Welcome the Challenge of Transition
Dropped into this time warp that is Iona, one quickly forgets the date or time of day, all the while becoming wonderfully fuzzy-headed–a good thing as I am always too much in my brain.
I see this initial day as a transition–a time in between the past and the future with no particular goal of destination in mind. The linear life is gone for the time being and random activity becomes the rule of the day. The mere unpacking of my clothes and re-arranging the hotel room helps me adjust to this time out of time experience which I am about to embrace.
I have long believed in the importance of transitions–ever since my boys went to college and returned home different each time, I would be forced into a different rhythm if I were to interact with them and truly connect. The same would also be true after my husband returned from a business trip–although he came back to the same house, what he and I had experienced during the separation always took some adjusting to,once back together.
And so today, I do the only thing I know to do in such pause times and that is to get out into my surroundings and let the natural world buoy me with its instructions. I lace up my hiking boots, fetch my walking stick and head out. Observers might say I look like a moonwalker as I can only seem to meander–no stiff trek today–the veil between the real world and the spirit world of Iona is very thin which seems to create an energy shift–a slowing down–a chance to connect to spirit.
I head north, known for its healing properties. Having brought a lot of baggage with me, I intend to take the cleanse by dipping my feet in the water to rid myself of the footprints from the past. Once that is accomplished I will look for some beach glass–often found on the north beach and pocket a piece or two reminding me that I was once part of a whole. Now, broken off from others and having been tossed and turned, I have emerged misshapen for sure, but with soft edges. My day is full of promise!
Questions to Ponder: If you have been following this blog so far,these are the steps I have led you to follow. If you have not been able to dedicate yourself to each step of the process, take time now to reflect upon how each step could benefit you and then try to find the time to work on one or more . So far you have been made aware of:
Answering the Call
Becoming a Pilgrim
Relishing the Path
Surrendering to Serendipity
Welcoming the Challenge of Transition
Contemplate what transitions you have experienced in the past year and how well (or not) you’ve handled the challenges that come with change.
Incredible amount of transition in the past 12 months and now soon a new mountain to climb again. Youngest daughter is moving home after 8 years and oldest is home birthing in 3-4 weeks,…while in-laws to boot visit from Texas. I had lists upon lists earlier this week: I was going to keep control and “do this and do that” to assist each incident. Then a transition comes over me! I dip into an abyss of frozen inaction. This “pattern” of shutting down is an old friend. I get so anxious, scared and shameful, that I am not achieving all I had hoped. I can’t seem to allow myself a transition,….or at least be comfortable with “wherever I am.” In a few days (or sometime hours) this emotional shutdown will leave,…….in the meantime, there are tea breaks, yoga poses and those curiously heavy rocks in my coat pocket. Now to welcome the challenges of transitions (mine and others) and be ok with NO control. Yikes (: Hugs to all of you this season,…..so hard, yet so ripe with possibilities.
this is something I have been working on with the help of my therapist… as she says… “these are not your issues and you can’t go running in there to save this person… it’s not your issue… let it go…” so now when something comes up with a son or daughter or significant other I ask myself… is this “my” issue or theirs? if it’s theirs… I leave it be… I’m supportive… I listen… offer comfort if allowed but I no longer try and solve anyones issues but my own… it is hard to do… as women we want to rush right in there and solve the worlds issues… but we can’t… we only hurt ourselves in the process – we burden ourselves with other peoples issues and we truly have no control over them whatsoever… no… I gave up on that this year… and I’m better for having done it… hugs to my sisters on this blog…
as I face Christmas and my “need” to make it perfect (again) I have been struggling to adjust to one son going to NH with his wife, another to NJ with his dad…. and me going to OH to be with my 83 & 85 yr. old parents who just moved in with my brother and his family…. I just retired in July and moved far away from good friends to be nearer to my boys….. and the emptiness can be overwhelming…. and I think I can make it all perfect for everyone… and then something makes me read this beautiful glimpse into the life of a woman who I admire so much for her honesty and I see myself…. I think I will go light some candles!
Thank you for grounding us. Just returned from a professional conference. It was bittersweet, but this year a bit more sweet. The transition of a forced job change was very difficult, especially since in my profession I continue to see and deal with those who were the negatives (forcers). So my transition has been a two year process. At these conferences I am reminded of how much I truly care for the students I left, seeing them and having them share their growth and the many thanks they give is the sweet. The bitter is the ache of knowing I was forced to leave because I was so good at what I do and a threat to others who are not as good. Although I can write today that I am moving beyond that now, I have been blessed with the ability to help them all grow and go forth. In my profession much like motherhood, it is about giving the tools to go forth and make their own path. For me listening to their new found journeys is exciting. I realize working at this institution is now outlived.
