Friday, June 05, 2009

still transitioning?

As I continue to sit in a very transitional place in my life - I wonder are we always in transition? William Bridges in his book, Transitions, says: "Every transition begins with an ending. We have to let go of the old thing before we can pick up the new one - not just outwardly, but inwardly." It feels like I am always letting go of something. Something ending. Something beginning. Some times it is joyful. Other times heartbreaking. Letting go of even the hard stuff is not easy. Welcoming in the good can be terrifying.


Mark Nepo offers a quote that has stayed with me for several days. I am offering it here so my transitional brain might hold onto these thoughts.

I have been broken and have failed so many times that my sense of identity has sprouted and peeled like an onion. But because of this, I have lived more than my share of lives and feel both young and old at once, with a sudden heart that cries just to meet the air. Now, on the other side of all I've suffered so far, everything, from the quick song of birds to the peace trapped inside a fresh brook's gurgle, is rare and uncertain. Now I want to stand naked before every wind; and though I'm still frightened I will break, I somehow know it's all a part - even the fright - of the rhythm of being alive.

Fire needs air to breathe.

Any thoughts from you on transition? Sprouting & peeling? Breath? Shadow & light?

the photo is a treasure from a dear friend in honor of my recent post on shadow & light. thank you!

15 comments:

Barbara said...

To respond to your initial question, I do suspect we are always in transition. I like to think of our lives as an arc. In an arc, we are constantly modifying our direction.

I don't think I get the point of the quote. That's just me, though. Just your basic, dense scientist. If I were to stand naked in the wind, I am sure I would not shatter. I might ripple a bit, though. ;)

hmmbrd said...

great one, Lucy... I mean Kayce. the people we think we are is impermanent. to embrace the idea that change is good albeit painful and that the pain is just a part of living... so freeing! i love the idea of standing naked before every wind.. to let it's breath blow right in and through.. maybe cleaning out junk along the way.

lucy said...

barbara--i am curious about life as an arc. i think of an arc as moving upward, rolling over the top and then heading back down again. my visual is the st. louis arch.

also, not sure i understand the entire quote, but parts of it speak deeply to me like i "feel both you and old at the same time."

hmmbrd--love that last bit of letting the breath blow in and through...and oh, that junk...yikes, there seems to be a lot to be blown out!!

Sue said...

That quote spoke to me so much.

I am in a transitioning time, as always :) It is funny how you feel the euphoria of seeing - or more like blindly feeling where you are going, and yet you still flail around in the quicksand. Even if it is a bad situation, it is still so hard to move on.

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Both quotes from Bridges and Nepo speak to me clearly of transitions. It seems logical (me and my logic) that to begin anew, something old or past has to be gone or no longer valid. I believe I'm beginning my life anew all the time based upon conversation, experience, and everyday living in close proximity to family and to the greater world. Why is it such a surprise to us/me that life is ever changing - some bad, not so bad, some good and some very good! Sprouting and peeling? I must remember to breathe and to share the growing pains of that danged sprouting and peeling and most of all after examining the shadow, I do try to jump back in the light quickly.....although that part's not so easy sometimes:)

xoxox

Barbara said...

That's one way to look at an arc. (I have strong associations with the St. Louis Arch, by the way. I was living there when the final piece joining the two legs was set in place. And when a plane flew beneath the arch!).

Arcs are gentler than arches. Think of a segment of a circle rather than a parabola. The tangent at any point on an arc is different, hence my reference to the direction changing all the time. We struggle up the gentle slope of the arc up to a certain point, whereupon we are able to look toward a goal, and, after a certain point, it is downhill all the way. I mean that things somehow get a little easier.

Is that latter half of the arc what the quote means by standing naked in the wind and yet knowing it's all part of the rhythm of being alive? Maybe. I am not sure.

Like I said, I can't help that I am a prosaic scientist, kind of linear. The images are a tad baroque for me. I am not saying what he says is wrong, though.

Tess said...

I'm going to recycle a quote from popular culture that I used in a comment on another blog a few days ago, because it is so apt in terms of change and transition.

I was watching reruns of the show Angel the other day and something said by the character Lorne stopped me in my tracks so much I had to hit the pause button and write it down:

"It's like a song. I can hold a note for a long time. Eventually that's just noise. It's the change we're listening for, the note coming after and after that. That's what makes it music."

SUNRISE SISTER said...

To Tess's remark - our organ master at church, a professor, skilled musician says something similar to the quote you mentioned. His is - "it's not the missed or sour note that is important but the one that immediately follows it" Being familiar with that quote, I find a new dimension in listening to live music and discover that great musicians seem to make that idea real in their performances. Interesting metaphor for transition. Good subject, Lucy - one we hopefully will engage in healthily to the end of our lives.

differenceayearmakes said...

Transition

It's been my middle name for awhile now.

Kel said...

from my recent experience of being retrenched/laid off, i have learned that transition we orchestrate is always more exciting and easier to bear than transition forced onto us by external circumstances beyond our control

Abbey of the Arts said...

lovely post and gorgeous photo. I think we are always in transition, we're just not always conscious of it. I think this is a lot of what the Benedictine vow of conversion is about -- I like to describe it as always being open to being surprised by God. I think too there is an element of acknowledging that we are always changing and we are to embrace these interior movements as part of the sacred journey.

lucy said...

sue--i just posted today's quote and image and then re-read your comment. take a peak. i think it might speak to you also :-)

SS--i am working hard to make peace with shadow & darkness, since i, too, am one who wants to jump back so quickly to the light. who taught us that dark is so BAD???

barbara--thank you for your added description of "arc". i love how it is put into pieces of the circle. the circle of life makes a lot of sense to me...now i see it with the arcs making up bits and pieces of it.

btw--i love your scientific brain and how it interacts with your playful heart!!

lucy said...

tess--i love that quote!!! it reminds me of when i took a drumming class. she let us know that there are really only a few notes/sounds. it is in the spaces/the rests that the music and rhythm is made. oh my, i may have to go sit with both of those awhile...possibly drumming my way through lectio...how's that christine???

difference--yep, i hear you!!!

kel--i typically would agree with what you have to say although my recent transitions are in great form of my own making, which is probably why i am surprised that they are taking more energy than i might have expected!

i didn't get fired, but knew it was time to move on...and now i sit with that burning desire of what next?


christine--that darn "surprise" and "embracing"!! sometimes i just want to rebel and say "enough"!!! i guess that's not embracing, huh? or can i embrace my rebellion? i'm so glad you're my friend! xoxooxo

thymekeeper said...

As I sit surrounded by boxes waiting to be unpacked, and as I learn my way around a new neighborhood, I'm fully aware of being in transition. And, I feel much like differenceayearmakes, having 'transition' as our middle name for quite a while now. Thanks for sharing these quotes.

I've been without internet service for 2 weeks (part of the transition!) ~ a thymely post for re-entry!

Blessings!

lucy said...

thymekeeper--wishing you space to breathe during your continued time of transition and unpacking of boxes! thanks for taking the thyme to stop by and comment. blessings to you, too.