Sunday, 22 January 2012

Transitions By William Bridges

Are you trying to make sense out of life’s transitions? I'm currently in the middle of a transition and yet the destination is still unknown. Like myself, you’re probably been at the in-between stage more than a few times in your life – but you’re not seeing any results.

You keep asking yourself, “What should I do and how did I end up here?” Maybe your waiting for the next step in your life to appear and you’re feeling frustrated and stuck, like you're not making any progress fast enough.

What else can you do apart from a.) worrying b.) going over things in your head over and over, and c.) feeling like a hamster on a wheel?

It’s no surprise that my copy of Transitions by William Bridges is well thumbed and richly annotated for my own use.

Being in-between marriages or careers can take on a particularly painful and confusing when things are changing so profoundly. It as if we launched from a riverside dock to cross a landing  on the opposite side – only to discover midstream that the landing was no longer there. (And then we looked back to the other shore, we saw that the dock we had left from had broken loose and was heading downstream.)

Life is a series of transitions whether it is personal, a job, marriage, dreams or physical challenges. It is a set of steps that take us from an ending, through a neutral period, then a new beginning.

One day everything seems to be coming apart; the next day, life goes on as usual, and we wonder whether we have been imagining it all.

Previously, I worked in customer services for a large telecommunications company. I thought my job was safe, secure and permanent. But, before I knew it the company announced a large round of redundancies.

Initially, I felt optimistic and hopeful about my future. As  I had just started a new job, was only there for a few months and before I know it, I’m out of a job. But the job search has not been easy as I though it would be.

But recently, I felt as though I was just spinning my wheels. I thought I was doing all I could do, but nothing seemed to be working out, and that was frustrating. Now I was ready, I wanted something to happen immediately as I had took the time and put in effort! Something should have happened by now.

Not knowing what the future holds can make you feel like a hamster on a wheel. You find yourself constantly asking, What do I do now?"

Even though I’m unemployed, I’m trying to enjoy it – the uncertainty of it all. In one word, it’s about acceptance. Surrendering to the uncertainty – you’ve done your best and hopefully things will come together somehow.

The beauty of the book is that it is not just a manual on ‘how to cope’, but gets us to see that the process on disorganization, death and renewal is a fundamental nature and theme of mythology. The cycle is natural and admitting it makes it much easier to deal with it. Whenever a significant change hits me, I always turn to this book. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is in the midst of a transition.