I was at the opera. It was an open scene, so at the end of act one, the curtains did not close. We watched as a new scene came sliding down from the top. In complete silence, a whole floor of lavish furniture, like what you would see in a palace, appeared. To me, this artistic choice of not using curtains had a message: that the show is not just about what happens during the acts, but also about the time between the acts, which allows the observer to integrate what happened before and what comes next.
For many of us, transition can be a scary word. We are in-between, neither point A nor point B and can feel disoriented.
When I talk to people in transition, I have noticed a tendency to deny the disorientation, very few people would declare: I have no job. I am lonely. I am unsure about the future. I realized that often, we don’t fully embrace the land of being in-between. We tend to try and escape it, asap.
It seems to be socially not acceptable to say: “I don’t know what my next steps will be.” The time in between jobs is seen as a waste of time, and as something that one should overcome as quickly as possible. So, we turn an opportunity to transform into actionism in the attempt to move quickly to something else.
When my business unit was canceled, I had a sense of failure. Even though the choice made sense, and even though the company found other options for me, and even though I was seeking a way to leave and do something new, I felt the fear of not knowing what to do next.
It was only when I embraced the transition, when I dared to be vulnerable and courageous, that I began to see the in-between phase as a remarkable opportunity to find a new me.
It is important to know that not everyone will accept your transition. When I was a few months into my transition, a new teacher, Tomasz, at my yoga center explained to me that, “transition is a phase where we are not actively doing, and where we are okay with that, and okay that other people are not okay with that.”
As a society that values results, being on a path without a clear destination can seem strange to some. But, if we can be compassionate with ourselves in this phase, we allow for unexpected gifts to reveal themselves to us and for transformation to occur. Like the stillness of a pond that belies the life and activity happening below, it is not always possible to measure our inner change by observing external happenings.
As Joseph Campbell says that sometimes the known world sends us messages of completion. Our path, desire, and value system evolve with time. We feel friction when our drives and patterns no longer fit the life we’re living, and this is when change emerges.
Separating from the world I knew was not easy, but I found two things that helped me fully step into this new phase of uncertainty and gracefully navigate through it. One was to welcome what seemed like obstacles as a source of transformation: an unpleasant conversation, a request, a day of non-action. The second was to not be afraid to ask others for help, to tell people what was really going on.
We often come out of a transition when we are prepared to prototype something new, to sense it, and explore it.
Every time we allow ourselves to slow down and be in solitude, we give ourselves the opportunity for new clarity to emerge and to integrate ‘act one’ with what follows. A transition does not always need to be a major one. Actively including those mini-moments into your daily routine can be a healthy practice, that allows you to step back and become present to what matters most.
A few questions on transitions:
- Is there a pattern regarding how you move through transitions in life? What aspects of this pattern serve you at this moment and which do not?
- If you are in transition, take a moment to sit quietly and contemplate the experience of being in transition. What is your level of acceptance regarding your experience?
- What doors are closing? Which are opening?
- How much do you trust yourself to find your way?
- What practices would support you during this time of change?
- Have you asked for support during this time of change?
About the Author:
Rosi is a consultant, advisor, and coach in organizational transformation and systemic change. She partners with executives and their teams on their journey of change integrating a structured approach with creative tools addressing resistance and encouraging new bold action. Rosi brings twenty years of operational experience in the corporate arena, where she had roles in human resources, mergers and acquisitions, and business management. She leads the integration of acquisitions, the launch of new business units, defining the market strategy and offering to client. Born in Italy and living in Switzerland, Rosi has lived and worked in Europe and the US, developing a global profile that has given her the ability to bridge cultures.
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