Tag Archives: Anxiety

How To Survive Transition

We get lots of chances to become butterfliesYears ago when I ran my little shop in California I used to freak out when a key employee handed in their notice. This happened way too frequently in this small college town, since most of these employees had larger ambitions than working in retail.

“Oh no! Not again!” I’d moan to my (now ex) husband. “I depended on her for so much! How will I ever find someone as good?”

And my husband—who could actually be quite wise at times— would intone, “The only constant in life is change.”

Oh, how I hated hearing that!

Especially because I knew he was right.

There’s no escaping transition in today’s world. There are the transitions of our own making—such as a big move, leaving a job, or retiring—and the ones that hit us out of nowhere, like the defection of a spouse, a scary diagnosis, or the death of a loved one.

Then there are those transitions that are anticipated yet not welcomed—think menopause, empty nest, or ending a relationship that simply isn’t working.

Whichever type of transition you’re facing—it pretty much sucks to be in the throes of it.

Whether it’s a huge life shakeup, or something as minor as switching cell phone carriers, change usually serves up an assortment of not-so-pleasant emotions.

Fear. Anxiety. Sadness. You know, all those feelings we do our best to put the lid on.

And, weirdly, transition can also make you feel stuck, like you’re treading water in some sort of limbo-land and nothing will ever change.

We all react differently. Some people want to dive under the covers and hide from everything, while others get lost in an overwhelming flurry of activity that doesn’t bring any satisfaction.

Personally, in my own attempt to escape the pain of transition I veer towards the latter, throwing myself into action, rushing toward the next phase.

And this is problematic. Because all transitions, whatever their scale, are like a metamorphosis. And, like the caterpillar transforming to a butterfly, transitions take time. They require pausing for each phase.

And for me the phase that is most uncomfortable is the melt-down, or cocooning.

That’s the part where the caterpillar crawls into its cocoon and literally melts into a primordial ooze before it can even begin to take from as a butterfly.

I HATE the cocoon phase!

I’m like, what?! Slow down? Stop and rest?? Integrate??!

This is so NOT my M.O.

However, I’m learning (the hard way) that if I try to skip or skimp on this important step, then my butterfly cells get all wonky. The wings don’t get a chance to fully form, they just don’t work right.

I find myself on a frustrating treadmill of trying, without ever quite slipping into the satisfying final phase of transition… Flow. Or flying.

Now, you may be different. Some people actually get stuck in this first cocooning phase of the transition cycle. They never want to crawl out from under the covers and turn off the Netflix to start dreaming about what comes next.

The thing is, we all must pass through all the stages of transition before we can come out on the other side, even the uncomfortable ones. And the quicker we allow that discomfort, the quicker we can move through it.

We get lots of chances to become butterflies.

Some transitions take ten years (hello menopause!), others can be passed through in a day or two. Most are somewhere in between.

When you can notice that you’re in transition and allow whatever uncomfortable feelings that are present to simply be…you take a powerful step toward easing the pain and shock that transition brings.

If you’re feeling stuck—this is the ‘secret’ to moving past it. This is how to survive transition. And even to thrive through transition.

It’s to actually stop and acknowledge what is present. Feel into what’s going on underneath, allow the tears, the anger, the fear, to bubble up and pass through your body.

Because… for all his faults, my ex knew what  he was talking about: the only constant in life is change.

Shift happens. One transition will end, another will begin.

And it’s in that scary and empty space between one thing and the next… in that slippery transition space… where a portal can open. And we get some wind at our backs to step into that next evolution of self.

We get lots of chances to become butterflies.

 

What challenges are YOU facing with transition? What helps you get through? Share in the comments!

<

The Highly Sensitive Extrovert

Blog #15 in my Blog-each-weekday for a month commitment. I see a lot of articles and books these days geared to the HSP – highly sensitive person. Usually it’s assumed that these sensitive individuals are natural introverts. Yet—I’ve had to wonder about that. As a clear ENFJ on the Meyers Briggs scale, I know that I’m…Continue Reading

What To Do When Life Gets Crazy

The following is Blog #2 in my 30-day commitment to a writing a blog every week day! Do you tend to drop all your self-nurturing routines when the shit hits the fan in your life? Ironic isn’t it? Just when we need it the most, we deny ourselves the very things that could make us…Continue Reading

You Are Enough

photo: Per Ola Wiberg ~ powi As we speed headlong through the last weeks of 2012, a collective anxiety is building. This year it’s not just the shopping, the overeating, the wondering what will need to be returned….there’s this overall feeling of shift, of change. Many predict the outcome of all this uncomfortable shifting will…Continue Reading

My Meditation Experiment

I first tried to meditate when I was 19. I sat in my college dorm room, in as much of a lotus position as I could manage, and gazed at a candle flame. Then I closed my eyes, counted the beats of my in and out breath and attempted to empty my mind for the…Continue Reading

Have Trouble Sleeping? Try California Poppy.

Friday Herb Blurb It’s summer and the poppies are out! Scattered along the roadsides, dotting the edges of sunny trails, and clustered in gardens, the cheery faces of California poppies brighten up even the foggiest coastal summer days. This prolific wild plant offers us much more than the beauty of  lovely blooms. Remember the scene…Continue Reading