|Most of us would agree that the last few years have been some of the most challenging times of our lives. These years have been a truly “dark night of the Soul” period.|
There is so much change in our world right now, it is confusing about what is really happening. Several of my clients asked me to define and discuss the difference between change and transition.
In his book, Managing Transitions, author William Bridges defines change as “situational.” Change could include working from home or working with a new boss, homeschooling children, ordering food online, or having your doctor’s appointment on Zoom.
There are also systemic changes occurring rapidly throughout our world in areas such as education, politics, medicine, and our environment, all of which impact our lives.
Change in itself is not a transition, Bridges explains. “Transition is the internal psychological process we go through to come to terms with the new external situation such as divorce, loss, death, isolation, fear of the pandemic, loss of job, a business, or a marriage, and relocation.
Change is external. Transition is internal.
Transitions are the internal shifts in our identity that help us adjust to deep external changes that we are experiencing. These are psychological issues that must be overcome or moved through before we can move ahead.
Often people get stuck in their old beliefs, shut down, and refuse to go through the doorway of change and allow for good endings.
All transition starts with an ending in mind.
Even if change is good, one must let go of something to make that change. When you let go of what is holding you back, you are in a neutral or wilderness space and time, and the ending is still not clear, or even perceivable.
We make new beginnings only if we experience successful, healthy endings. So it goes:
Endings first, then the neutral zone, and then new beginnings.
It has always been difficult for most of us to accept change and move through transitions to achieve new beginnings. And today’s rapidly changing world doesn’t make it any easier.
So be kind to yourself and others during this challenging time as we all navigate our external world to make successful transitions. Trust in yourself and others that we can, and we will!
Do you have patterns in how you deal with endings?
What endings are incomplete in your life?
Do you accept that someone or something has passed?
Please let me know if you have any questions about your transitions.
According to Abraham Maslow’s higher order of needs, we all need to feel our basic needs are met. During this time of loss, depression, and disconnection from each other, we are moving back and forth from our higher needs to our basic safety ones.
Take a minute to answer these questions and ask yourself, “Are my needs being met?”
- Are you eating healthfully?
- Are you giving your body enough exercise and sunshine
- Do you have emotional or physical issues that need more conscious attention?
- Are you getting enough rest and sleep?
- Are you feeling safe in your home and work environments?
If you are feeling frustrated with not reaching your higher potential, perhaps you can explore whether your basic needs are being met.
Contact me to schedule a 30-minute call and we will explore whether this is a good next step for you.
This poem by Rumi, the Sufi poet, is centuries old but its message is still clear, urgent and timely amidst today’s global pandemic.
“The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill,
where the two worlds touch. The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.”
We are in the midst of the most life-altering experience most of us have ever endured. Fear of this virus has triggered feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, and loss of control of our lives. We are in survival mode, yet yearning to return to the world we knew just a few short months ago. But Rumi’s message is clear:
WE CANNOT GO BACK. WE CANNOT GO BACK TO SLEEP.
So, we must use this sacred opportunity of time to reflect inward, to challenge ourselves to overcome this devastation of human life in order to create a new world that is kinder, healthier, peaceful and loving, a world that is rooted in justice and equality for all. In other words:
A WORLD THAT WORKS FOR ALL.
To achieve this, we must use this time to make changes. If we do not apply what we learn from this experience, we will surely face the prospect of even more world devastation due to disease, war, economic collapse, climate change or some other global threat.
I know what it takes to stay awake in difficult times. I know it is hard.
THE DOOR IS OPEN. THE CHOICE IS YOURS.
As individuals, we can make changes in many areas: our beliefs, our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health, our work limits, our responsibility for our Earth home, our quality time spent with our families, and our service to others.
I agree: it’s easier to resist, deny, and stay unconscious while focusing on getting back to the life we enjoyed. But, we have a choice to make: remain complacent, or change. As Rumi says, the door is open. Some of us who have listened and learned will choose to cross that threshold to awaken our higher consciousness.
Have you had a wake-up call recently, such as an unexpected health crisis, a separation or divorce, or the loss of your job? Perhaps you just feel stuck or restless? Are you yearning for change?
