A few years ago I created a program called HERwithin Transition which had successful beta testing with five amazing women. I knew there was a need for women to understand how to properly transition through life events. I had just gone through another one of my own and knew I wasn’t doing myself any good by not processing it properly. A transition is more than having something end and having something begin, but many of us have never been taught how to process times like this. “Get over it”, “Stop stewing on it”, “It’s in the past” are all things we’ve heard and may have said to others as well. I’m here to tell you that “get over it” is only pushing down unprocessed emotions and stagnating your internal energy system. We need to process.
I was blessed to find a little book by William Bridges called Transitioning that changed my life. Within a transition, there are 3 stages – An Ending, The Bridge and The New Beginning. We are transitioning right now. What we know as normal, in many ways, just ended. This pandemic is taking away our normalcy little by little. Things will turn around, but we need to let go and embrace The Ending. This is the point of “DIS”. What was needs to go through a period of disengagement, disillusionment, disassociation and a handful more other steps. It’s the letting go stage. This transition can be going from being at home alone during the day to having 3 other people around constantly. It can be a single person suddenly having to work from home. It can also be a major transition like cancer or the sudden loss of a loved one. It’s all about facing ‘what was’, acknowledging it and saying goodbye.
The next step called The Bridge, is the one many of us jump right over. This is the place of stillness that’s required to find our bearings again. Remember that spinning playground ride? You jump on, spin around until you can’t see straight, then jump off waiting for your head to stop spinning? That’s the same as The Bridge. This is the time for your head to stop spinning, find stillness, grounding, peace and acceptance. Tribes use this transition stage to send their young men away to transition into men. They’re removed from the village and sent into seclusion in order to release the boyhood. In this period of a transition, it’s about connecting with the new you. The one that has shed the old layer of what was and is free from habits, judgments and fear.
The final stage is The New Beginning. This one isn’t as easy as just walking through a door. This is the stage that your inner critic, or Inner Lizard, as Martha Beck calls it, will keep jumping in to try and pull you back to life as they know it. Your inner lizard doesn’t like change and this is it’s time for a final rebuttal before you transition successfully. You’ll start questioning your commitment to this new way. You may try to bring old habits into this new way, but if you’ve done your Bridge homework and successfully let go of what was, you’ll find the transition easier.
Can you see what was, what is and what will be? Are you prepared to let go, find your peace and start a new way of being? It doesn’t happen overnight, but rest assured, it’s worth every ounce of energy you put into your personal transition.
Below is a sequence to check in with yourself during a transition. Ensure that you’re on the right track by asking yourself if you’ve honestly and successfully completed each stage. Remember that the biggest part of any transition is the down time between what was and what will be. You’ve got this!
Click the top right corner of this image to expand it.