. Perhaps your Red Bank? Perhaps Jay and Silent Bob's Leonardo (not too far away)? Perhaps the Great Falls of the Passaic (up in Paterson)? Heck, any pilgrimage site would do wonders for Jersey tourism, one might suppose…. although the Jersey Shore already does that secularly…. LOL….

Doreen Curry / November 3rd, 2010, 6:55 am / #5

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." ~Edward Everett Hale

xviolatx / November 6th, 2010, 1:44 am / #6


fxgeorges / December 7th, 2010, 6:05 pm / #7

Self transformation is dangerous, more specifically if you are not Wiccan. You shouldn't do anything like this at all, just remember, three fold.

4andtwentywend / January 2nd, 2011, 8:36 pm / #8

love the questions…answere are everywhere. if you come this way …or go this way say hi…its a new year and anew high

Leroy Whitby / January 10th, 2011, 1:59 pm / #9

Whether your mother was a cult leader (or not) doesn't have any bearing on the question of whether there is or is not a God. She was a stumbling block — and a doozy of one, I'm sure. You've leapt out of her false religion, but fallen into a new set of falsehoods. Rejecting the idea of God because of a background in a false religion is common; however, it has no bearing on "God" or "not God." It's a circumstance.

Be not afraid. God's grace is a gift. He may still give you this gift. No guru's needed!

BlackSun / January 10th, 2011, 2:07 pm / #10

I'm not afraid Leroy. Go and worship your 'god' in peace.

Cynthia Oklahoma / January 18th, 2011, 12:05 am / #11

This is exactly the reason why I am pursuing my Masters degree in renewable energy and waste management. It is a department designed degree at OU. I am sick of most of the one percent at the top being so short sighted by only short term profits without a care of the present or future. You would think that they would understand that they are also affected by what they do to the environment.

My grandfather was a Holiness evangelist and minister. I spent two thirds of my life searching all kinds of religions including the Great White Brotherhood which was Mark and Elizabeth Claire Prophet's life work. I have read most of the books ever published from Summit publishing. All of this searching gave me an insight into what is fantasy and what is currently real. Religion is just another tool used enslave and control large groups of people.

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 7:35 am / #12

# 10 should read heart too….#2 was off, didn't make important sense to me, #3 can be improved on & #1 & 4 not realistic……. what does Natural Capitalism mean to u? & reminder JFK had a speech writer too…

AmenASHandF / January 30th, 2011, 7:36 am / #13

interesting what u wrote in the end. That's exactly what religion means - to cage & bind….

exchangerates / February 15th, 2011, 12:17 am / #14

I do not want ot demean your beliefs. However, if you were a Christian who was praying to get taller, I would say that your being taller did not fit into God's plan. Maybe he wanted you to wait to learn patience or compassion. Or maybe, he simply intended you to be shorter than average. Perhaps the power that you are trying to reach , feels this way.

Simon R. Gladdish / May 25th, 2011, 5:29 am / #15

Dear Sean

I am currently reading 'Fallen Angels' by your mother which I find fascinating. I am also interested in the fact that you and your sisters have repudiated the work and beliefs of both your parents. I suppose that most people would like to live in a better world but when you have no power, money or influence, you are extremely limited in what you can achieve. It would be nice if the rich were far more visionary than they are but the overwhelming majority of them simply want to maintain the staus quo and cling onto their ill-gotten gains.

Best wishes from Simon

BlackSun / May 25th, 2011, 2:04 pm / #16

Simon, this world runs on power, money and influence. It's an extension of evolutionary conflict which has been underway since the inception of life on Earth. The path to a better world will not be found through the narrative of past lives, fallen angels, godless/soulless ones, etc. It will be found through acknowledging and understanding humanity's indelible animal competitive nature.

It is only through deep and painstaking self-exploration that we will find the pieces of darkness, greed and shadow within ourselves. We are all the descendants of the strongest, fastest and the most cunning killers and manipulators. Our ancestors outcompeted, killed, and betrayed countless weaker human beings before we were even born. We all perpetuate this state of affairs by our mere survival, played out through the battle for scarce resources. The powerful simply have more tools of combat at their disposal and control more of the essential resources. The day we acknowledge the universality of what some call human 'evil' is the day we can begin to resolve it and begin to build a structure that may result in a more cooperative society.

Unfortunately, too many people are still looking outside themselves for "answers." They blame "greed," the media, the wealthy, governments, the powerful. So they believe (falsely) that if we simply "expose" the perpetrators of various "conspiracies," we can get rid of them and all will become well. This is the pipe dream of all pipe dreams. The mythology of my parents only perpetuates this old paradigm.

"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" –Alexander Solzhenitsyn

AmenASHandFree / May 25th, 2011, 5:14 pm / #17

And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?" ….I am, truth is freedom & that's the catch Nature implanted in us. we can /can't ~ love / hate, creating a schizo affective disorder in all it's variations, deceptively appearing as functioning winners & then the losers who aren't at all but just emotionally distraught due to the madness of this world they didn't ask to be in because their "parents" did it for stupid reasons of illusion enslaving them to a life they never chose….the mean & aggressive in Life have had their time; the sweetness of the child will have theirs. Nature made religion - Life's a riddle unfold it….

Simon R. Gladdish / June 4th, 2011, 2:04 pm / #18

Dear Sean

Many thanks for personally replying to me. I shall think about what you've said. I really like your blog, by the way.

Best wishes from Simon

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AmenASHandF / October 29th, 2013, 5:52 am / #24

and O yEs! of course…words are pieces of a puzzle called The Dictionary in every language forming ideas, rules, services and on and on it goes flowing into other languages to keep moving . It's pre-made, pre-planed and bio-technologicle, so that would make what? The irobots/bioslaves of existence. Freedom is an illusion based on the reproductive organs that humans do not free themselves as organisms in their children from NOT HAVING THEM….! Continuing the animal/biotechnological organism serves nothing,fulfills nothing arguing fighting killing, everyone one working for ages repeating the same ol same ol rediscovering the same ol same ol… sayings are already pre-designed so is the mind who makes them here's mine ~ pEace /| Love <3 and anGer is part of it when Threatened -ROAR! m/ (me bull hOrns =/P
this list above has been done repeatedly by all college educated and self-help leaders - what's new? Natures a bitch making humans inferior to have to follow the such…we 're such gullible fools no matter how old we get, always children in mind n spirit…. so sad Nature is in it's cruelty ='(

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