It’s amazing how Mother Nature can change our outdoor environment in a week based on the season. Living here in the Midwest, we can go from cold wintery winds, dead looking trees and brown grass, to buds popping out on the tree branches, green grass, flowers, and chirping birds… not to mention the sounds of frogs mating in our pond. New life is everywhere.
As I was sitting out on our screened patio amazed at the greenery, a recent conversation I had with a client came to mind about life transitions. Every time we encounter a change in our life a transitional journey occurs. Sometimes it can be exciting and other times if can be extremely fearful. It made me think of Seasons as a metaphor for the phases of any transitional journey. These Seasons may, or may not, match the seasons unfolding outside our window.
Change can be difficult for many people but especially for Brenda right now. With the recent discovery of her husband’s affair and his request for a divorce, she is facing the unknown as a single mom with a one year old. Extremely emotional she said, “I didn’t sign up for this.”
Whether you are in the middle of a life transition; relational, health, death of a loved one, or a work-related transition, it's likely you are feeling overwhelmed and confused.
If we see change as a naturally occurring event - much like the change of seasons - then we can embrace change as a gift and an invitation to improve and enhance our lives. The seasons may be one where you are on a peaceful ascent on a bright sunny day, or you may be looking down at the muck. Wherever you are on life’s roller coaster, you can be sure the Season will change.
Often, we're in a hurry to implement our plans and reach our goals. But if we're not careful, we'll miss the joys and lessons that result from what is happening in our lives right now. Conversely, we sometimes dread the next season of our lives because we allow anxiety and fear to rule rather than resting with patient trust and confidence that our life is unfolding as a new Season.
A number of years ago I took a Positive Psychology class and we were given a sheet on
THE OPTIMIST’S MIND-SET
When change makes you mad, sad, stressed, angry, or confused, take a moment to think about creating a new ending. You can do this by asking yourself different types of “what if” questions (that is, not the types that ask, “What if I hadn’t done this, said this, or been so stupid”). These should focus on positive outcomes in the future, and will help to rewire your mind, which might still be stuck in the past. Try a few of these questions:
- What if I believe things are going to get better?
- What if I really don’t know how things are suppose to be?
- What if life is working on my behalf?
- What if the end of this relationship is a good thing and I am being protected from something bad in the future?
- What if there is something I can’t yet see or comprehend that would explain why this is happening to me?
- What if this crisis is the best wake-up call I ever got?