Do not try to save
the whole world
or do anything grandiose.
in the dense forest
of your life
and wait there
until the song
that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know
how to give yourself
to this world
so worth of rescue. — Martha Postlewaite
In Surrender and Let Go we compared our losses to autumn, when trees let go of their leaves to create space for the bloom of new flowers in spring. In this post we are going to talk about life transitions. After a loss, how can we go through the winter season, when nothing seems to be happening?
What makes transitions very challenging is the high degree of uncertainty that accompanies them. Not knowing if and when something is going to happen often makes us feel completely without control. This can stir up many uncomfortable emotions, like anxiety and depression. To avoid feeling them, we can be tempted to desperately try to force situations around us.
This urge to fix is deeply rooted in our culture, obsessed with constant production and growth. We are simply not used to slow down. As a results we do not live according to the natural cycle of life. We pretend to live in a never ending summer, where we can harvest continuously. We always need a plan and we are constantly running after something. The faster we get there, the better. As a consequence we often do not allow ourselves to slow down while going through a transition. No wonder so many of us experience a burn out, strong anxiety or depression. We simply do not give ourselves permission to rest, allowing the energy of change to transform us.
What would nature be if we would never allow her to have winter? […] Enjoy all the seasons![…] If you let winter happen, all the nourishment and the magic will come back and build into a new summer. — Martha Beck
Is there a better way to deal with transitions?
Uncertain times are very much like having just planted a seed and waiting for it to germinate. At the beginning nothing seems to be happening, but the seed is there, growing underground. It is fundamental to be patient, water it and trust that there is a process in progress, even if you do not see it, yet.
Every time there is no clear path ahead of us, we tend to feel very vulnerable, so it is fundamental to create a safe space, a clearing in the dense forest of our lives, as Martha Postlewaite describes it in the poem above, where we can reconnect with That which is guiding us. It is fundamental to be deeply rooted in knowing that It is going to take care of us. It is not important how we call It. What is essential is to reinforce daily the relationship we have with It, by asking to be guided and by allowing It to work for and through us.
True guidance is like a small torch in a dark forest. It doesn’t show everything once. But gives enough light for the next step to be safe. — Swami Vivekanand
By being still we will be able to receive Its messages.
The inspiration you seek is already within you. Be silent and listen. — Rumi
Another important aspect is to be aware of the pressure that our growth-obsessed society puts on each of us, maybe even through well-intentioned family members or friends, that project their own personal issues onto us. In this moments we really need to pause and step back, not allowing fear-based messages to dictate the choices we make. We are responsible for the delicate seed that is growing in us and we need to protect it. So it is vital to be surrounded by supporting people, limiting as much as possible the time we spend with those who are critical or judgmental. Moreover we should constantly check our thoughts, and choose not to believe the fearful ones.
While dealing with chaos we need to always be gentle with ourselves, knowing that we are doing the best we can.
Rest until you feel like playing, then play until you feel like resting, period. Never do anything else. — Martha Beck
As we slow down, it is also important to look for things that inspire us. This is fundamental to keep our energy level high 🙂 If we manage to not be controlled by our fears, transitions are a wonderful occasion to allow our creativity to emerge. We just need to create space for it in our lives 🙂
If uncertainty is unacceptable to you, it turns into fear. If it is perfectly acceptable, it turns into increased aliveness, alertness, and creativity. — Eckhart Tolle
In the next post we are going to discuss about how to open up to the emerging spring 🙂
Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible —
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