allowing for Transitions

It's easy to believe you are in a different place in life than you really are--because it's hard to know when you have passed through a transition until you are completely through it and are able to glance back and say, "Look at that! Look what I just went through!"

The in-between time is what William Bridges calls the "neutral zone."  During this period, you will be in the process of "destroying what used to be."  You will be "dismantling" while undertaking “some new building."

Bridges is most helpful in pointing out that life's changes are driven by the desire to reach a goal, while life's transitions:

"Start with letting go of what no longer fits or is adequate to the life stage you are in... although it might be true that you emerge from a time of transition with the clear sense that it is time for you to end a relationship or leave a job, that simply represents the change that your transition has prepared you to make. The transition itself begins with letting go of something that you have believed or assumed, some way you've always been or seen yourself, some outlook on the world or attitude toward others."

It's an internal move of greater significance than any external move.

If you are having trouble getting motivated to finish a project, consider the possibility that filling up the pages to finish that report (or whatever completes your project) will mean having to face an even clearer (and more gut-wrenching) void. So you avoid it.  You don't want to see the emptiness for what it is. So you wait until you can skip to a new distraction. If you delay finishing that project, you can put off looking at some hard things about yourself.

While in the midst of a project with deadlines, you feel like you have a clear identity because, your purpose is defined by the project's needs. But if you could remove the projects out of your life, what justification would you have for thinking of yourself as someone of value?

Likewise, a serious relationship with someone provides a sense of purpose, defining you and giving you a sense of worth. If you are forced to sit down and write out the definition of who you are without the benefit of a title (manager, employee, project manager) or relationship (wife, girlfriend, mother) you crutches, your “go to” terms to define yourself are gone.

A suggestion: Spend time doing things that allow you to center yourself. Give yourself down time to listen. Whatever brings you to stillness will put you in a good position to allow the transition to take hold and internalize it, so you don’t miss the opportunity to make a paradigm shift toward greater emotional and spiritual health. Allow yourself to just "be" within the knowledge of who God is and reconnect with the world around you (its sounds, smells, tastes, touches and sights).

Stephen Goforth