A Tool for Times of Transition
October 30, 2017
Sure, we all know "to everything there is a season," but times of transition can be emotionally challenging, even if the transition is something we’ve looked forward to. If you’re feeling busy or stressed, and your cup is already feeling empty, even a simple transition like the seasons changing can feel like an upheaval.
Transitions are tough
One reason is that transitions, big and small, bring us into uncharted territory. This can make us feel vulnerable and uncomfortable. We may feel afraid of making mistakes, or just feel tired out by having to think everything through. It's often like this when we travel to new places, isn't it? Every detail that we normally take for granted needs to be thought through and decided on, and this can be exhausting!
Another reason is that every transition, in some way, is a loss. With each transition, we are saying goodbye to something in order to invite something new into our lives. I remember feeling this way when I was due to give birth. I felt not only excitement and joy, but also sadness and fear because I was saying goodbye to the free-spirited, independent woman I had been. This was a sacrifice I was prepared to make, but not every transition comes about willingly.
Especially when transitions occur that we haven’t chosen, or that we don’t want, we may find ourselves feeling strong and difficult emotions and physical sensations in response. Though we may not identify it as such, this is an experience of grief. Grief is our bodies' natural way of processing the loss of something or someone we’ve valued, and can come in big or small waves of sadness, anger, and/or fear. Grief also often comes with uncomfortable physical symptoms that affects each of us differently.
Though our emotional and physical responses to times of transition may feel uncomfortable and hard to navigate, it's helpful to remember that they are our bodies’ natural healing response to loss of any kind. One of the most important ways that we can support ourselves and each other during times of transition is to offer a non-judgemental space to simply feel and name what we are going through.
A simple tool
Here's a process that you can use to journal or speak aloud about what you're experiencing. It's what one of my teachers, Joanna Macy, in her excellent book, Coming Back to Life, calls “open sentences.” Simply read the beginning of each sentence out loud, and complete it in your own words, allowing yourself a couple of minutes of spontaneous unedited expression. Then, without trying to analyze or fix it, simply be present to how you feel after expressing your emotional truth.
- A transition that I’m going through right now is…
- Feelings about this transition that I carry around with me are…
- What I find hard about this transition is…
- What I appreciate about this transition is…
- What I hope will come from this transition is…
- Ways I can help myself through this transition are…
Feel free to email me your responses, or book a free consultation if you are in need of further support through a difficult transition.