You’ve reached a career dead-end, how do you make a job transition? Your heart was broken into a million pieces, how do you survive the days ahead? You’re migrating into another country, how do you face the challenges before you? How do you survive the transition?
Surviving difficult life transitions is one of the most important things we need to know if we desire to live a full and meaningful life. We may not have noticed it, but transition follows us the moment we were born ’til the moment we die. First, we make the transition from childhood to adolescence, from adolescence to adulthood. Then we make the transition from single life to married life, from an active career into retirement.. In between are many other difficult transitions challenging us, sometimes ripping our very hearts apart that we know not how on earth we’re ever going to survive.
How do we survive a sickness and achieve healing? How do we gain wisdom and grow from our immaturity? How are we ever going to rise from our poverty into abundance? From brokenness into wholeness? From darkness to light? From death to eternal life?
What is transition anyways? How do we survive difficult transitions in our life?
TRANSITION is CHANGE. It is a transformation we undergo in order to reach a desired end. In some cultures, it is also called a rite of passage, such as when a male passes from boyhood into manhood and accepts all the powers and responsbilities attributed to his new social position.
Transition is therefore stepping into another level, into another world where we are not so familiar with, where we may not yet be equipped to enter. Transition is that difficult process we make in order to CROSS OVER in that OTHER WORLD.
Following are several things you may find useful in assisting you in the many life transitions you may undergo. I cannot guarantee its completeness nor can I be able to summarize it in 3 easy steps in a way many “how to” articles are done. Transition after all, is not a simple process, and everybody deserves to receive as much assistance as one could possibly get.
1. Understand what’s happening
Before you could go on to any other point or desired end, you must first be able to know what’s really going on at the moment.
What’s taking place at the moment? Why is it taking place? What’s making the situation difficult? Is what you’re going through a natural process that cannot be avoided? If it isn’t, what are the alternatives?
Are you broken hearted from the separation or passing away of a loved one? Surely, you did not intend any of it to happen, but it happened anyway, and the only road that lies before you is the road of healing and recovery from your pain.
Are you frustrated at your current job and planning to move on to the next? Maybe you can first ask yourself why you’re frustrated in the first place. What’s causing your frustration? A grumpy boss perhaps? A jealous officemate? What are your alternative causes of action? Will it be an outright move into another career? Will it only be a change from one company to another? Is there any possible improvement if you should study further and acquire more relevant skills to the position?
Understand what’s going on right where you are. Transition is not a mere EXCUSE or a means of escape from somewhere you’re frustrated to be (even if we do feel it like that!). In fact, transition is the ability to CONNECT TWO different planes of reality.
Transition is the MASTERY of TWO WORLDS and achieving “balance” in the process, said balance being the point where the different forces of the Universe seem to converge and fall into their proper places, creating MIRACLES along the way.
Transition is mastery. And to be able to achieve mastery, you must be able to understand what is taking place at the present moment, right where you are.
2. Accept the Difficulty
It is not enough that one undestands what’s going on. One must also ACCEPT “what is” in order to move on to “what there can be”.
You are in poverty perhaps, and I cannot say that where you presently are is a comfortable place to be, it surely isn’t! So why am I talking about acceptance here?
Please do note however that when I say acceptance, I do not mean that one accepts his situation forever. If that were the case, there would be no transition, and nothing else pertaining to change remains to be discussed. When I talk about acceptance, I mean to talk about accepting one’s present condition “for the present moment”. I do not even speak of one whole day, just the present hour, the moment where one is.
“But why the necessity for this?” you may ask. “Aren’t we trying to change because we are not happy where we are in the first place?”
You have a point in there, yet as much as we’d like to achieve change the soonest time possible, we cannot deny the truth in the present circumstance of our life, that point where we want to start our journey towards change.
Understand also that I do not instruct that anyone should be “happy” at this point. One must only accept the present situation where one is and be willing to face its difficulties.
The significance of this step is this: If one would not be willing to accept the difficulty of the moment, one would be DENYING the truth of his present situation. One who denies the truth cannot go anywhere because he cannot face anything, starting from the many difficulties one already has where one is.
Accepting the difficulty in one’s present condition also prepares you to face the other challenges that are sure to come your way when in the process of transition. If you cannot accept your present difficulty, how much more could you not accept the uncertainties and difficulties in the road ahead?
In addition, not accepting your current situation tells that you are exerting much effort at resisting it, resisting something you cannot really change “for now”. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to use that energy instead in devising a feasible plan rather than resisting what already exists? Surrender is a mighty powerful word. It is that calm we see in the eyes of those who though still suffering, are letting go of the urge to fight the unalterable. It is the calm we see in the those whose days are already numbered by a dreaded disease yet still having the zest to live and make the most of each day given them.
