I sat in my living room as the sounds grew hollow, each piece of furniture removed seemed to leave a vacuum where it once was. As I watched the sunlight flicker and the birds chirp outside my window a catalogue of memories passed through my mind: the summer my husband and I got married, the gatherings of friends and loved ones, the tears shed, the illnesses faced, the milestones crossed, the dreams realized…
I took a deep breath and let the wintry landscape sink into my bones and a soft tear began to fall down my cheek as I felt how many seasons I had watched come and go from this cozy perch in our little farm house.
Although I am celebrating a new space and excited about how this home will support my life, I am also grieving. I am facing loss, re-visiting major life decisions that have brought me to this moment, and attempting to digest the greater symbolisms of this move.
As I’ve been navigating my own journey, many insights are popping through. Below are a few supportive nuggets of wisdom that surfaced for me in the midst of my own major transition this past month, may they support you wherever you find yourself in the great landscape of this wild human journey.
Look deeper to understand the root of your experience
Transitions of any sort have the power to bring up material related not only to the current transition that you’re in, but previous transitions from your life as well. Transitions are nuanced and even those that are connected to a positive life event, such as a move, have the power to conjure a well of deep emotion and reflection. As I’ve been making this move into our new home, a lot of childhood and existential material has gotten kicked up. Although much of it has been uncomfortable, I am grateful for my sensitivity and how these big life moments remind me of the impermanence of life and how precious the unfolding of these various life stages can be.
Tell the truth to those you love and trust
In the age of social media it can be easy to get trapped in the impulse to gloss over the grit that is often involved with any major transition. We are all inundated with bitesize (and often two dimensional) life updates from friends, family and acquaintances. When we see the announcement of someone’s handsome new partner, the sparkly and shiny new house or the perfectly swaddled and sleeping baby, or anything in between, it can be tempting to get jealous or make up assumptions about what someone else’s life is like, particularly if we’re feeling downtrodden or inadequate within the privacy of our own lives.
Ultimately, what is way more powerful and fulfilling than how many likes or comments you or someone else may get is being able to share the full spectrum truth with those that you love and trust. Sitting down with a loved one or finding them on the phone to let the tears flow or the celebrations fly high can support us to digest the reality of whatever sea change we are undergoing in our personal lives. Letting ourselves be known in the darkness as well as in the light creates bonds and connections that bolster us and amplify the richness of life.
Make space for emotions while remaining committed to logistical and structural demands
So much of the culture at large is persuading us as women away from our feelings and emotional intelligence. As a result of this imbalance, more and more women are learning how to prioritize their feelings. Overall, I am in full support of this and believe it is healthier for everyone when we do not deny or suppress our emotions.
One of the potential shadows of embracing our emotions, however, is that we can also go too far in the other direction and get swallowed and paralyzed in our emotionality. The impact of this can at times be just as disruptive to our bodies, minds and souls as suppressing our emotions. Determining right relationship to our emotions is a deeply personal assessment that needs to be made on an individual basis and truly there is no formula. One situation may require much more focus on emotional process than another and no two people are the same. Particularly when a major life change requires our attention and energy on the logistical level, it can be quite empowering and confidence building to fully engage with the tasks and to-do’s during the day, and allow space for the emotions to flow at night.
This oscillation between feeling and doing, expansion and contraction is ultimately how we give birth to new conditions in our lives, no matter what they might be.
So as we all gradually make our way into 2017, I want to encourage you to be kind to yourself as you make space for whatever transitions this new year might be bringing your way.
Remember, there is no rush. All is happening and unfolding in its own perfect time.