5 steps to Dancing Thru Family Transitions
Before the COVID pandemic, I saw my Mom about once per quarter, every 3 months or so. Either she would fly to us in SoCal or I would fly to her in the Northeast. Then, I called my Mom about once per week sometimes more sometimes less… but as soon as it was clear that because of the pandemic that neither one of us would be traveling any time soon, I started to call her daily. And it has now been two years… and I call her still about 4-5 days per week. The pandemic inspired a new way to form a deeper connection with my 75+ year old Mom. It’s been fun. It’s been connecting. Its been ever so meaningful and valuable to our already close relationship. When we talk every day, there is more of a nuanced conversation about life each day.
We all wish life would stay the way it is sometimes. With everyone happy, healthy, and enjoying life together.
Then life happens.
Kids turn into teenagers and love to spend time with their friends and find their independence.
Parents need more support as they age.
Parents pass on and leave a large void.
Retirement happens for our spouse or us.
Someone we love is ill or not making great choices or not the ones we’d wish they make.
Life can be hard. Sad. Anxiety filled. Stressful. Overwhelming. Exhausting. Scary. Lonely.
Don’t hang on to what was. Instead Honor what was with Gratitude.
Getting through these transitions in a less painful way is first, not hanging on to what was - but instead being present in what is, what is happening right now. Letting go of the past and embracing today, this moment. It is being open the change unfolding before us. Easier said than done, but life, like a flower, is moving into a new phase. When we accept that transition as such and honor it, truly honor it - it is less pain filled. As the seasons change, we seem to not resist them, but allow them. What if we did the same with our transitions in our life? What would that look like? What if instead honored that change? Honored what was and was is?
Have compassion for self.
When we are in such place filled with pain and anxiety, having a bit of compassion for ourselves is key to moving through it. Compassion for self might be as simple as not pushing to get ‘it’ perfect. Or it maybe ordering take out instead of cooking. It may be to ask for help in getting the house clean. Or asking a friend to listen. Or another friend to go to the grocery store for you. Self care is not massages and mani pedi’s (unless it truly is). Self care is often saying ‘no’ and setting boundaries. It is working out. Eating well. Going to be early.
Don’t go it Alone.
Share your struggle. Share your sadness. But is it not walking through this time alone. So often when life comes tumbling down, we feel so alone. It is hard to get out of the darkness alone. Letting people in to inspire your more light, productive and healthy thoughts is critical to getting through life transitions well. Take a Deep Breath (or 5) and Choose wisely.
I never under estimate the power of a deep conscious breathe. A heart breathe. One where you slowly, deeply take in fresh air, deeply into the bottom of your lungs… then let the breath go. Repeat. And then add in breathing in peace, calm, love, kindness, etc. Repeat. Allowing each breath to do its work. THEN —- we thinking about the choices we want to make. We always make wiser choices after some conscious breathing and even just a few allows us to switch to a more positive mindset.
Because after all it’s when we are making conscious hard choices, we become ‘the authors of our lives.’
Create deeper love and connection.
Finally, what if we used these harder transitions as a way to cultivate a greater and deeper love and connection with those going through it too?
We all, if we are lucky, have 2 grandmothers. I am grateful that one of my grandmothers ironically ended up at my house at the end of her life. I had the privilege of the tiny moments at the end only because I lived in the same house. She shared her more inner thoughts. She was her most vulnerable self that I would have not had a chance to experience with her. It brought us closer. I made big and different decisions that I would not have made in my life if it weren’t for having that time with her.
I have learned that when we are going thought hard things, it is an opportunity to more deeply connect if we give ourselves that gift.