In the previous two blogs on the change ‘trapeze’ metaphor, I first discussed the need to let go of the old situation, the equivalent of leaving the trapeze departure platform and then, of “flying high up in the air”, the equivalent of what William Bridges calls “entering the neutral zone”. In this blog, I cover the last main phase of transition, the landing or, again according to Bridges, the “new beginning”. This phase is typically easier than the first. However, new beginnings can also be filled with regrets and doubts. That’s normal and to be expected, especially as some unanticipated obstacles might emerge.
In another blog, I will talk about the various types of transitions. There are many, those we choose, those that occur naturally (e.g.: menopause) and those that are unanticipated or imposed upon us by others or our environment (e.g.: lay-off). So, how to approach each landing will vary accordingly. I don’t have to tell anyone that unanticipated changes, such as lay-offs, redundancies, illnesses, deaths of a loved one, can be much harder to “land” than the changes that we opt to undertake.
Each of us is also different and our “internal” states, views, beliefs, level of resilience and so on, will also impact our landing. So, again, the smoothness of landing will vary according to each person’s internal states. In short, there is no one-size-fits-all approach but there are some recommendations that are helpful.
I combined recommendations from several authors (See Further Readings below) who have extensively studied and worked with life transformations to created my own STEP process (See Figure 1). As you can see, there is quite a lot to consider in order to secure a safe and smooth landing. The main idea is to know your current situation, know yourself, your strengths, coping mechanisms, boundaries and limitations, and to be especially mindful and gentle with your doubts, fears, guilt and other internal obstacles and resistances.
Denborough, D. (2014). Retelling the stories of our lives: Everyday narrative therapy to draw inspiration and transform experience. W. W. Norton & Company.
Bridges, W. (2004). Transitions: Making sense of life’s changes. MA, Cambridge: Da Capo Press.
Ebaugh, H. R. B. (1988). Becoming an ex: The process of role exit. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Goodman, J., Schlossberg, N. K., & Anderson, M. L. (2006). Counseling adults in transition: Linking practice with theory (3rd Edition). New York, NY, USA: Springer Publishing Company.
Hollis, J. (2006). Finding meaning in the second half of life. NY: Gotham Books.
Kurtz, R. (2007). Body-centred psychotherapy: the Hakomi method. Mendocino: LifeRythms, US.
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