Transitions can be fraught with unfamiliar people, activities and unknown expectations. This often gives rise to anxiety, frustration, insecurity, and even sadness. It can be painful and confusing to find yourself suddenly in uncertain, awkward, and confusing situations. It can be disorienting to lose the comfort and solace of the familiar.
Sometimes transitions can be experienced as a temporary diminishment or loss of the self. You no longer feel like the person you were. This experience can be unsettling. Thus, transitional states not only affect what is external to you, it also affects your internal life. If you do not know who you are, if you are not centered in your own being, transitions can be particularly challenging. The transitional process is an opportunity to discover the traces of your authentic self. When you are centered in your being, you can trust—trust yourself, trust others, and trust the universe.
Transitions prepare you for the next chapter of your life. New beginnings are rife with opportunities—opportunities for growth, learning, and exciting new accomplishments. They are opportunities for demonstrating and embodying trust. You trust that you have the strength to persevere and to make the necessary changes. You trust that each new path, filled with enriching experiences, increases your fortitude, strengthens your resolve, enhances your humanity, and contributes to the world at large.
Jean-Pierre de Caussade, a Jesuit priest, likens the turmoil and frustration of a life in transition to a stone that is being sculpted by a mason. The stone suffers repeated blows in order to shape and mold it for its ultimate purpose. The stone doesn’t understand why it is made to suffer, and yet it trusts both the mason and its own purpose:
“I know neither what he is doing nor why, I only know that he is doing what is best and most perfect, and I suffer each cut of the chisel as though it were the best thing for me, even though, to tell the truth, each one is my idea of ruin, destruction and defacement. But, ignoring all this, I rest contented with the present moment.” (The Sacrament of the Present Moment by Jean-Pierre de Caussade).
Although the poor stone is traumatized, it trusts the mason, trusts that being carved into something new is part of its ultimate purpose, and therefore, contentedly awaits the unknown outcome. New beginnings require unwavering faith and inner courage. You rarely know what the future holds; all you know is that you are no longer the way you used to be. However, just like the mason’s stone, you can control your attitude. You can accept, trust, prepare, and grow into your new future. You can rest content with the understanding that you are being forged into something new for a reason.
Without the mason, the stone would remain an ordinary stone. Instead, it is elevated to become an integral part of a magnificent edifice or, perhaps, formed into a stunning piece of sculpture. Without these transitional moments you would never know what you might ultimately become. Life blesses you with transitional challenges and directs you (willingly or unwillingly) to the actualization of your hidden potential. You may find that you are grander than you could have ever envisioned.
Then you will be ready for your next transition…