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Change & Transition in Life Are About Becoming a Bigger Person
When I lived in Barcelona, a running joke between my friends was that I was spending my days lying in the sun and contemplating life. In truth some days I did, indeed, do just that 😉. Really what my time there was about for me was ‘transition’. I knew I was at a point of big transition in my life and I needed space to navigate that transition.
Some days the desire for space was peaceful; satisfied by a long walk alone. Other days it was more pronounced, an ungrounded feeling that I physically needed more space. A clear memory I have of that time was one weekend thinking ‘Maybe I need a bigger apartment’. To put this in context, I am 158cm in height; a one bed apartment was more than ample during my time there. I didn’t need a bigger apartment, rather I needed to become a bigger person. The discomfort I was feeling was the resistance that comes with growth. Growth taking place in a person who needed to expand more.
When we go through change in life, the struggle to expand is real. Visceral. We feel it deeply in our bodies as fear, anxiety and other uncomfortable emotions arise. Rest assured this is the small container of your old self or ‘ego’ falling away. Your nervous system struggling, shedding what is no longer needs in order to make space for who you are becoming.
In a chapter in his book, Science and Spiritual Practices, Rupert Sheldrake discusses the three stages of initiations and rites of passage. In the first stage, the initial state is removed. Left in a state of transition, we enter the second state the ‘threshold’ state. He notes ‘This threshold state is dangerous and ambiguous’. We all spend time in threshold states in life. During any period of change, we must embrace liminality; that we have stopped being one version of ourselves but have not yet become the next version. This liminal stage is particularly unsettling. Equally it is absolutely necessary. We are learning to sit in uncertainty and not retreat to the former self. To trust that it would pass. Only as we do this over time can the form of our new self fully develop, and the final phase of integration can begin.
What few people advertise is that transformation is painful. There are moments of deep uncertainty, fear and learning to let go. There is no fast-track version. We must all walk through the fire. When you feel the resistance of change or when life feels too small for you; Trust a new version of yourself is incubating and waiting for the right moment to birth. When you have grown enough to be a larger container for your life. When you have become large enough to hold the fullness of who you can be.