The Oregon Trail was 2,170 miles, beginning in Independence, Missouri, and ending in Willamette Valley, Oregon. The ruts in the trail grew as high as 5 feet deep in some places. When your life has been completely shaken up, one of the first things to do is to look at the ruts in your own life. Where are the places that you have created a rut so deep that you can’t see the possibilities that are all around you?
“Put blinders on to those things that conspire to hold you back, especially the ones in your own head” – Meryl Streep
This year I think that a lot of people are just like me. Their lives have been shaken up completely. Working from home, my dad’s passing, and now we have sold our home and are getting ready to move to another state. We will be staying with relatives while we build a new home. Some changes might have happened to you, some changes might be from decisions you make.
Moving to a city where we don’t know anyone will certainly get us out of a few ruts. The voices in your head will tell you a lot of stories about things to be afraid of. If you are moving to a new city and state like us, the voices might talk about how hard it will be to make new friends, to get used to a small town. All of which is nonsense.
“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea” – C. Joybell C.
Covid-19 is a change, an event. Losing your job is a change, an event – even if it was your choice to leave. Having a loved one cross over to their next great adventure is a change, an event. Having your life partner leave you, is a change, an event.
It is hard to think of being open to these kinds of changes. They shift and change everything in your life. They demand you look at areas in your life that you haven’t examined in a while. That you see where you were so comfortable that you resisted growth in your life. They push you into a transition period. These events require you to grow and adapt to what being without someone or something in your life means. That you look past your fears and create a vision as to who you are now becoming.
“It isn’t the changes that you do you in, it’s the transitions. Change is not the same as transition. Change is situational; the new site, the new boss, the new team roles, the new policy. Transition is the psychological process people go through to come to terms with the new situation. Change is external, transition is internal – William Bridges
With Covid-19 you are going through social transitions. It might be that habits such as shaking everyone’s hands are gone forever. I’m a hugger. If I liked you, I hugged you. If feels so restrictive not to do so. However, now I hesitate because I can no longer judge if it is appropriate, or will be received by someone. I feel called to ask if I can hug you first. There is a psychological transition that Covid-19 is forcing on the entire world, to come to terms with what all of the changes being required by this event are doing to us.
“We resist transition not because we can’t accept the change, but because we can’t accept letting go of that piece of ourselves that we have to give up because the situation has changed” – William Bridges
The easiest example that comes to my mind is when work changes a software program or simply changes how a certain part of your job is done. You are resistant to unlearning to do something that has become ingrained in you. To learn to do your job in a different way.
Someone decides that a part of your job actually should be done by a different department as it makes more sense to do so in their eyes. You might not agree and resist the change. You might resist learning a new software program. You might resist training someone who is to take over that part of your job.
“Change comes more from managing the journey than from announcing the destination” – William Bridges
The same thing happens when Facebook changes how your page looks. When Apple updates your phone and changes how your phone looks. When your banking app updates and changes how you access your accounts.
Almost daily you are faced with some upgrade, some update that requires you to do something different. When you look at these kinds of small events, changes and transitions don’t look so scary.
- What if you took the attitude you have about an app having an update, and used that same feeling, attitude about all of life’s shifts and transitions?
- What if you viewed everything as an upgrade?
- What if you looked at it like you are just getting an upgrade from flying coach to flying first class?
- What if instead of resisting transition, you enjoy it?
Embrace change, no matter what kind of change it is. When my dad passed a couple of weeks ago, it created a space in my life. I have been taking care of him for 15 years. I pass by his room and miss seeing him. The tendency we all have is to fill up this space with something. Instead, on the advice of a dear friend, I am just letting this space be. I am ignoring this frantic message in my head telling me to fill it up.
“The moment in between what you once were, and who you are now becoming, is where the dance of life really takes place” – Barbara De Angelis
I want to let life show me instead – what is it bringing into my life as possibilities? What is that part of my life is transitioning into?
With the passing of my dad, and moving to a new city and state, I want to learn what this new world can be. I want to take advantage of the possibilities. I want to honor the space between “no longer” and “not yet”. The space of no longer living with the “caretaker” label. The space of “??”, the space of living comfortably with the unknown and “yet to be”.
“The most powerful times in our lives can be the time between times or life’s transitions that give us the opportunity to choose” – Bill Crawford
You have experienced some sort of event in your life recently, or maybe you are experiencing it right now this moment. Take time to have the space between what was, and what is now coming into your life. Realize that you have a multitude of choices. If you have lost a loved one, take the time you need to grieve, to let go, and to open up. If you have lost your job or business, you still need some space to grieve what you lost. Be open to transition from a title or position that you once had and see the possibilities of learning something new. Of a new career or business, a new beginning.
“She understood that the hardest times in life to go through were when you were transitioning from one version of yourself to another”– Sarah Addison Allen
When you allow that space to create the vision of where you want to go, it is the space of growth. It is messy. It is uncomfortable. You will experience feelings you didn’t know you had in you to feel. It is welcoming change and loss because that is where the growth happens. That is where you learn something new about yourself and what you are capable of. Where you can see the opportunity to evolve. To transition into new beginnings.
Thank you! The quote by Marianne Williamson is one of my very favorite quotes.
I think believing in the magic of new beginnings is so critical. Jack Canfield tells the story of a woman talking to her minister about her funeral. She tells him that she wants to buried with her bible and a fork. He questions her about the fork. She says that when they have the church socials you can always tell when they have a really good desert because they tell everyone to keep their forks. She says the fork is to remind everyone the best is yet to come. That’s what gets me past the fear, the anticipation that the best is yet to come.
Wonderful article, Sheryl. It reminds me of the adage that breakthroughs are often a series of breakdowns. Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan termed it as ‘sealing your egg’ from the psychic cording that we’ve allowed to happen – those attachments to what’s kept us from change and becoming a more whole being. It’s certainly a challenge to let go of the familiar and step into the unfamiliar. I’ve been one of those that leaps off the precipice every chance I can get. Why? Because I’ve learned that I can fly. We all can, it’s just a willingness to let go of the fear of flying. Marianne Williamson once stated, “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”