A Personal, Contemplative Perspective

In his research, Dr. George Land provides a model for understanding change and its various dimensions. Change is a necessary part of life. Everyone experiences change. Dr. Land states that there is no such thing as status quo. There is either growth and development (change) or the opposite holds true (stagnation). During my journey, I’ve found this to be true.

In my coaching practice, I remember a particular conversation I had with a man whose wife had divorced him for another man. “I just can’t get over it!” he said with great emotion. “How do I get over it?” As he talked, I had a picture of his wife leaving him as a high wall that blocked his path, a wall that he was struggling to climb over. That is the way change often feels in our lives—like a barrier across our path, a disruption of our plans, a big hole that’s opened up at our feet. Instinctively, we look for a way to “get over it.” And so often our way of “getting over it” is to enter another relationship and attach the same hopes, fears, dreams and beliefs to that one, and end up right back where we started.

The key is to not merely “get over it” but to “transcend” it.

To “transcend it” you must let go of the inner connections you had to the way things were. The key is to yield to a journey through transition. Transition is not just a nice way to say change. It is the inner process through which people come to terms with a change, as they let go of the way things used to be and come to reorient themselves to the way things are now. Transition represents a path to follow.

To shift your attention away from the change (the wall) toward transition (the path), you need to ask yourself “What is it time for me to let go of?” If your change was the loss of a job, what might you have to let go of? Let’s see: a regular income, a group of colleagues and friends, a regular place to go every morning, a way to use your talents, a way to structure your time. You’d also lose an identity—or at least an answer to the question, “What do you do?” Those are the things that losing your job would force you to do without. So rather than holding on to “the way things used to be” use your talents or structure your time in different but meaningful, productive ways.

What is it time for you to let go of?

In some areas of your life you are probably in transition right now. I know I am and I’ve always found that asking that question opens up the path I have to follow. It’s often a path I’d prefer not to have to follow, but given the change, I don’t have much choice. Fortunately, it is also a path that often leads to my personal growth.

On second thought, I do have a choice: to grow or remain “stuck.” What I am saying is that, since change is a wall and transition the gate in the wall, it’s there for you to go through it. Choose to go through the gate, choose to shift and grow!

I made that choice and I’m glad I did.

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