A mantra

“You get to decide how you show up,”  I said as I spoke with a roomful of women.  We were talking about transition and the stress that can accompany its triggers.  We’d spent the past ten minutes sharing stories about the obstacles that can get in our way….everyday.  A boss.  A difficult mother-in-law.  A husband who is channeling the 1950’s.  An illness.   An upcoming marriage.  Retirement.  Tons of life events can qualify.  Most of us have experienced at least one of these.  Here’s the tricky part.  What impact have you allowed it to have on your day?  Your demeanor? 

Pantheon, Rome

Pantheon, Rome

The past few weeks have been a complete whirlwind on this side.  Many of you may have noticed that I haven’t posted in a few weeks.  In fact my track record of late is poor.  It is the first time since Novofemina’s start that I haven’t posted weekly.  What can I say.  I am not proud of how I’ve shown up of late.

I remember a really powerful interview I had recently with a woman who teaches at the college level.  Any of us in meeting her would instantly think of her as fabulous.   “I used to try to fit myself in,” she noted.  “I am trying to do less and less of that.”

We were talking about jobs and passions and alignment.  I liked the image she created.  I instantly thought of my approach to several jobs that I’d gotten.  Let’s face it.  There is some of this notion of ‘fitting myself in’ that is part of every interviewing or recruiting process.  She was talking about something more.

Transition requires us to re-examine our assumptions around identity and values and capacity.  It requires us to envision a future.  Then test and retest our revised assumptions.  It is iterative.  Challenging.  Uncertain.  And energizing.

William Bridges, author of Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, noted that transition requires an ending, followed by a neutral zone, followed by a beginning.  I’m learning a bit more about this structure.

What I’m finding out is that the ending part doesn’t happen all at once.  I went through the majority of it about one year into my transition.  My hunch is that some of the emotions and confusion that I’m experiencing today are really tied to the ending.  This is happening almost three years into my transition.  It’s as if the universe is challenging me saying, ‘are you really sure…’  The path I’ve chosen leverages all the skills that I’ve been fortunate enough to gain to date.  But it is a new version.   A re-assembly.  A step forward – and away.

My son turned to me yesterday and asked, “Mom, what is going on with you? Are you stressed or something?”  This from my nine-year old.  While I was instantly impressed with his communication and observation skills I was reminded of my favorite mantra.

You get to decide how you show up everyday.  Make it a good one.

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