“To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.” – Henri Bergson, French philosopher
Can you think of a time when you moved through a difficult transition? Maybe it was leaving a job or moving across the country. Often precarious and challenging, periods of change are also enormous opportunities for joy and growth.
A transitional period is also called a liminal space. Liminal is Latin for “limen,” which means threshold. Liminal spaces can refer to any space of transition. They can be physical spaces like a doorstep and emotional spaces, like changing relationships, jobs or social groups. They are the waiting points between an ending and a beginning. In meditation, you can even think of them as the space between breaths.
The time we spend in transition can be unsettling. Without grounding and resources, this period of time can provoke anxiety, depression and fear. However, with some mindful practice, time in transition can be joyful and liberating.
Here are three steps to help you build a resilient mindset as you move through liminal spaces:
How do you settle into a safe space during transition? Begin by noticing how you feel. What are your internal sensations? Do you feel sadness, exhaustion, joy or excitement? Consider your resources, both internal and external. Internal resources are your values, beliefs and characteristics. External sources are the people, places and things that help you to feel safe. With your resources in mind, allow yourself to anchor to the present moment. You may feel your mind racing forward or dwelling on the past. Gently call it back to the present moment.
When you have established safety in liminal space, you can begin to savor it. You are not tethered to your past experience anymore. You are not committed to any specific future yet. You can rest; it’s okay to relax into this space. Enjoy it, savor it.
Eventually, you may begin to notice internal sparks, or ideas. This is your opportunity to explore what feels most aligned with your interests. What are you most curious about? There is no pressure to take a step forward in any direction. You can take your time here. When you are ready, gather your courage and take your next step. You can do it!
Transitional experiences do not have to be negative or unsettling. If you find yourself struggling in a period of change, remember to practice the steps of safety, savoring and spark.
Change is good,
MD MPH, Integrative Family Medicine
This week, I invite you to reserve 10 minutes to listen to this guided meditation about change.
“Accepting Change” by Sarah Blondin, creator of the Live Awake podcast.
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