“Since change is a wall and transition the gate in that wall, it’s there for you to go through. Transition represents a path to the next phase of your life .” –William Bridges
Seems like everyone I know is going through some sort of transition. It’s back to school time. My granddaughter Ruthie moved from California to Pennsylvania to start college. My daughter Lisa retired and moved from to Washington state. My friend Emily just got married. Sam lost a job and got a new one. Mitch got a promotion. With each transition there is an outward part (choose where to go, decide what to throw away, move stuff, change schedules etc.) and an inward part (psychological and emotional changes that reorient and redefine us.)
In each transition, we have to settle into and answer the hard question, “Who am I now?” I once had a conversation with a woman struggling in early recovery from addiction. “I want to be sober,” she lamented, “but have no idea who I am sober.“ As lousy as it was, addiction was familiar.
Susan, whose grown children have just moved to Hawaii, moved with her husband in the other direction, from Illinois to Florida. An astute observer of her own process, Susan has been narrating her transitions in powerful Facebook videos. https://www.facebook.com/bodymindandbreath/ As she was leaving the house she’d lived in for 25 years, she identified the tightness in her chest, when her heart wanted to shut everything down. This is where she raised her girls. This has been her LIFE. She felt the fear – “not wanting to let go.” “not knowing” what’s next. She asked herself, “What’s going to happen if I let go?” And leaned back, feeling into the answer. What she discovered was that letting go might be the beginning of “letting in” whatever is next. Who knows if it will be better? Surely it will be different.
The essence of transition may be those twin processes: Letting go; Letting in.
“Light precedes every transition. Whether at the end of a tunnel, through a crack in the door or the flash of an idea, it is always there, heralding a new beginning.” — Teresa Tsalaky
If you’re in the middle of a transition (and who isn’t?) name it. See what you need to let go of. It may be physical stuff, or expectations, strongly held ideas or habits that no longer serve you. When you begin to let go, notice the fear that comes and give yourself some breathing room. Then begin to notice the light coming through the crack in the door….and let it in. Some transitions take a long time. But I’m convinced they will not be complete until you have experienced both letting go and letting in.
- What transition are you in or do you want to be in?
- What do you need to let go of? Stuff? Expectations of others? Judgments of yourself?
- What do you need to let in? New experiences? New ideas? New people? New ways of being?
- Who are you now?