Transition: the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. We are always transitioning. The arc of our lives is a kaleidoscope of overlapping transitions. Birth to death is our longest arc of transition experienced by our physical form. Inside of that, the number and variations of life transitions is innumerable. Indeed, we go through most entirely without the need of conscious thought and direction. Nature takes it course, situations play out, the world turns and life goes on.
Some transitions we consciously involved ourselves in: getting up in the morning, going out to our car, taking the bus, going to the store or to work, etc. These are all little transitions most of us make every day of our lives.
Other transitions impact our lives in greater ways: buying a home, selling a home, starting a business, getting married, having children, etc.
My point is, we are affected by transition. How can we move through a transition that seems overwhelming to us? We can be intensely joyful, or completely outraged when going through a life change, especially when we are emotionally vulnerable to our situation. Allow me to paint a picture.
Imagine that you have lived your life moving from grade school to high school and to college. You earned yourself a degree from a respectable institution and along the way met ‘the one’ and got married after graduation. Every choice has felt normal and you are checking off your ‘to do’ list in life. You then found a great job working in your field of study and bought a house and started a family. From the perspective of society, you are living the perfect normal life. You have your ducks in a row and aside from the normal aggravations, you “can’t complain”.
Now imagine that one day you wake up and realize that you are not satisfied. Something is missing. You brush it off as nothing and continue on. You choose to continue accepting all the tiny ‘unimportant’ annoyances: traffic, stress of the job, mounting debt, lack of healthy nutrition and rest. You begin to ‘lose the spark‘ in your love life and you retreat from your spouse, family and maybe even friends. You just want to catch your breath and feel that everything is going to be ok, but each day, the feeling inside gets heavier. You are living a life out of balance and doing everything you know how to ‘just keep on keepin’ on’.
Then it happens. You finally ask the question, “How did I get here?” We’ve all asked this question, or will, at one time or another in our lives. We’ll look back and try to figure it out. Maybe we’ll find a particular event that we can point to and say, “There is where I went wrong!” We will have our scapegoat. We’ll have found the perfect victim (that is not us) that we can point to and blame the current state of our lives on. And we would be wrong.
In truth, there is no single moment that defines our lives and sets us in an immovable direction. It can certainly seem like it, and we will certainly believe it-for awhile. Eventually, wisdom sneaks in and we see how every moment of our lives played an equal part in creating our life. It is how we feel and think about ourselves that sets the tone of our perspectives, choices, and results in life. Period. We can live in fear and play victim, or we can live in love and own our existence. That is the difference between waking up one day and asking, “How did I get here?” and waking up each day and saying, “I am here!”
Practice living in self-love. It is as easy as making a choice. It may feel awkward at first, but like riding a bike, it comes back. You know how to, even if it has been a long time. The fact is, that love will carry in to all your transitions. You will see everything differently. Your tired, burned-out, angry outlook on life will transform into the knowledge that you are surrounded by resources, support, and moments of restoration. What you need is always at hand. Just ask for the eyes to see it, and the heart to feel it.