Maybe I’m just hyper-aware right now, but it seems like a lot of people I know are in transition.

And its not always the most comfortable place to be!

Mixed emotions

Transitions can be unsettling, confusing and anxiety-producing not only for those of us going through them, but also for our family and friends. And there’s often some subtle pressure to land on our feet quickly and get settled so everyone can stop worrying!

What do we really think about transition?

I think there’s a common assumption that being settled and stable is desirable, while being in transition is something we just have to get through before life settles down again. But maybe that assumption isn’t all that realistic or helpful. What if transition is what makes life interesting and helps us grow?

How transition works

There are shelves full of books about transition, and some, like William Bridges’ Managing Transitions, and Joseph Campbell’s classic work on the “Hero’s Journey”, have identified 3 stages of transition that can really help us.

1. Every transition starts with an ending, separation or letting go.
2. There’s an in-between time of uncertainty, tension and challenges
(sometimes known as “the mess in the middle”)
3. A new beginning emerges, with a new role or changed identity.

Based on personal experience, I think there should be one more point:
4. Repeat, as needed – for the rest of your life!
… because its only a matter of time before we’ll find ourselves in transition again.

A door opens

Sometimes transition is triggered when a door opens and we choose to cross a threshold into a new place. Perhaps we’re offered a new job, or we decide to get married. We have lots to look forward to, but must also leave something behind.

A door closes

At other times a door closes due to the end of a relationship, illness, or loss of work, and we’re forced into transition. We feel the pain of loss, and may be fearful about our future.

Finding a new career

My own journey to becoming a Celebrant began with a door closing in 2013 when I injured my right hand and could no longer work. My career as a pianist was over, and I was thrust into a painful time with no idea where I was headed.

I hoped this middle stage would be short-lived, but for almost 3 years no new door was opening. Then one day, a friend and I were in Canmore having lunch with my Aunt and Uncle. They had recently helped to plan a beautiful memorial service for a friend of theirs, and it was officiated by a “Celebrant”.

I didn’t really know what a Celebrant was, but as they described it, I became more and more intrigued. Then my Uncle paused and said to me, “You could do that.” For a brief moment no one spoke, and then there was a collective “Yes!” as we realized what a brilliant idea this was! The thought of helping people honour the most important times in their lives just felt right for me.

Is it over yet?

Not long after, I met Barbara Parker, the wonderful Canmore Celebrant who has encouraged and guided me through my time of transition, training, and getting my first wedding clients.

The interesting thing is now that I’m doing Celebrant work, I find that I’m still in transition.

I’m still learning and evolving – and hope I always will be even when I’m a seasoned veteran with hundreds of ceremonies under my belt.

Just because we’ve found a new beginning doesn’t mean we’re finished with transition. So I choose to welcome transition, and embrace the journey.

Tips for living in transition

In times of uncertainty, seek to live with:
» patience,
» hope,
» gentleness with yourself and others.

And for those who are getting married, enjoy the period of engagement, and don’t try to rush through this special transition.

May we all strive to face our future without fear – appreciating beauty, enjoying friends and loved ones, and having faith that new growth will occur.

Peace for the journey,
Heather