I had coffee with a friend recently who is in the middle of a Major Life Renovation. She has gone from a known life and full home to an existence in flux and an empty apartment.
I did a lot of listening.
And I left her with three pieces of advice for a life in transition:
One – Plant Your Seed
When you take the leap from one life to a new one, it is so easy to focus on what is left behind rather than embrace the possibilities for the future.
I felt this acutely in my early months. I had gone from a home (not to mention a husband and dogs) to a spare bedroom in a friend’s house. It was exactly what I needed at the time, yet I knew that it was only temporary and I struggled to imagine the next step. Let alone how in the world I would ever have enough money or strength to take it.
One Saturday afternoon, I wandered through some stores trying to keep the loneliness and uncertainty at bay. I found myself inside Cost Plus World Market, where my eye was drawn immediately to a brightly-colored and patterned throw. I slid off the ribbons that were holding it bound into a neat square and flung the fabric over a nearby chair. I stood there for what seemed like half the afternoon, looking at the colors and running the woven blanket through my fingers.
It was a throw that would have been vetoed by my couldn’t-be-ex-soon-enough husband. And maybe that was part of why I felt myself drawn to it. But I think there was more to it. The colors spoke of life. Of energy. The pattern was wild and a little unpredictable. That blanket was the seed that I wanted my life to grow into.
That day, I spent $60 I didn’t have at the time to buy a throw that I had no place for at the time.
Eight months later, I moved into my first apartment and the throw found a home on the sofa after inspiring the color choices for the art.
And now that blanket sits in my meditation nook, where I use it to cover myself as I sit in gratitude for the life it hatched.
Find your seed. Your inspiration. Plant it. Nurture it.
And let it grow.
Two – Be a Student of Life
I love the saying that life is the hardest teacher you’ll ever have – she gives the test first and only then provides the lesson.
Transitions are tests. Often very difficult tests. It’s easy to become so concerned about passing that we lose sight of the bigger picture.
With everything changing around you, your view can become me-centric, everything else simply orbiting around.
Take a deep breath. Take a step back. And take a quick read. One little book. Four little ideas.
One enormous lesson.
Three – Savor the Moment
Those moments between are special. While in transition, it’s easy to yearn for stability and certainty. Those will come again before you know and along with them, the fear of change and risk. There is a freedom in not knowing what comes next. The lack of expectation is a gift. Enjoy it.
I like to compare those times of metamorphosis with a freshly-fallen snow before any prints have been pressed into its surface. It’s cold. It may even be inhospitable, hiding dangerous terrain beneath its gloss. Yet it is also beautiful in its unblemished purity.
Enjoy the possibilities. Enjoy the unknown. Enjoy the open canvas ready for you to paint your new life.
Before you know it, this time will be over. A mere memory. One chapter in a life full of stories.