For a New Beginning
In out-of-the-way places of the heart,
Where your thoughts never think to wander,
This beginning has been quietly forming,
Waiting until you were ready to emerge.
For a long time it has watched your desire,
Feeling the emptiness growing inside you,
Noticing how you willed yourself on,
Still unable to leave what you had outgrown.
It watched you play with the seduction of safety
And the gray promises that sameness whispered,
Heard the waves of turmoil rise and relent,
Wondered would you always live like this.
Then the delight, when your courage kindled,
And out you stepped onto new ground,
Your eyes young again with energy and dream,
A path of plenitude opening before you.
Though your destination is not yet clear
You can trust the promise of this opening;
Unfurl yourself into the grace of beginning
That is at one with your life's desire.
Awaken your spirit to adventure;
Hold nothing back, learn to find ease in risk;
Soon you will be home in a new rhythm,
For your soul senses the world that awaits you.
~ John O'Donohue ~
Change is inevitable. It's how we choose to manage change in our lives that makes the difference between a painful or a smooth transition. Transition starts when something ends and finishes when something new begins.
Ending, losing, or letting go of something: a job, retirement, a relationship, a move, the birth of a child (pregnancy), the loss of a loved one, will all lead to a second psychological phase called transition or the neutral zone, but each one starts with an act of letting go.
In his book, "Managing Transitions, Making the Most of Change", William Bridges describes 'transition' as "…a three-phase process that people go through as they internalize and come to terms with the details of the new situation that the change brings about." (Bridges, William and Associates, Inc., Da Capo Press, 2009)
Understanding that transition begins with letting go, is the first step in managing transition. The second step is the neutral zone.
"This is the psychological 'no-man's land' between the old reality and the new one". (Bridges, 2009)
Change is an external situation, while transition is usually a much slower, internal state of uncertainty. It can't be rushed or by-passed or escaped, and it can be painful and chaotic, yet necessary for a person to develop and renew.
“Transition is the way we come to terms with change.” (Bridges, 2009) If transition doesn't occur, or if it is avoided, a person can become stuck emotionally, or end up in limbo or back where they started having to "let go" all over again.
"Ending--neutral zone--new beginning" (Bridges, 2009) are the processes of transition that can overlap but cannot be completed until all three are complete. An ending can happen in one place while a lengthy chaotic neutral zone is happening in another place, while a new beginning is already palpable.
While letting go (change, loss) is frightening, it is the in-between time when the old is gone but the new isn't fully realized (the neutral zone) that can be most difficult and messy, with plenty of emotional ups and downs. Awareness and understanding of this process can help soften the pain of transition, with new hope for a beginning full of energy and purpose.
In the natural world, seasonal transition happens during Spring and Fall when night and day are nearly the same. The Fall equinox is the beginning of Autumn -- "letting go" of Summer. It is the transition period that occurs before Winter's hibernation and rest. It is an inevitable change that we can embrace for all of its beauty and abundance -- it is harvest and preparation, colors and smells and delightful flavors… it IS transition.