I was not prepared for my transition. This, even though I saw it coming many months in advance. It didn’t sneak up on me. I certainly thought I was prepared for the change, my retirement from many decades of one type of work.
I wasn’t. And neither are many of you as you face a significant life transition. We are not prepared for the “spell” to be broken. Not ready for the dis-enchantment.
William Bridges, in his book Transitions: Making sense of life changes describes the bewildering result of life transitions. “Separated from the old identity and the old situation or some important aspect of it, a person floats free in a kind of limbo between two worlds. They have discovered that in some sense their world is no longer real. The spell cast by the past on the present has been broken.”
Our old life, pre-transition, had taken on patterns that had become well worn, predictable experiences. Our relationships, calendars, tasks, jobs, joys, fears, and even our sleeping patterns became normalized. It’s like we were living under a spell. Our life was a scripted story.
And then it wasn’t. It all changed.
Life transition is one of the four experiences that cause us to slide into the “valley of bewilderment”. You are climbing the first mountain of life establishing your identity, trying to live the American Dream and suddenly pain happens, you fail miserably, you face disillusionment, or a transition overtakes you. I’ve been writing these past few weeks about those four life crises that will either break you or launch you. I’ve provided links to my past three posts to catch you up. My big idea is that those four watershed moments can make you or break you depending on how you react to them, what you learn from them and how you leverage them for your greatest contribution to the world. Next week I’ll talk further about the fourth crisis of disillusionment.
What transition are you currently in or anticipating? Here are just a few typical life passages:
Graduation. Moving away from home. Getting married. Having a new child. Getting divorced. Leaving a job. Changing a career. Moving to another home. Recovery from injury or illness. Empty nesting. Aging. Death of a spouse. Retirement.
That’s a long list of potential spells that must be broken and a lot of new stories to be written in a lifetime. From one who is currently in such a transition, this is not easy. There have been tears and fears, along with new joys and experiences. And, of course, plenty of head scratching.
But transition, I’m finding, is a great opportunity to rethink and relearn. William Bridges: “The disenchanted person recognizes the old view as sufficient in its time, but insufficient now. The disenchantment experience is the signal that the time has come to look below the surface of what has been thought to be so. It is the sign that you are ready to see and understand more now.”
And I believe that at the core of the new understanding of yourself can be the further unveiling of your calling. Your new enchantment can include a sense of purpose and destiny that transcends your old story.
As it turns out, my new story is to guide you to discover your new story. Why don’t you let me help you do that? I’ll sit with you face to face and show you the future, or you can join others at our upcoming Destiny Workshop and we’ll work through it all together.
The spell is being broken. Your old view is fading. It is time for you to see and understand more. It is time for your new enchantment to begin.