At this conference for the first time in 3 years, I was able to hold my head high, be myself and for the first time I really didn’t care about those negative folks anymore. They are toxic.
I have let go of the hurt, betrayal and anger I felt, they are not friends nor genuine people, so they too are outlived in terms of my time and caringness.
I am at a new place making my new path. I am on a new journey for myself, I am working to help another group of people grow and change. It has not been easy and there are days I cry because the two hour drive and several days away from home every week gets to me. Through the blog and the exercises, I am working to just simply find a positive. I then try to build from that.
Another transition has been supporting my best friend through her journey of fnding a new path. She has her struggles and times, but I am there for her as she is there for me as well.
Thank you Joan for helping me open my mind, heart and soul to newness.
The Abbey/Nunnery photograph touched me. Called me. Intense peace and contemplation call me and BE STILL is now a mantra. But, I had a Thanksgiving incident with relatives and had to put on my boots and take action. That peaceful photograph was replaced with a mental image of me in full Joan of Arc armor with one foot planted on a dining room chair and the other on the Thanksgiving table, sword raised.
But, I am proud of that image, satisfied to find the courage to draw a stronger boundary to protect my own private, sacred home space from relatives who wanted to disrupt it.
Isn’t it funny—remembering John Lennon’s quote—that sometimes while we try to go in one direction, we are called to take a completely different action.
Our posts speak to the courage and fortitude it takes to follow our own paths.
Continuous thanks for this forum!
Just want to say, that this online retreat has been a blessing for me. Thank you Joan, for it all.
and thank you for the encouragement.
When Roxanne said that the last decade has been one big transition, I had to laugh. Oh, yeah! Three kids out, two though college, one ill, one back, sometimes two back, one getting married, one needing a job, a husband on the verge of retiring, father and father-in-law passed away, aging mothers, sister’s nasty divorce. Isn’t this the stuff of life? As John Lennon vocalized, “Life happens when you’re making other plans.” I’ve actually had that stenciled on my dining room wall for years. Did it become my destiny? Yes, I transition; some days I do it better than others. It’s a push/pull life, isn’t it? Ladies, I think we are lucky that we can and have the priviledges to be able to think about these things. Thank you for sharing this common bond with me. We woman have so much in common, even though we don’t know each other formally.
Anna, your comment reiterated a sentiment I have carried around for years ie that women have a bond that threads them together and although unacquainted or unknown to one another, they share an intangible but real connectedness.
Thanks Anna K et all, and especially Joan for providing this vehicle for validating and processing our never-ending transitions…
So unbelievably soothing and affirming to have your inspirational company along for the ride!!
Oh Anna, such truth in your comments. The imperative is,however, that we find a respite…time alone even if it is fifteen minutes in nature to breathe, and digest all that is swirling around us.Otherwise we get eaten alive. “If it is iin a woman’s nature to nurture, than she must nourish herself,” said Anne Lindbergh.
I call the time when either my husband or I return from a trip “re-entry shocks” since it is a time where we have to allow one another back into a common world. As a blended step-family, we have also struggled with our children as they return from visits with their other parents…the transition from one set of house rules to another is especially hard on them. And yet, everyone does come back – whether from a visit or work trip – somewhat changed. You have beautifully captured this in today’s reflection. Thank you.
Justine…you and all of us need to adjust to the newness of the other person after time apart.This can be revealing and delightful and add a new spark to our growth or it can go totally unacknowledged which is a shame because there is such delight in change and growth if we view it that way. I like to pretend I am Margaret Mead surrounded by a new culture that I have come to study or at least be fascinated by.
I have been lagging behind a little with the blogs and the steps but this particular entry speaks loudly to me. I feel like the entire decade has been one big transition after another but the last year has been some of the easiest. I am taking time for me this week to work on the steps of this process. Thank you Joan for sharing this. I look forward to meeting you at the January retreat.
A great learning tool is to review the transitions we have actually navigated through and then reflection time on how amazing we were in handling each one. Transition is an in between time…we get stopped with the chaos of it and then are left exhausted, wanting to get back to normal life but too tired to do so. It is the PAUSE that refreshes and some of us need to pause longer than others. But during this time we begin to see clearly. If we rush to the next beginning it might be the wrong destination.