“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.” Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
How do you feel about transitions? Does the uncertainty about the future disturb you or fill you with anticipation?
Autumn slipped in when I wasn’t looking. Suddenly there was a tree along the highway that had turned red and yellow and began dropping leaves when all the other trees remained green and lush. Soon a few older brown leaves that had clung to the oaks all summer began to fall, and some of the grass in the yard started dying.
Life May Grow Out of Endings
On the other hand, the side of the yard that was recently dug up to replace a drainage pipe has been reseeded and underneath the straw is growing new grass, an interesting contrast to harvest time. These contrasts in nature are a reminder that, we may find life where there seems to be death and death where we thought there was life.
As soon as I graduated from college, I married, and two years later, my husband came home and announced he did not want to be married any longer. I was utterly shocked. The thought of losing him felt like death. As it turned out, he didn’t leave then, and we managed to keep the marriage together for another eight years of turmoil. When it finally ended, it still felt like death.
But out of that death, I found a new life—one in which I learned how to take care of myself so that I could make decisions from a position of confidence and choose to pursue an independent life. As I felt more empowered, I no longer felt desperate to find another husband. I was creating a life I liked and would only consider relationships with people who respected who I really was.
An Ending May Lead To A More Spiritual Life
Because of the economic changes in our society, many people have had to give up the life they led and adapt to a less extravagant way of living. Others, who lived moderately, have had to pare down to the absolute essentials. It is not easy to let go of what we considered the comforts of life, but it can lead us to something else of value.
When we can spend less money on things, perhaps we will spend more time with loved ones and also have the time to look within and develop our spiritual lives. When we have nothing to lose, we may find the courage to follow our passions: create art, open a restaurant, teach in a foreign country or become a hospice volunteer. Endings can be the beginnings of a new life.
Years ago, when I taught drama in New Mexico, my students wrote a play “The End Is the Beginning.” It was about some teens who made harmful decisions like getting pregnant and being involved with drugs, but in the end, they realized they had to change, and each chose to create a positive life. I hope their characters were role models.
Transitions Are Rites Of Passage
Resisting the changes we can’t control is futile. Finding a pleasure in the new will always make the transition easier. Often the transition is a rite of passage following a major change that forces us to shift how we think about our lives. When I had to stop teaching modern dance because of knee problems, I realized that far too much of my identity was bound up in being a dancer. It took time for me to accept that my real identity had little to do with the specific thing I did.
This transition was not easy. I felt like a ship adrift at sea. Over time, I began to see that creativity was a large part of who I was and that I was creative in many areas of my life: decorating my apartment, handling my finances, teaching English, and solving life’s problems.
My creativity was not limited to dance, and as I explored my creative nature, I looked deeper into the source of my creativity, realizing it was connected to my spiritual core.
It was then that I began to explore how to grow spiritually by reading, studying new philosophies and spiritual practices that would allow me to change in the ways I wanted to change. What had once felt like the death of a part of me became a passage through which I found a richer life. I would always be grateful I was a dancer, but it no longer defined me.
Spirit Is Always There To Guide Us
Transitions often frighten us because we can’t yet see what will replace what we have lost, but we have to learn to trust ourselves and know that we will be guided in the right direction. When we have a spiritual life, we know that there is guidance beyond what is apparent on this earthly plane. We can go within, release our fear, and allow Spirit to guide us to the next step. Every change in life is an opportunity to expand and that is why we are here.
How has a transition led to a positive change in your life? Please comment.
© 2013 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5
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