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Transitions II: Congratulations to All Graduates

confederation_bridgeTransitions abound at this time of year, there are so many Graduates and marriages and passages to be celebrated and recognized for their achievement.   Recently in my newspaper the list of deaths have been exceedingly long as have the petitions to the court for divorce and this made me feel as though I should just share a word about transitions and the stages we pass through.

Transitions have three distinct parts and they have all the emotions you want to include in the process.

The stages are Endings, Neutral Zones and Beginnings.

ENDINGS are the stopping of one part of your living activities and beginning the steps of moving into the neutral zone.   We celebrate the endings of being single with weddings, the endings of marriage with divorce decrees and the endings of high school with graduation ceremonies and retirement with gold watches and speeches; death with memorials.

THE NEUTRAL ZONE this is the area of just moving forward – towards the beginning.  It might assist you to think that this is a rebound date, or counseling after a divorce to figure out who you are as a single again, the packing for college or a new job, finding an apartment and roommates, the honeymoon, the memorial service, the packing up of items and giving them to a charity, selling a house, and all those things that you do while waiting.  Institutions often call this a brainstorming period of time as they prepare and visualize the changes they need to make.  This period of time can take up to 2 or 3 years.  I just read WALTER’S MUSE which is a book about a teacher retiring and she gave herself a neutral zone summer play before she was going to think about her new life ahead and make plans.

The neutral zone usually ends with a dilemma or a problem resolved
One just recognizes the new beginning

BEGINNINGS This is the point where we step onto our new pathway.  We may step out of the Neutral Zone and still have to try on several distinct trails/trials before we get into full swing; there can be false starts here as one figures out how to work the plan and the reward is the passion one feels when they finally get on their own route to success.   Yes it does happen for some very rapidly and very slowly for others.

Transitions are often visualized as a bridge and that might make it clearer to understand.

College is often just a neutral zone, which might include several job attempts before the career path is revealed.   I have a friend who finished college in Economics and after a couple of years of working in that field was burned out (false starts). Surprise! She had an opportunity to decorate a new sailboat cabin.  She was so passionate about this project she went on to get a Master’s Degree in Design and now designs the living spaces on yachts.   With the economic downturn she was able to predict what was happening and get a part time clerking job to support her design work and not miss out on her life’s pleasure.

In TRANSITIONS one needs to be more open to possibilities, make thoughtful decisions, and Trust what you get.    JUMP decisions are problematic when making big transitions in life, but they can be just the thing if one has done all the work in the neutral zone to make it a cumulative positive transition.

Have you found your passion?  Can you look back and see the stages you went through when you made a life changing transition?

Related Reading:
How we make decisions and change
Trust what you get
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

If you need someone to talk to about a transitions you are making visit us at WiseEars

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12 Responses to “Transitions II: Congratulations to All Graduates”

  1. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. it’s not being stuck in a rut isn’t it – and being prepared to look out and keep an eye out – much as the crow’s nest lookout does .. your friend made some wise choices ..

    Cheers Hilary

    Patricia Reply:

    It is not only not being stuck in a rut, it is absolutely necessary for survival. It babies do not go thru these stages they do not learn to walk and talk. Many folks jump through changes and keep marrying the same type of person over and over again.

    There is often some strong event that happens that draws the person into the beginnings of a new phase.

    I see a number of honeymooners at about 2 years into the marriage experiencing some kind of major dispute and as they work it through There chances for a happy – long journey are increased or become false starts. Too many folks think having a baby is the solution at this point – it can compound the problem rather than relieve it.

  2. Laurie Buchanan Says:

    Patricia – I especially enjoyed the way you broke transition down into three stages.

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you – I want to give credit where credit it due…Dr. William Bridges the author of the Book Transitions is responsible for the three stages not I….just working on reminding people …

    I just read a blog post that called the neutral zone THE VOID – an important part of Law of Attraction work.

    One can even feel a great fatigue in that zone

  3. susan Says:

    Hi Patricia!
    Oh boy, in 65 years I’ve had a dizzying array of transitions! Some of them I welcomed, some not. But alas, I think life is made up of transitions and we are all the better for just going with it.
    susan recently posted..Healing Benefits of GingerMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    Yes lots and lots of transitions in a full life time. It is sometime helpful to recognize the stage of the transition one is in…I am reminding myself…that I was pushing and driving myself to heal a child and care for a dying parent 24/7 and am now in the middle zone and that is why I am feeling like I am having a great many false starts. It helps me to accept how tired I am sometime and not tumble down into a depression…I am on the bridge but still moving forward!

  4. Talon Says:

    So many transitions in life and so many of them are never lauded or applauded and are still so vital.

    Thought provoking, Patricia.

    Congrats to all the Graduates. May your lives unfold in a most delightful way.

    Patricia Reply:

    So many transitions, I am concerned about the folks who think they can control every variable or fear change….better to trust, be informed and go with the flow

    So Many transitions this time of year. I hope the graduates are going to have an okay time of it as the USA is going through such a huge transitions now and big control issues that may crash the Federal Reserve.

  5. Chris Edgar Says:

    Hi Patricia, I was just reflecting on this kind of issue recently — I remember that a friend told me a few years ago that what I was doing at the time might just be a transitional stage before I got involved in music again. I thought that was silly at the time, or maybe I didn’t want to believe it, but in fact that’s exactly what happened.
    Chris Edgar recently posted..Do What You Love And The “Market Research” Will FollowMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    This may just be the quick response but I have always, without fail found hindsight to be 20/20.

    Trying to trust what I get and where I am going and not grow impatient…I am sure I am in a neutral zone right now…can feel the tension of wanting to get on the path.

  6. Liara Covert Says:

    I love to recognize passions can evolve through the seasons and stages of life much like a sense of purpose. In this way, rather than transform events, one is invited to expand and deepen perception. You do not change what is happening around you, only how you feel about things.

    Every moment, one is on the path. There is no wrong path. When you are looking for something other than where you are, you do not allow yourself to savour the moment and all that is abundant here.
    Liara Covert recently posted..Reframe illnessMy Profile

    Patricia Reply:

    I think folks do not understand living and changing much these days and they are just glued to texting, playing games and working on their devises. My three kiddos are very good communicators and yet there they were sitting on the couch beside each other playing a word game on their cellphones – I did get them off the couch to clean out some of their “things” that we are trying not to store anymore…and they went backpacking in the woods for 3 days in Nature….but they are getting to be the exception.

    I also went to a wedding this weekend and saw how much my attitude has changed about the traditional Bride Centric Pageantry. The Conservative Christian movement mixed with Materialism here make this a horrendous life event and feels plastic and unfeeling. I too am racing into other directions these days

    If I can help others to understand they are on a life path, I can often make inroads toward them finding their passion and meaning in their living and beingness
    Patricia recently posted..Ladybugs – a retake as I renewMy Profile