I wrote about transition in my September newsletter, and I decided to continue the theme here because transition is on my mind.
Most of our seasons change so gradually that we don’t even notice. However, in classic Calgary fashion we’ve gone from endless summer heat to cool fall weather overnight. Even though we all knew this change was coming, we still find it hard to adjust.
We live in constant transition. Our day starts with a transition from sleeping to waking, which is often signalled by a loud, unwelcome alarm. We transition from home to work. We transition to different jobs, different cities, and different activities.
Some transitions bring welcome change, and others not so much. But no matter – they’re still challenging.
I’ve been lucky to spend the past year in a state of slow, thoughtful transition. I’ve spent my time studying, practicing new skills, focusing on my health, and learning how to be productive as an entrepreneur. Over the past few months I’ve initiated a transition that means I’m busier. I’m spending more time away from my home office, and I need to meet deadlines and fulfill commitments that often have little flexibility. This is a transition that I wanted to bring about, and I welcome it, but it’s also a new state that requires adjustment, and I find myself chafing at that just a little.
As a yoga teacher, I lead my students through a transition into the class and then out of the class, and we transition between poses through the practice. Some teachers teach elaborate transitions, making it hard to anticipate the next pose. This is good, because it keeps the student focused and mindful in their practice – they aren’t just going through the motions. It can also be difficult, because the transition may not be smooth, and the student may end up feeling lost and uncomfortable in the pose. They may need to adjust their bodies, or even start from scratch and make the transition in a familiar way.
Doesn’t this sound familiar? We all want to anticipate transitions. Not many people enjoy moving from one place to the next without knowing their destination. Often when that happens we need to re-adjust or backtrack to feel comfortable. Unfortunately, life is full of unexpected transitions and unknown destinations. The best we can do is learn to find peace in the transition and know ourselves well enough to adjust to an unexpected destination.
As I move through a transition, I need to remember the advice I would give to others. Be gentle with yourself. Don’t take on too much at once. Tell yourself it’s ok to be less than perfect. If you need to reset, give yourself permission to do so. Observe how transition feels for you, and see if you can make it easier next time. Above all remember that growth requires change. The alternative is stagnation, and no one wants that.