Acceptance is the shortest path one can take towards peace. This may be hard truth to chew, but it is possible to have peace even in the midst of difficulties, it is possible to have peace even in the midst of your most painful tears.
That peace is needed in order to have a stable ground with which to start from. Otherwise, we shall only be driven by fear, or anger, or any other strong emotion that clouds our minds and prevents us from seeing things for what they really are. Peace brings us closer to our true nature and restores our connection with our Eternal Source. Seek peace therefore through acceptance.
He who cannot accept his present affliction is bound to live with the thing he resists the most; he who can befriend even his most terrible pain is one who can turn it around and transmute even curses into GIFTS of power and healing.
3. Let your difficulties strengthen you
One other thing your acceptance of your difficulties brought you is the ability to be able to use your difficulties in order to strengthen you and propel you in your transition. Had you denied them, you wouldn’t have even admitted their existence, more so, studied them to be of use to you in your transition. But how could it be so?
Many times, the difficulties we encounter at present signify to us some weakness we must overcome in order to proceed to the next level we’re looking for.
For instance, you may wish to be a businessman and acquire wealth so you can be of service to many people. At present however, you don’t have much materially, and your difficulty at present is in making both ends meet with your low budget. Maybe you don’t want to experience that difficulty anymore. You just want to be that wealthy businessman who knows all the tricks of the trade to make money at the right place and at the right time. But the fact is, your difficulty in budgeting your expenses may not necessarily disappear the moment you become rich. The fact is, your difficulty may even be amplified as you try to budget not only your own expenses, but the expenses of an entire Corporation that you own! Now how is that?
I am not saying that everyone who can’t come up with a feasible budget from a limited source of income do not have financial skills. But it can be one of your difficulties. At the same time, it can also be one skill you can learn from, a skill that may yet be able to help you achieve your highest dreams.
In order to proceed somewhere, we’ve got to start from where we are and use what we have. You cannot start with nothing. Everything that’s ever been created proceeded from something else. Such is the law of physics that says energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can only be transformed.
What do you have at the moment? Your disappointments? Your tears? Your poverty? Use it and let God help you in transforming it to joy, to abundance, to victory. Remember that even a mighty oak tree wasn’t always the majestic tree it is today, it started from a puny little seed that unleashed its potential, kept its ground, and allowed the nutrients of nature to take its course and create a great miracle.
4. Let a compelling vision propel you
Oftentimes, carrying our crosses is not our main problem. Our main problem is the lack of heaven in our minds with which to strengthen us in carrying our cross!
Have a compelling reason for you to undergo transition, something that is beyond moving away from the negative things you wish to leave behind. Think of what you desire to achieve. Think of the people that will be happy, think of the joy in their eyes. Without said vision, you’ll just be going around in circles not ever landing to where you truly desire to be. In my article “How do you carry your cross”, I’ve mentioned how Jesus urged us to “follow him” as we take up our cross. Our real goal is not to take up our cross, it is to follow Jesus himself! If you are not enthralled by his glory, if you are not captivated by his beauty and his light, will it be any wonder if you will always complain of how heavy the cross you’re carrying is?
5. Devise a plan and make it flexible
Once you were able to calm down and assess the situation where you are, it is time to devise a workable plan to guide you along the way. Don’t edit your plans so much at the start, but rather, gather as much information and possible strategies as you can. This would be especially helpful as you would have a vast resource available for you, back up plans you can avail of whenever your chose plan does not work out as you expected it to. This would in turn free you from ATTACHMENT to one plan, which more often than not contributes to unnecesary pressure and stress. When I planned for financial freedom and opened a coffee shop of my own, I was glad I didn’t resign from my day job. If I did, and I didn’t know I would go broke then, I would have had nothing to fall back into when all my hard earned earnings were suddenly swept away.
6. Accept that there will be temporary setbacks
No matter how far you have moved on in your journey, there will be times when you fall back or trip over a little bit. Accept that there will be temporary setbacks along the way, but don’t think that just because you encounter them, you cannot make progress anymore. Treat them instead as periods of rest or reflection, of assessing what you have already done, and where you’re really headed. Oftentimes, setbacks are like mirrors reflecting to us an image of what has been happening. It is an indicator and a warning signal that something’s been happening and if you continue on your path now, you’d surely be going further in your chosen path. It’s asking us if we’re sure we want to continue in such a path. It’s giving us the time to assess if we’d like to make last minute changes and move on to another direction.
Have you been broken hearted and felt you’ve already recovered? Then, just when you thought you’ve finally made it through, a painful memory suddenly slips in and brings back every hurt you felt before. Does it mean you haven’t been healed? Does it mean all your efforts at moving on have just been wasted? Of course not!
What it could mean is that not every wound had been patched yet, not every hurt healed. Healing often comes in seasons, one painful memory at a time. If it were not so, we might have been overwhelmed, and we could have seen no point in trying to move on. The next set of healing comes when you have recovered enough, when you have gained enough strength to make it through the difficult process of letting go.
