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The Space Between What Is and What Will Be

April 5, 2016

By Jacinta Hin

Between one moment in life and another we are in transit. Passengers on the way to new destinations, getting ready for what’s ahead. Although seldom easy, these transitional journeys are both unavoidable and essential, providing space and opportunity for renewal and growth.

Whether we’re dealing with a change in circumstances —a new job, the loss of a loved one, the end of a relation, approaching midlife— or transformational change —healing from trauma and pain, making new choices, shifting the dynamics of life— the challenge is the same. How can we manage our time in transition to positive effect, so that we emerge stronger and more firmly grounded in who we are?

We can sleepwalk through our in-between time, hoping for the best. Or we can traverse with awareness and grace. And have a system in place. An attitude, an approach of some sorts.

Here is what works for me:

  1. Embrace anything and everything. In opening up to what is happening, I can face and ultimately let go of whatever is in the way: old pain and grief, crippling feelings, archaic beliefs, memories that hold me back. Furthermore, in the absence of resistance, I am able to look at myself differently. And allow budding thoughts and crazy ideas the time and opportunity to be explored.
  2. Radical Acceptance, as in radically accepting myself. I like to believe there is a purpose behind the turmoil and madness of endings, middles and new beginnings, namely the opportunity to return to our pure and whole selves.
  3. Be Playful and see the Magic. When I take life too serious, the journey of change becomes dreadful and cumbersome. But when I wake up my inner child, and ask her to be my companion on the ride, the horizon immediately brightens. My transitional space becomes a playground. I see fairies and angels pushing and pulling me along. Ideas pop up like spring flowers in fast-forward motion. Also this: the child in me reminds me of who I am. I owe it to her to thrive and not give up when the going gets tough.
  4. Honesty is the only way out and forwards. To be honest, I struggle with honesty. By nature, I am private and non-confrontational. I find it difficult to talk about and act on my real feelings. But when something in my life is not working well, I have to be honest with myself and also with others. Otherwise, how can I change anything?
  5. Carefully chosen Words and Phrases that inspire and give direction. I always start the year with a handful of them. I may be adding more, as I progress from month to month. My current favourites? Go deep. Be bold. Have courage. Keep going. Begin again. Forgive. Let it go. Have fun.

Mind you, none of the above makes transition any easier. Neither am I a master of my “rules” just because I decided to apply them. But together they form a helpful framework providing guidance. They work for me, because they are uniquely mine. Customized mantras that I keep top-of-mind.

And my words are more than a framework. In using them, they change me. By practicing honesty, I am becoming more open and Yes, honest. In embracing anything and everything, I am learning to accept life as it is. My attitude to life is shifting. And with that, I am shifting myself as well.

How do you manage your time in transition? Do you have a system in place? Any particular words that you have put to work for you?

Note - I was inspired to write this piece after reading Angela Jeffs' article Positive Directions, posted last week on the Embrace Transition blog.

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About the author: Jacinta Hin was born in the Netherlands and has been living in Tokyo, Japan, since 1989. Her professional background is in human resources, career management and coaching. She is passionate about helping people, herself included, discover new perspectives of possibility, move to embracing and working with their transitions, and designing and realizing changes aligned with who they truly are and what they truly want from their lives.
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