Never is that more apparent than during major shifts from one phase of life to another.
As any preschool teacher will tell you, transitions are the most difficult part of the school day. Children are often reluctant to leave their parents in the morning and then resist going home in the afternoon.
We’re all a bit like that. Transition time throws us out of sync with what has become familiar, and we don’t like it. We may gaze at the ocean for inspiration, but when the random waves of endings come upon us, we are faced with a choice of resisting as humans are wont to do, or responding as nature demonstrates quite vividly.
For example, every wave that reaches shore molds that bit of beach to its own liking. Sand shifts. Seaweed floats. Tiny creatures above and below the surface appear or disappear. Then another wave arrives, creating the need for more adjustment. And the beach responds.
Even welcome transitions can be disruptive—challenging our sense of self, which is always the first casualty when we are asked to stretch out of the familiar. Graduations, promotions, retirements, relocations, new relationships or new babies. Every single point of growth means leaving behind who we were in favor of stepping into the possibility of a different aspect of self—yet to be discovered.
New life is conceived in the dark. Even with the lights on, the moment of germination is hidden from our eyes. And so we must trust the darkness of the Unknown to nurture the new identity we pray will emerge from the destruction of life as we have known it.
My personal experience with loss—as well as my years of working with hundreds of people who were going through major life transitions—convinces me that people who already have some kind of creative outlet before experiencing dramatic life changes seem to navigate the waves of transition more easily than others.
I suspect one reason is their familiarity with this statement:
Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.
Innovators, artists, and entrepreneurs all understand the dance of destruction and creation. Something of the old must pass away for the new to emerge.
So when you begin to feel yourself being overwhelmed by the waves of change that are inundating your former life, focus your attention on making something. The key is for that “something” to come straight from the emotions swirling around inside you.
Let the ocean of emotion carry you into pure expression without judgment. Paint, sing, write, dance, draw, sculpt, build, pound nails, cook, or clean house. Whatever you are prompted to do, let yourself move into, with, and through the feeling of being out of sync. Get into the Middle of Nowhere and allow the creative flow to reveal the bright new tomorrow I call “The Beautiful Now Here.”
Forging a new identity from the leavings of the old is one of the most intimate, rewarding, and rejuvenating activities in a human life. The inevitable loss that takes place in transition can be very isolating. But it is that quiet place of seclusion where we find our most resilient inner self.
We begin with an idea and—as Picasso also said—it becomes something else. In this case, we begin with an idea of who we were. And in the process of allowing our deepest feelings to creatively express themselves, we become that “something else” that is resilient. Now transformed, renewed, and able to ride even more dramatic waves that are sure to appear at some point on a new tide.
Loving Your Way Through Loss
Let Wise Grief Call You to “Let Go & Let God”
A Miracle in Kildare
Rising from the Ashes of Endings
Engaging Life’s Transitions
Riding the Waves of Life’s Big Shifts
The Water and the Flame
The Challenge of Being a Catalyst
A Beautiful Grief: Reflections on Letting Go – The Book
Cheryl Eckl reads the opening chapter: “The Music of What’s Happening”
Behind the Books: Cheryl tells the story of A Beautiful Grief & A Beautiful Death
Copyright © 2017 Cheryl Eckl and CherylEckl.com. All rights reserved.