Conditions for Transformation: Understanding the Tree of Alignment

Inspire to Change
6 min readNov 14, 2023

By Nora F. Murphy Johnson, PhD

This article is part of our series on understanding the Tree of Alignment as a Theory of Engagement. Read the first article in the series here.

At Inspire to Change, we support changemakers as they center inquiry and wellbeing in their work for more whole, beautiful, and liberated realities. Transformation towards liberation is a complex journey, full of expected and unexpected challenges. In other words, we know transformation work isn’t easy. If it was, we would see more successful examples in the world at large, and in our daily lives.

Obstacles: Conditions that Hinder Engagement and Transformation

In our work, we’ve seen several specific obstacles arise on repeat. The conditions created by these real and perceived obstacles dampen our creative energies and hinder our progress. The thread that runs through these obstacles is woven from fear, scarcity, and perfectionism.

A major hurdle is the lack of self-awareness. Many struggle to recognize their true feelings, desires, and beliefs, leading to a disconnect from their authentic selves. This unawareness can be a significant barrier to achieving a sense of wholeness and liberation.

Societal norms and expectations can be confining, often limiting people’s ability to fully express themselves and experience true beauty and liberation. They often tell people much more about what they can’t be than what they can, and validate people in judging others who fail to meet these norms and expectations.

Real resource limitations, such as economic, health, and social disparities can restrict access to essential elements that contribute to a person’s sense of wholeness, beauty, and liberation. Other resource limitations are perceived and self-imposed, such as the belief that infinite resources, such as love and compassion, are in limited supply.

Past and ongoing traumas can deeply impact our journey towards liberation. These experiences often instill harmful thought patterns and behaviors, trapping individuals in distress and hindering their path to healing and wholeness.

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Inspire to Change

We help changemakers center inquiry & wellbeing in their work toward whole, beautiful and liberated realities through online community, coaching & consulting.