These situations and emotions come with midlife, and this transition can be like falling down Alice’s rabbit hole: frightening, yet at the same time invigorating. Some people come out terrified while others are transformed. Some people renew their passion for a new life with gusto, and others ease along, making small but notable changes.
There is no right way or wrong way to transition through midlife. At some point, you may know you want to change your life, but you may have no idea where to begin and feel stuck. Yet, you simply have to do something!
It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you take some form of action! Do something to shift your life.
Get a new job, clean out your closets, retire a relationship that’s draining your energy, schedule your trek in the rainforest, move to a new city you love, join a group of like-minded boomers, volunteer to help people in another country, go back to school for fun or for a new career, take a dance class to learn to tango.
The unrest that occurs at this period is about sorting out and separating who you are becoming from who you have been. It is a time for deep introspection, and for exploring how you want to live this part of your life and how you want to become more authentically who you are.
These suggestions will help you get unstuck and get to your next step:
Step One: Schedule a quiet time to think about some of the questions maturing boomers must confront as they approach middle age, such as:
Do I want to spend the rest of my working life in my present career?
What would a career change mean at this point in my life?
What changes can I begin to make now to ensure better physical and psychological health for the rest of my life?
Am I really happy and content with my daily life now?
Step Two: Get clear about what you want for your life.
Develop a personal profile that highlights several areas: Your pleasures, your dream job or career, the subjects about which you want to learn more, your strengths and your areas for improvement.
Here’s a way to make your personal profile come alive: put together a picture board that displays all the things to which you are drawn or for which you have a passion, such as: a healthy body, gardening, resting at a spa, sailing, or a peaceful landscape. Cut photos from your favorite magazines to illustrate your passions and paste them on your “dream board.”
Give yourself permission to get in touch with your suppressed vision of who you truly are and how you want your life to actually be.
Step Three: Identify Obstacles and Outdated Beliefs
Do you have limiting thoughts that are holding you back?
Your set of beliefs, thoughts and lifestyle habits, which include your food choices, your form of exercise, your sleep patterns and stress level, can be an obstacle for living a healthy lifestyle. What are your thoughts and limiting behaviors?
Step Four: Take Action to Make Permanent Change
It is not enough to just verbalize or visualize your goals. You must have a plan and take steps to create what you want!
Action Steps: Write down your goals and action steps to achieve them during the next 3 months. Identify your strengths and areas for improvement in following up with your plan.
Step Five: Get Help to Hold Yourself Accountable
To help you manifest your goals and dreams, I recommend that you create accountability by finding a buddy, hiring a coach, or joining a group with like-minded people to help you reach you goals.
I recently had to ask myself “What do you really, really, really want for your life?
I mean from the bottom of your Soul what do you desire?
Alicia Keys, Grammy award singer, asked on the Voice, “Who are you? Whom will you allow yourself to be?
Well, I decided to explore the question more deeply.
My lease was up, I had some health issues, and I could not keep working in a career that was not supporting my dreams and visions.
I decided to leave Atlanta and spend some time with a friend at the beach in Saint Simons, GA.
This gave me some time to heal my body and to recommit to living my purpose.
The decision to leave my job, my friends, and the city I had lived in for 20 years was not easy. I had delayed this decision for years!
I HAD TO TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH.
I had to face intense fears, old beliefs, loss, grief, and deep sadness. I had to open my heart and become vulnerable and ask for guidance from a divine source.
I had to WALK THROUGH THE FIRE.
We are all living during one of the greatest periods of transformational change on the planet.
This transformational change or shift in consciousness requires us to make the needed change in our old outdated beliefs, repetitive thoughts, and unhealed wounds.
It requires us to face our fears, live more from the edge, be bold and take chances.
Here are a few of the things I did that helped me get more clarity and reconnect to my purpose.
- Meditated and prayed daily.
- Went outside to the beach or in the woods and connected with Nature.
- Reconfirmed my dreams and vision for my life.
- Refused to allow fear to destroy my vision for my life.
- Honored my creativity by taking art classes and listening to poetry.
Please let me know how you are dealing with your transformational changes. I really want to know!
I offer “DEEP COACHING” to explore what is happening in your life and to help clarify what you deeply desire for your life.