I don’t know if you’ve experienced the same phenomenon in your life, but I know that in mine, I can only see clearly when looking back. It’s only once out of Denial that I can actually see I was in Denial, and only once out of Resistance I can see I was resisting a particular change with all the ingenuity I can muster.
The old saying that hindsight is 20/20 rings very true in times of change. The irony of it all is that despite the trepidation, hesitations, and downright fear, I always get through it with a: “That’s all that was?” Or better yet, I have no comment at all because what was new and unknown, now becomes usual and familiar.
Living Through the Process
In the beginning, when confronted with change, I can first see myself sitting at the bottom of the transition curve, licking my wounds because a dream or relationship has come to an end. Even if there is an exciting new endeavor on the horizon, oddly, I feel displaced and even lost. At this point, I’m really mourning the loss of what I thought things were supposed to be.
This start varies for each of us, but there comes a point where the light at the end of the tunnel finds us despite our best effort to hide. Even on those days where I would rather hide from the world, there’s a voice that starts to penetrate that stubborn wall of resistance: the voice of Exploration. This is the wise voice that will never let me fall, the one that asks questions, always in search of a solution even if, at first glance, there doesn’t seem to be one.
- I could try X
- I could talk to Y
- I can now focus on Z
Human Instinct is to Move Forward
Beyond the fear, like a survival instinct, there is an undeniable human will to move forward, to come up with a new idea. The more you explore, the more excited you will get about the possibilities a change can bring, despite the uncertainties and abrupt stops and starts.
So it’s okay to pause, take a step back. It’s okay not to have all the answers. It’s certainly okay to change your mind, to question your steps. After all, you are building the bridge as you’re walking on it, and that’s the excitement (and anxiety) of Exploration! Think of Exploration as a glorious work of art in progress, and you are the painter or sculptor.
There may still be a lot of false starts, set and reset, excitement tinged with regret. Mourning for what was takes a while, and sometimes little things set it off. Life does go on however, and the life force that lies in each of us starts to create momentum. Activities for Exploration include: reconnecting with your unique essence rather than trying to fit the old mold; mapping the future; imagining what could be; and taking small steps.
I look forward to hearing your experiences of moving forward.