"Transition is the sacred time between thresholds,
crossing from one world to a new world.
Do not avoid your deepest questions."
I was talking to one of my coaching clients and discussing the uncomfortable feelings she had before she started looking for a job and going back to work. The fear of not having a clear strategy for finding a new job after being out of the work world for three plus years to raise her young family was haunting her.
She knew the feeling of creating something new had been churning inside of her for months, but she could feel fear nipping at her heels. The kids were getting older and she felt the internal nudge to start exploring what her options were in the work world. She was afraid she wasn't "up to the challenge" and even more serious, she felt confused about where to start. She began listing places to contact and had the intention of calling a recruiter referred to her by a friend. That was going to be her first brave, scary step.
She went to the spa to get a massage and ran into a former colleague on the elevator. She stopped to chat and the colleague told her that she was leaving her job and that a new position was opening up at her company and encouraged her to apply for it. Out of the blue--no looking around -- the opportunity showed itself to her. Everything fell into place with school and babysitting for the kids including the perfect commute and location!
The crazy part was she had felt the "nudge" long before the actual event happened. She had felt the loneliness of confusion, anxiety, frustration and the not knowing why she wasn't clear about what she wanted. The important part was she paid attention to the nudge! Even amid her fears she became open to possibility, taking small steps and putting them into action.
All transitions begin with an ending, a change in our life that is born from an internal or external shift.
An internal shift might be that it is time to end a relationship or leave a job. Something about that situation no longer fits. An external transition might begin with a death, divorce, job change or move. The external circumstance is beyond our control but is the catalyst for the ending of something. This is where the necessary lost period of transition begins.
Transitions can actually take place before the actual ending.
Another client came in to discuss his divorce, and knew that the relationship had really ended long before the divorce actually happened. In fact, he reported, it actually happened months before, but he wasn't ready to face it. When his wife just walked out, he finally faced the ending.
In our society of "quick fixes" and instant results, we can lose sight of the rich, fertile, sacred ground that transition provides. After the ending or change takes place, we shift into a period of emptiness. This is actually a period of letting-go of an old dream or of the things that no longer serve us. The picture of our future must change to allow for new circumstances to emerge. Listening to the nudges or messages of this lost period is the key to moving forward.
Ancient societies used to have rituals to help with the transition process. It was a time to be honored, feeling the experience of aloneness to permit useful information to emerge.
Breathe deep and have the courage to be confused; listen to the calling of a new path.
Take small steps in the right direction as often as possible. The invitation to be lost and confused is begging you to let go of old stories that no longer fit. Break old promises and make new ones that work for this new phase in your life.
A new beginning, the next act in your life, cannot show up without a struggle and feelings of chaos and confusion. As Mircea Eliade has written, " For the archaic and traditional cultures, the symbolic return to chaos is indispensable to any new Creation." In this sense, chaos is a necessary mess! Everything must return to a primal state of pure energy for a true beginning.
Trust transition as you let go of the need to see the future through an old lens. The limiting circumstances are a part of what needs to end, so we are no longer held back from doing what we want to do. Listen for the inner signals that alert you to the strange new fragrance of New Beginnings!