The Secrets of Personal Transformation


Entering The Crucible

There is no question we are living in a time of great flux and change. But societies and cultures are always shifting and adjusting, and always in some stage of either expansion or collapse. There is no permanence in a society, nor is there ever a point of “arrival.”

What is true of society is true for human beings. As much as we try to pin ourselves (and others) down with labels, titles, roles, or personality characteristics, the most we can do is take a snapshot of a moment in time. Also, like a society, there is no point in which we “arrive” as human beings.

Rather than fixed titles or lifelong roles, human life is a journey of trying on and taking off all kinds of characters and characteristics. Until the day you die (and even then), you are always changing.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

But the question is: Are you transforming?

There is a big difference between change and transformation. All human beings change. Not everyone transforms. Change is growing older, a kitten becoming a cat, lead turning into a pencil. Transformation is growing wiser, a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, or lead turning into gold.

Change doesn’t ask all that much from us, while transformation requires consciousness, humility, and reflection.

This monthly column, entitled The Secrets of Personal Transformation, is dedicated to the alchemy of personal transformation. Alchemists were known for attempting to turn lead into gold. Whether they were successful in their goal is a matter of some debate. Either way, however, the stages they went through left behind a blueprint for guiding ourselves through a process of radical metamorphosis, or, in other words, using what’s “lead” within us to make gold.

Each article in this column will address a stage of the alchemical transformative process—how to identify it, move through it, and best support yourself while you undergo transition.

But first, all transformation starts with entering the crucible. Sometimes you do this willingly, as in when you undertake a personal growth program, retreat, or practice. Other times, the Universe puts you in the crucible through hardships, adversity, or life changes. The secret to personal transformation is to actively participate as the process unfolds.

Ten ways to recognize if you’re in the crucible right now:

  1. Long-held patterns and beliefs you’ve held for a lifetime no longer work for you, or you’re starting to see holes in them.
  2. The roles you’re playing feel tight and confining, like when clothing is a few sizes too small
  3. You feel a loss of curiosity, motivation, and inspiration
  4. Relationships that used to bring you joy suddenly feel stale or unsatisfying
  5. Your physical body is giving you signs and symptoms of “dis-ease”
  6. You feel disconnected from your soul and the Universe
  7. Your energy level is low, and your sense of the sacred in everyday life is minimal
  8. You feel removed from the events of the world, or perhaps are overcome with a sense of hopelessness and despair
  9. Your emotions are all over the place, or maybe you’re numb and can’t feel anything
  10. You feel like you’ve lost your sense of direction and purpose

From the perspective of the ego, these are conditions that seem scary or uncomfortable. But, through the lens of your soul, these situations simply point to the fact that you are ripe for the process of alchemical transformation.

While you will always be changing, you cannot become your best self by moving unconsciously through the events of your life. Conscious, personal transformation can take you to places that no unconscious progressive change could ever imagine. So, let’s walk into the crucible together, and see what emerges on the other side of your alchemical transformation.

Keri Mangis Embodying Soul book cover
Keri’s first book, Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness won several awards, including the 2020 IPA award for Mind, Body & Spirit and the 2020 Readers’ Favorite Gold Medal in Non-Fiction Spiritual and Supernatural.


Enjoy reading this article? Read more from Keri Mangis in her Healthy Lifestyle Tips & Tricks and Secrets to Personal Transformation columns

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Keri Mangis
Keri Mangis is an author and speaker. Her work has appeared in Spirituality and Health magazine, Star Tribune, Elephant Journal, Addicted to Success, and many others. Embodying Soul: A Return to Wholeness—A Memoir of New Beginnings, won several awards, including the 2020 IPA award for Mind, Body & Spirit. Book her to speak at your next event!


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