When I first realized last week that the theme for April was Becoming, my mind went wild with all the ways that we could make that connection with this particular time we are in. Not only is it April, the month in which we here in the mountains begin to fully emerge from the grip of winter, it’s also this very strange liminal time that we are in where people are being vaccinated and we are all preparing to emerge from this time of pandemic. That doesn’t mean that things are changing rapidly, or that we can immediately go back to our old way of life before the Covid, but that we are all goo right now. Like a butterfly, we have been in the process of dissolving the way that things used to be and looking toward a new way of being. In particular, staff here at UUCA has been working to plan for what our emergence from the pandemic will look like. There is one thing I can tell you, and it’s that things will be different. We are all different now than we were last spring. I invite you to spend this month thinking about how you are becoming and what you might look like after things are back to “normal.” Let us also acknowledge the work we are doing as a congregation to become anti-racist. It’s hard, uncomfortable, necessary work – and will hopefully lead us to become a more welcoming, diverse, and inclusive community.
-Kim Collins, LREC
Here are some ways to explore the theme from this month’s Soulful Home materials.
At the Table Discussion Questions
- Whose example helped you know who you want to become, or maybe what kind of person you wanted to be?
- When do we stop becoming?
- If you stopped growing right at this minute, what would you be happiest to keep exactly as it is? What would you regret not being able to become?
- Some people believe that when they die, they become another living thing (reincarnation). What would you most want to become?
- Sometimes, change and becoming happen suddenly and in an instant. Is there a big “before” and “after” moment in your life, when you felt like you became someone new? Or were suddenly placed on a new path? (Examples might be getting glasses, moving to a new neighborhood, experiencing a grandparent’s death, or getting a puppy.)
- Who has helped you become the best version of yourself?
- Sometimes becoming requires us to let go of things. What is one thing you’ve had to let go of to become something new? (For example, in order to become a speaker of a second or third language, we have to let go of fear of sounding silly as we learn. In order to become a trumpet player, we have to let go of a few afternoons of free time each week to practice.)
- Last year, we all became families who had gone through Covid together, a unique circumstance in all of human history. How has that experience changed you?
Around the Neighborhood – Treasure Hunt for Becoming
This month, we are acknowledging the part we all play in the becoming of the world around us. We are powerful agents of change! Let’s look together for examples of how we, as a community, are noticing transformation and the becoming happening all around us..
- An empty lot or abandoned building becoming something new
- A community center, an RV or large truck, a parking lot, or other space that has become a Covid vaccination space
- A piece of land becoming a garden
- A favorite view changing, because of a tree growing tall or a new building going up, etc.
- A piece of nature transforming into something new, like a tree growing leaves or a sprout pushing through the ground.
- A puppy or kitten becoming a dog or cat (pets have a tween phase, too!)
- A small weather event becoming a big one (depending on where you live, this might be a thunderstorm, snowstorm, drought, and so one)
- Someone growing a mustache or a beard
- Someone who is pregnant
- Someone learning to ride a bike, either by seeing them learn with the help of their parents or by noticing them riding with training wheels
Extra Credit – A Butterfly’s Becoming, Under Our Care
Butterflies might be the most enduring symbols of transformation and becoming, partly because of how dramatic their change is. For this month’s Extra Mile, we’re going to take on the tried-and-true scientific–and spiritual!–task of raising butterflies.
You may have done this project in the past, or it may have been on your wish list for some time now. Consider this your invitation to try it, or try it again, this month!
This site has a good beginner’s section for butterfly-raisers: http://www.raisingbutterflies.org/getting_started/
There could be no start-up cost at all, if you find butterfly eggs in the wild and use repurposed materials. Or the cost could be $20-30 for a basic kit.
As you enjoy this process, let different facets of “becoming” emerge. Here are some questions that you might consider over the weeks of your attention:
- Are the caterpillar and the butterfly the same “person”? One becomes the other, and yet, they have two different sets of DNA. So, what makes us uniquely us?
- Butterflies are becoming threatened by human-induced climate change. What are our hopes for the future of these insects?
- Why do we think of butterflies as beautiful, but caterpillars…meh. What makes something becoming–as in, beautiful and attractive–to us?