We’re in the middle of Dog Days, the hot, sultry period that began in mid-July and hangs out until September, when dogs are said to be most apt to go mad and the dew is rumored to contain poison. It’s noted for stagnant yet drippingly humid air and blamed placed on the Dog Star, Sirius that rises and sets with the sun.
No one objects to transitioning from Dog Days if they can just live through them. That cannot be said for other facets of late summer. The Olympics and vacations are over. As school is resuming, baseball winds down and football kicks up it reminds me of how dreadful life would be without transition. It’s just another term for that more scary word, ‘change.’ Some examples of major transitions:
Michael Phelps hanging up his suit
Leaving a company where you’ve worked for 35 years
Filing for bankruptcy
Buying your first home
Becoming an empty nester
Losing a loved one
Winning an Olympic medal
Losing a job
Getting a divorce
Beginning a new career
Moving to a nursing home
First day of school
Learning to swim
Hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro
These events bring with them the potential for growth, elements of fear, joy, sorrow. One thing is certain: you will be changed. You can also become stuck. Whichever you choose is clutch. Even wildly exciting events can leave you in a rut once you have moved through them. I’m thinking of the last time Michael Phelps finished an Olympics (Bejing) and wasn’t motivated to swim again. I’m thinking of the “let down” periods that come after life events or the fear that totally prevents you from moving through them at all.
“Our presuppositions, our most fundamental beliefs about ourselves, our businesses, and the world are being overturned on a daily basis. There can be no more important task than understanding and mastering change,” George Land and Beth Jarman. No one can do this for you. It’s your life to lead; it’s your choice, your journey.
How many parents try to buffer life for their “growing” children by preventing or shielding them from challenge, heartache, and hard work? These kids reach adulthood lacking the skills and experiences of true transition and challenge. “Problems are an important part of maturing–meet them straight on. Work them out. It’s like the chick in the egg. It has to break through the eggshell on its own. That’s how it gains its first strength. If you break the shell for the chick, you end up with a puny little runt,” (Mark Tobey).
Author Laura George (Excuse Me, Your Job Is Waiting: Attract the Work You Want) maintains that ruts aren’t necessarily bad. “Ruts are simply habits, some learned when we were very young, some developed later in life to accommodate needs in the most efficient manner. Ruts aren’t bad. They simply are a repeat of the same sort of energy over and over and over and over….again…..And ruts tend to pretty much squeeze out joy unless we’ve actually allowed it to flourish regardless of our activities,” (emphasis added).
I’m reminded of my favorite magnet: LET GO OR BE DRAGGED. ‘Often our fear misleads us to stay in close to shore, when the safest place is in the deep, if we can get there. Any swimmer knows: Stay too close to shore and you will be battered by the surf and undertow. We must swim out past the breakers if we are to know the hammock of the deep. Stay on land or make it to the deep. It is the in-between that kills,” (Mark Nepo).
When the path is blocked, you feel yourself sinking, or totally lost, back up and look at the BIG picture. Keep moving or there can be no transition, no growth and no exciting new chapter. “Unless transition occurs, change will not work…. Endings occur more easily if people can take a bit of the past with them,” (William Bridges).
We are the sum of our experiences so we do carry/haul/drag our past with us through life. We just can’t live there. Nor can we live in the future.
Joy can only be in the present. Push through today with great anticipation, (but not fear) for the magnificent things to come.
Get off the shore and into the deep, out of the in-between!
~From the desk of Becky Morlok~
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