I want to talk about transitions today, because I'm going through a couple big ones right now, and because so many of the men and women I've supported have found themselves facing a crossroads in their lives or careers and sought support for navigating these tricky waters.
I've learned something new, or deeper, these last few months. It's about Trust, Patience and Surrender.
These "softer" skills are the hardest to cultivate - and the most undervalued.
Many years ago when I decided to quit my job in finance because I wasn't fulfilled, I had no idea how to find work I truly loved.
I was lost and confused.
This is the part of the journey when, according to Joseph Campbell, what formerly was meaningful becomes "strangely emptied of value." The old way of being is no longer a fit.
But how can one find that next step? The new way of being?
Right now, I'm going through some big transitions. I've been feeling creatively stagnant with my work, and can tell something new wants to come through me but don't know what. My business partner is moving. And I'm also 7 months pregnant and preparing for a new life in our family.
I feel like I'm on shifting sands. Leaving some old ways of being, but not yet on the solid ground of the new status quo. Work and family are both in flux.
I recently heard a quote that perfectly describes how it feels when we're ready to leave one thing behind, whether it's a job, a relationship or some other area of our life, and we haven't quite stepped into the next thing yet;
"They say when one door closes, another one opens....but the hallways are a bitch."
I love this line. Not only because it's funny (if you aren't offended by the language), but because it's such a profound truth.
Being stuck in the hallway is, I believe, the hardest part of the journey and where most people get lost.
It's a very scary place to hang out. It's tempting to quickly attach ourselves to the next opportunity. To avoid the vulnerable, uncertain space in between....the unknown.
But if you jump into the next thing too quickly, you'll miss a crucial step.
You'll miss an opportunity for healing and growth. And you may miss the unfolding of your soul's true path.
Sometimes we need to hang out in a hallway for a little while in order to find the door we really want to walk through.
When you're in the hallway, everyone wants to know what door you're going through next.
It takes so much courage to pursue this uncertain step in the journey, especially because those around you will start to ask; "what are you gonna do next?"
We all want to have a plan, to be able to explain ourselves to others. And yet, sometimes you can't. Or it's better that you don't. I've found that practicing Patience, Trust and Surrender is key in these moments.
Allow yourself to be in No-thing until you find your something.
For me, the level of Surrender that's required to be in no-thing is MUCH scarier than attaching myself to some certainty, some plan, some course of action. I'd rather do almost anything than simply be in Surrender. And I've now realized that in moments like these, Surrendering to the unknown is the most courageous thing I can do.
We all reach a crossroads at some point in our lives.
For some of us, this moment is forced upon us due to life circumstances; illness, death of a loved one, moving, a new baby, some big change will often jolt us awake to what we really want. And sometimes, we create a crisis by deciding we can no longer abide by the status quo. We hit a wall, and realize we can't go on the same way.
When you're at a crossroads, practice Patience, Trust and Surrender. And make a Commitment.
Many years ago, I Committed to quit my job in finance and spend six months following my heart and my intuition, even though I didn't know exactly what that meant or how to do it. I decided if I didn't find work I loved after six months, I could always go back to a more traditional job.
At the time, I felt like I was jumping off a cliff.
Now I see that what I was really doing was committing to hang out in the hallway until the door I truly wanted opened up.
It was one of the scariest things I've ever done, and it was also the best decision I've ever made.
I discovered what I wanted to do next in less time than I would've predicted. And yet I had no certainty it would unfold that way when I took the leap of faith. I had to Trust, be Patient and Surrender to the process. And stay Committed to my goal of finding work I love.
Now it's up to you.
Even if you don't have all the answers today, can you Trust that the process will unfold for you? Can you Surrender to the hallway and be patient until you find the door you're really looking for?
Everyone's path is different.
Only you know what would push the boundaries of what's possible for you. You can play it safe and do what you think everyone else expects, or trust yourself and surrender to your deeper truth, however it wants to unfold. It's up to you.
Trust is built over time. Patience is a practice. Surrender isn't easy.
Just remember that it's ok if these things don't come naturally, especially in the beginning. I want you to know that I see your courage with each moment of surrender, and I'm celebrating you. And for those dark moments on the path when you feel alone or scared, please know I'm with you in spirit. You're never alone.
I'm sending you lots of love and compassion during your own moments of transition.
One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice…
- Mary Oliver