It undermines our attachment to familiarity. It loosens our moorings and sets us adrift onto an unknown sea. It threatens us with uncertainty that can blow us off course. It’s called transition, and it’s often stressful.
Transition occurs when something shifts in our lives – a move, a job change, a promotion, endings or beginnings of relationships, a medical diagnosis, the aging process or spiritual upheaval. We set out from our accustomed shore and journey across a divide from here to there, often not knowing what “there” will look like.
Having weathered many transitions and supporting others to do so, I know how leaving the familiar often requires us to let go of our identity and self-image. We strain to see through the fog of saying good-bye to what we have known. Those good-byes can come wrapped in grief and mourning.
We face perils on the voyage. Storms of anxiety may paralyze us. The winds of circumstance may blow us off course. Heightened stress levels sometimes creep into our interactions and cause relationships to go overboard. Doubt pokes at us, making us lose our footing as we wonder if we made the right choice to launch this journey.
Whether we’ve chosen it for ourselves or it was chosen for us, we can sail through the passage and make our journey less stressful. I’m listing some guidelines that have helped me do that with the hope they will be helpful to you.
When we stay focused in the present, we’re less overwhelmed. We handle the task we must do or the emotion we feel in this moment. We don’t need to eat the whole elephant, just the one bite in front of us.
Breathing deeply for a couple minutes several times a day works wonders at relaxing and centering us.
Resistance mires us in the mud of non-acceptance. By resisting nothing and take nothing personally, we accept whatever circumstances arise in the transition journey. Doing so frees up our energy.
When we focus on staying healthy through eating, exercise, and rest, we keep our muscles and our immune systems strong. We can then deal more easily with increased stress.
No transition leaves us without its gifts. When we fish for them – that is, deliberately look for them and name them – wonderful things happen. For me, rough transition waters erode the sharp edges of my personality, making me more patient, compassionate, and resilient. That’s a huge gift!
As we near the end of the transition, our view of the opposite shore becomes clearer. We may find a natural curiosity and anticipation arising. A sense of expansion and new growth dances among the changes. The sun comes out and a sense of excitement peeks through the clouds at the new opportunities showing up.
With a smile, we rise to meet them.
Dr. Marta coaches and writes in the Verde Valley of Northern AZ. To contact her, write firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-451-9482.