How delighted I am that yesterday was the first day of spring. There’s nothing like the changing seasons to remind us of the stages and phases of life. As we move into the final stages of releasing our Peace Centre and a couple of other changes close on the horizon, my mind has been filled with thoughts about managing change effectively.
My good friend Jill Brocklehurst, Spiritual Director of the Centre for Inspired Living in Campbell River, wrote an excellent post on change. I can’t say it any better than her, so I thought I’d share parts of her recent article.
I read a book called Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age by Bruce Feiler. He says life is a river of experiences. It is non-linear. Although we are conditioned to think that there is a linear flow to life, linearity is an apparition made of artificial constructs. Each life is unique and is filled with story.
One such story is the story of our now-former building at 516 S. Dogwood St. It was constructed in 1992 and run by the Elks Club. It had a bar, horse race betting and darts. And then the Elks dissolved. That time was over. There must have been those that held on and didn’t want it to end, however, for the building had started to show signs of a LONG goodbye.
Then we came along, the Centre for Inspired Living, and we started a new story. Our so-called “messy middle” was messy… REALLY MESSY… as we had lots of clean up, and so many renovations to do. After the mess of transition, though, there was flow, once again… the building adjusted, it breathed life and welcomed fresh possibility… until the day came when it was OUR time to say goodbye.
In his book, Bruce Feiler notes that there are 3 main stages of life, that we live in any order, and in any combination. He also cautions that we can stay too long in any of the 3 phases. Here are the three stages:
Feiler’s book suggests that the effects of getting stuck are what happen when we misplace the plot of our own story… That story isn’t just a part of us, IT IS US… at least, it is what we believe about who we are.
But what happens when we lose the plot of our own personal story? We can feel lost or hopeless, or like we are somehow doing life ‘wrong’. We hold on too long. We are afraid of what might be next, or we can’t even picture it. The solution is to go within.
A long, long time ago humans use to live lives ruled by the seasons. We were people of the land; living off the Earth, in tune with the cycles of nature which, although cyclical, are not necessarily linear… there is always motion and change, highs and lows. I want to normalize non-linearity; remembering that Life doesn’t have a beginning where it is robust, followed by a peak at “middle age” and then all going downhill from there. Life is always simply what we are living right now…. It is not what we expect it to be…. It is what it IS! There is no such thing as ‘supposed to be’.
Bruce Feiler did the math and, after his research, concluded that we all experience many disrupters and minor interruptions to our daily lines of living. In fact, his claim is that we all will experience 3 to 5 “Life Quakes” in our times, as well; larger, more transitional life changes or shifts. Each Life Quake, he estimates, may last 4 to 5 years. Given these numbers, we will spend about half our adult lives in transition. That is something worth giving some thought to, as you consider how your life is unfolding. It is also worth remembering that, though all may cause “disruptions” to our anticipated directions in Life, not all transitions are negative events. Some are even voluntary…
There is a Creative Principle of Life working through us. But, when we hold on at any stage where Life urges us to transition, we restrict Flow and thus, we prepare the ground for disharmony. This is, often, when “disrupters” show up, assisting us in moving along our path (whether we feel ready for it yet or not).
What a wonderful ride we are on! We are writing our own stories by deciding how we show up in every moment of every day. And through it all, we are offered profound opportunities to tune into our inner compasses and listen to the inner callings that direct us towards our ever-expanding Good.
As mystics throughout the ages have talked of, I too, know there is an inherent harmony of the Universe… of this planet, of humanity. I also know that, as we wake up to our own inner guidance, we become part of a new story, a new way of being together on this great, non-linear path of Creation.
I cannot control the outcome of all Life. Nor can anyone else. BUT, when we fully let go into the realm of Possibility, we ‘free-fall’ to our greatest heights! We may feel we are separate from others on the journey, but the truth is, though we each have our own unique creative spark, we do this not alone, but together!
Thank you Rev. Jill! I couldn’t have said it any better! Thank you so much for allowing me to share your wisdom today!
“Life is one big transition.”
— Willie Stargell
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