Change, according to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus, is the only constant in life. He is referring to those situational and external events in our life, all of those stops and starts.
Transition, like change, is a part of life. Yet it differs. Rather than happening outside of us, transitions happen within us as we adapt to change. They are the gradual psychological reorientation that comes with change. There are three phases to any transition.
- End: All transitions begin with an ending. The way you end something has an impact on how you begin.
- Neutral Zone: After that ending and before the beginning comes a confusing in-between time. This is a time when it is important to be fully present and aware to what is happening inside us while things around us are unsettled. Much more may be transpiring within us than expected. This time can be very fertile and we may find ourselves surprisingly creative in dealing with the change.
- New Beginning: After letting go of old ways and spending time in the chaos of the neutral zone comes the new beginning. New beginnings are best approached with an openness to possibilities and a willingness to shift and be flexible with plans.
I am smack dab in the middle of change and transition right now. I am ending my studies in the Institute of Religious Formation at Catholic Theologica Union in Chicago. I am graduating, saying good-bye to friends, moving back to the Monastery and preparing for new ministries. With all of these changes, I am lost in transition. I am somewhere near the end, with a step or two into the neutral zone, yet looking forward to a new beginning.
Reflecting upon this particular transition, I am thankful for all of my experiences and learnings, the gift of new friends and the challenging movements of growth. I welcome the gift of this particular time in my life as I more and more die to self, becoming who and how God dreams me to be. I find strength in knowing that God is with me.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”