Have you recently lost your job, gotten a divorce, ended a relationship, changed careers? Are you debating what to do next? Have you decided to take the plunge and go back to school for an undergraduate or graduate degree? Are you suffering from physical changes due to aging and peri or postmenopausal symptoms? Have your children gone off to college and now your house feels empty?
Life transitions can be very challenging. Transitions can represent a psychological shift in identity, loss of identity, or may leave you with feelings of confusion or chaos. Each transition involves an ending, a neutral zone and a new beginning. As in nature, the leaves fall, then there is winter, and then the green of spring emerges. “Our most important beginnings take place in the darkness outside our awareness. It is after all, the ending that makes the beginning possible” (Bridges, 2004). It is during the neutral zone that one receives signals and cues as to what is to come next. The difficulty comes when we feel the need to be in the doing mode rather than the being mode. Our culture bases enormous value on productivity. If we allow ourselves the time to listen and pay attention during the neutral zone the answer of what is to come next will become more and more clear. It is not based on doing, but rather on listening and mindfully paying attention to our inner world. The unconscious mind will provide the answers if one is willing to be patient. “If you are willing to sit with ambiguity, to accept uncertainties and contradictory meanings, then your unconscious will always be a step ahead of your conscious mind in the right direction. You’ll therefore do the right thing, although you won’t know it at the time” (Levoy, 1997).
If you are struggling with an ending, the fuzzy uncertainty of the neutral zone or with a new beginning Tracey offers a mindful approach to help you first and foremost with self-acceptance and self-compassion, as well as with tools to help you navigate your path.
Bridges, W. (2004). Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
Chödrön, P. (2002). When things fall apart. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications.
Chödrön, P. (2007). The places that scare you: A guide to fearlessness in difficult times. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications.
Chodron, P. (2008). Comfortable with uncertainty: 108 teachings on cultivating fearlessness and compassion. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications.
Levoy, G. (1997). Callings: Finding and following an authentic life. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.