Honoring Life Transitions


Honoring Life Transitions

There are certain times throughout our lives where we start to wonder what is next for us.  Those times can be either viewed as a great blessing to start again, or can be fearful and full of regret missing the days gone by.  For me I have met life transitions with a lot of anguish and hardship.  Change doesn’t always come easy when you don’t know what to expect.  I like to have a sense of control and when that rug is pulled out from under me, it’s easy to just give up.  I have thrown my hands in the air before and figured that life was just too hard.  But then the next day or the next week I get right back in the saddle following my heart.

Life can change anytime something major happens in your life.  Or a transition can begin at a certain age or milestone.  I’ve noticed that every time I move to a new house it is a transition for me that often sends me in a new direction for better or sometimes for worse. 

During a life transition you have a choice.  You can cling to what you have always done and grip tightly to the past, or you can honor that life passage by opening your field of focus to new potentialities and fresh opportunities to start again. 

Allowing passion to guide you during a life transition can be a huge relief and can totally turn your perspective toward those things that bring you joy!

Some of My Transitions 

I’m at a life transition currently because I’m turning 40.  I had a mini mid-life crisis this last couple of years because I turned the focus onto health fears.  I started seeing myself as an older woman and became afraid that I might develop certain conditions as I age.  You might relate if you have reached that age yourself, or if you have ever received a diagnosis from a doctor that felt overwhelming.

I also had a major life transition when I went to college.  I wasn’t prepared to leave home and was fairly naïve as to what to expect out in the world.

Another life transition was when I was diagnosed Bipolar 2.  That was such a shock to my system, and I didn’t handle it with much grace.  It was the start of a downward spiral in my life that leads me saying…if only I knew then what I know now! 

Another one of my major transitions was when I moved back to Des Moines after living in a small town for nearly 15 years.  It felt like culture shock and I was fairly “green” from spending so much time surrounded by nature at a distance from the city.

Each of these transitions were really hard for me as I tried to figure out who I was in relation to entering another stage of my life.  Some of my transitions have been met with more grace than others, and I’m sure you can relate.

Transitions can be hard to navigate, or they can be seen as Rites of Passage.  When you find a way to celebrate the transitions of your life by following your heart where it will lead, transitions suddenly become an adventure and step by step they hallmark a life well lived.

The one given in life is that things will always change.  Right down to the moment, one minute you can be feeling happy and then something happens that throws you off track.  It is how you respond to those changes, big and small, that makes all the difference! 

Rites of Passage

Finding a way to honor transitions turns those times into rites of passage!  There are all kinds of ways that transitions are traditionally celebrated, and not so traditional ways too.  People change their name and take a honeymoon when they get married, they throw parties at milestone birthdays and have celebrations to honor graduations, births of babies and more. 

Sometimes the most memorable, meaningful rites of passage are the ones that you create for yourself.  Some people get a tattoo to commemorate different milestones in their lives.  I got piercings when I turned 18 years old to symbolize freedom and entering into the next phase of life. 

I have a really incredible friend who has been talking about “Life Part 3” for as long as I have known her.  She and her boyfriend have been dating for years, and she has been planning to move in with him for some time.  For her, Life Part 3 has become a rite of passage complete with shifting into a new career and merging households with the man she loves.

My parents recently retired, and their rite of passage was to buy a cabin by the Mississippi River.  For them, stepping into retirement has become a way to finally get more in touch with nature and to find themselves anew, in a new place. 

Finding ways to celebrate and honor life transitions and milestones makes life so meaningful.  Honoring your own transitions and the people you love is a great way to turn what could be a stressful transition into something to be celebrated and cherished.  Honoring rites of passage instead of fearing transition puts you in a place of power.  Suddenly you are claiming responsibility for your life journey and taking hold of the twists and turns that life throws in your path, turning them into something beautiful!

Journal Questions:

1.     Create a list of your major life transitions.  If it felt monumental to you, then it counts.  You will know it was an important event because it would have led to a lot of upheaval or change in your life and the things you did.

2.      How did you handle those transitions?  Looking to the past can help you when you have another major change in life.  Sometimes life throws curve balls however you can change how you relate to events.  It may feel as if things are out of your control when things change but you are always in control of how you react.  Did any of your passions change in direct relation to any life transition? 

3.      What is happening in your life today that you could celebrate?  Are you going through any current transitions that could be seen as rites of passage?  Take time to figure out ways to celebrate!  Claim personal responsibility by honoring the transitions in your life.