Greet change with grace. Travel with intention.
Traditional thresholds we cross (birth, marriage and death) are well-marked understood. Before, you were this person. After, you are that person.
Not every life transition is so well mapped. Not every path is so clear. Some passages take a looonnngg time. Some changes are self-propelled, others are foisted upon us.
“Change can come at any time, but transition comes along when one chapter of your life is over and another is waiting in the wings to make its entrance.” ~ William Bridges
A pioneer in the study of transitioning, Bridges means that change is the action, what happens to you. Transition is what you experience. And they don’t usually hold hands and stroll along together.
Many faces of change
Motherhood. Moves. Career shifts. Downsizing. Divorce. Illness. Kids leaving. Aging parents. Retirement. All are journeys. The departure (even when for a positive move) often involves loss and letting go: familiar routines. Ingrained habits. Role identity. Comfortable relationships. There’s a period of wandering in unfamiliar territory. Sometimes the end destination isn’t clear.
It’s human nature during these times to head for safety. We have less control simply because of the unfamiliarity. We don’t want to get stuck. It’s normal to look for quick-fix solutions. We humans prefer neat, predictable patterns. But there aren’t any.
This is unmapped territory, and it’s your journey. Often, the transition requires you to question, to stretch beyond what you already know and to sustain yourself along the way.
Rituals and ceremonies can be both clarifying and empowering in times of transition. They can get you “unstuck”, giving you the sense that you are a “doer” rather than a captive.
You can gain a greater sense of what you really want. To embrace change with more openness and wisdom. To get a sense of your “land ahead” as you navigate uncharted waters. They can help friends understand how to support you along the way.
As you plan and prepare for a ritual event, you gain a greater sense of control. This in itself is empowering.
The value of the ceremonies listed below is often immediately recognized by someone who has already experienced their own transition. Consider gifting a ceremony to someone you love!