Think of it this way. If you were diagnosed with cancerous tumors and scheduled for chemotherapy, can you survive it if such a therapy is given you in a non-stop manner until every cancerous cell in your body had been wiped out? Those cells may be killed indeed, but so will you!
7. Enjoy the journey
There are transitions we can better enjoy than other kinds. A move into a new country is one. Getting married is another. We usually don’t complain about it but celebrate all the excitement it brings.
Other transitions are more difficult. Losing a loved one for instance, or retiring and losing a job you’ve held for more than half your life. Yet even in these times, know that there are moments you can claim as your very own.
When a boyfriend has betrayed you for someone you believe is not half as beautiful as you are, what do you do? You cry your heart out of course! You cry for the hurt it caused you and for the disgust you feel for the girl he replaced you with. And what do your family and friends usually do? They stay beside you and support you and would do almost anything you tell them too! Now, you’re getting it. People are kinder, they bring you gifts, they treat you to a new movie, they cook dinner for you, they let you win card games when you have pajama parties in your room since you can’t sleep.
Quite often, we don’t notice it and remember it only when it’s too late! One by one your friend excuses herself, a meeting has come up, or a pet has been too sick to be left alone. They notice you’re improving and can now fend for yourself. Bad times are over, but so are all the fun things you could have done with them while you were the one in charge!
8. Don’t make big leaps without sufficient confidence or resources
One mistake I’ve noticed people usually do is to make great leaps of faith when their faith is not so great yet to support their leaps. It is true that faith can indeed move mountains. It is true that whatever you set your mind on to you can achieve. It is true that envisioning your dreams would bring you in closer vibration to making them come true. But whoever said that it is also true for all of us – now?
Some of us are not yet prepared. Many have not yet truly believed. That’s why when things don’t immediately happen as suspected, almost everybody who talked aloud just a while ago departs slowly unto oblivion, blaming everybody else for leading them on to illusions they can never possess.
We build our confidence thru various seasons of testing and strengthening, not in a single instant of jumping in what’s fad. There are many gurus and more gurus to tell you what you want to hear, but remember that in the end, it is you who will live the life that you create. I believe there is a Chinese saying that goes like this – teachers can only open the door for you, but you walk in that door alone.
Don’t walk that door scared and startled. Walk in there with enough confidence that can match the challenges before you in your next step. For goodness’ sake, test the waters with your toe and not your whole body!
Are you trying to seek financial freedom by engaging in a business? Test it first on a small scale and see if there is any market for the product you’re selling. Be wary of get-rich schemes. More often than not, they are get-broke-quick schemes driven to take away what little capital you have that you could have invested wisely somewhere else.
Take intermediary steps that can help you proceed to the next level. When I was younger, I didn’t know how I could help my family financially. We were poor, we had no connections, we have no rich relatives that can help lift us up. The only way I worked my way thru was having a good education. One small step at a time, I was able to graduate from an elementary public school. In highschool, I was able to get a scholarship. The same thing with college where the country’s biggest auditing firm had me as their scholar until I took my board exams. It was not easy, but I’ve made progress and built my confidence from each achievement that came my way.
9. Keep what’s important, forget it not
Moving on does not mean letting go of everything that has happened and that has made you who you are. Being able to transcend into a new being doesn’t mean nullifying the person you were before. You will be a different person, but in many ways, you will still be the same. If you will not, you will be lost as a mist that has quickly vanished in the light of the bright noonday sun.
Keep what is worth keeping, let go what has only been an outer shell you thought were your true essence. Keep the happy memories with the ones you love, with the places you’ve been to. Keep the lessons learned, the wisdom gained, the power and strength and the legacy that has been passed on to you by countless beings that have guided you to be where you are now. Forget them not. Forget not who you are.
10. Accept and celeberate the new
Not many people are willing to accept the new because not many are willing to let go of the old. No matter how broken their old self was, they find it hard to leave it and be made anew. Few men live again because few men are willing to die in order to have new life.
Realize that for something to be created, something has to be destroyed. For one thing to be embraced, another has to be left behind. We cannot serve two masters at the same time. It would not benefit us if we stand always at the fork in the road, never making a choice, never making any mistake, but never making any progress as well, and never being able to live life to the full.
Accept the new and celebrate it. It is the only way you can give honor to the old, by being a better you, the you that could never have been had you always remained scared of seeking out the best that you can be.
Life indeed is a transition. We see it in the passing of each season, in the rising of the sun and in its setting, in the evaporation of raindrops and in its pouring down again unto the sea. Life must transcend for life to thrive. He who chooses not to transcend has already chosen to decay and to die. In that way, nature still wins. For in every death is a new birth, in every ending a beginning waiting to be unleashed.