Transition bridge title

In our life we all encounter transitions… Small ones (holiday in a foreign country), middle ones (change of work) and as well big ones (becoming parent) for example. Not all of us are equal on how we face the transition but knowing the different phase of it can help you deal with it as smoothly as possible and best set your expectation for it.

 

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OLD NORMAL

Solid land beneath our feet. Things are known to us; we are known to others. Life is predictable, comfortable, and familiar.

LEAVING

Begins when we encounter an event or make a decision: graduation, new job, move, marriage, children, loss of job, death. We step onto the bridge with fear and/or excitement. We realize we are leaving our place of comfort. We experience mixed emotions. We enter a season of preparation. This is not the case in every situation though. Sudden loss or disaster doesn’t allow for preparation. Leaving also brings endings. Normal routines are broken, our role/status is changing. This may result in loosening our ties with people, ending commitments and responsibilities. It may also include celebration, but also grief due to goodbyes. Throughout Leaving we may experience a mix of emotions as well.

IN BETWEEN

This stage begins with Chaos when we actually leave our place of comfort and ends at Acceptance when we make the conscious decision to settle into the new place. And there can be a huge gap in between those two that seems like an impossible gap called a Liminal Space. This is “the time between the old reality and sense of identity and the new one.” In Chaos, we may feel like we don’t know who we are, what’s expected of us, and we have no idea what we are doing. We might be exhausted, overwhelmed, indecisive, and out of control. It feels like there is nothing to hold on to.

LIMINAL SPACE

The word liminal comes from the Latin root, limen, which means “threshold.” It is a space that partially sits on both sides of a boundary, not totally in one or the other. It’s a space where you have left something behind, yet you are not yet fully engaged in something else. In the Liminal Space lies an unexpected gift: a chance to step back and look at our life, to examine if the patterns, practices, and relationships that were present in our previous life still serve us well. When we are going through Chaos, it seems like everything is up in the air, which can seem unnerving and confusing, but we can also choose to make the space to reflect and consider what we would like to become or how we would like to behave and what things we would like to subtract from our lives going forward. After a time, which unfortunately can never be predicted, we begin to feel something new stirring. Like a fog gradually lifting, we begin to move out of the Liminal Space. We have come to a place of Acceptance that the old normal is gone and something else is ahead.

ENTERING

We enter into Beginnings as we take the tentative shaky first steps of settling into this new stage. We find new routines and rhythms. We begin to know the places to go, the people who can help us, and start to reach out to others and take some risks. Hopefully, we begin to make new friends and try out new roles. As we feel out this part of Exploration, sometimes those work out, and sometimes we feel like an idiot. We make mistakes and missteps. We can feel lonely and overwhelmed. We really begin to grieve the losses of what was back on the other side of the bridge.

NEW NORMAL - (RE) SETTLED

We have a new normal along with routines, defined roles, solid relationships, new skills, and a settled identity. We feel calm, secure, reflective, wise, and confident. Although we may also experience disappointment that this new phase or place is not what we expected. Overall, we feel like we belong.
Transitions, just like the grief process, is never linear. We often take one step forward and two steps back. This can cause a somewhat messy feeling/experience. You will experience many opposing thoughts and feelings as you cross this bridge. Remind yourself it’s normal to feel both excitement and fear as you step into a new season. It is our expectations (whether we are aware of them or not) that trip us up. We face disappointment, frustrations, discouragement. It is not how we imagine it would be. Take some time to think through your expectations. It’s not just about you. We are all in transition and on the bridge somewhere. You will meet people that are facing their own transition. Keep this in mind when you walk through yours. Walking through transition is met with loss and grief. We tend to ignore pain and pretend it’s not there. Not acknowledging your grief will leave it unresolved. We tend to think that if we admit that something is hard, we are not thankful and excited for the path we are on. We can experience both! Coping tools and skills are important. It is so easy though to deal with transition using coping skills like chocolate, Netflix, exercise, etc. There is nothing wrong with this, however, make sure you stay grounded.
Jessica Morey

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Jessica Morey, …