So when your tire in the wheel of life all of a sudden went flat, you assessed your situation and took some time to regroup. Then you fed your body, mind, and soul. As you continue to navigate this new, unchartered territory of transition life, you might wake up one day and find yourself in the middle of a construction site.
Life is changing before your eyes and you are standing by, watching the deconstruction unfold as if in a slo-mo replay of that goal that almost happened, because all you can think of is what you don’t have anymore. It doesn’t matter whether you are excited about moving forward, moving abroad, or moving down the street – any major change in location, work place, or relationships comes with letting go, losing something, giving something up, and the corresponding amounts of trauma and sadness. The end of something always means loss, and the stages of grief will ensue sooner or later, and in no predetermined sequence.
In my own forced transition, when I was not allowed to return to Canada to wrap things up properly, all that was lost seemed to dominate my vision. I was trying to remember everything that was left in the apartment that I no longer would have access to. My memory created lists of clothes in the closet, sundries in the bathroom, sheets and towels in the ottoman beside the couch, kitchen appliances and house wares in cabinets, drawers, and closets. How would I get any of it back, if at all?
One really great thing that helped me keep a hopeful mindset was taking a moment and making a list of all that I still had. Time to count my Blessings!
I started listing all the material things I still had access to:
- my vehicle ~ yay! as long as there was money for gas, I could drive anywhere the roads would take me
- my laptop
- an old phone that still worked
- my passport
- my swiss army knife ~ don’t get me started… I’ve gutted fish, sawed off tree branches, repurposed old tires into planters, unscrewed vacuum cleaners and re-screwed glasses with this thing just to name a few saving grace moments
- my naturalization certificate, birth certificate, passport… I keep everything in one folder and figured it might be useful at the border crossing
As my list of material things completed, I realized there were other, immaterial treasures:
Friends and family who were supporting me with their humanity: my parents’ prayers, my son and his family, who immediately invited me to spend time with them in Alaska; my friend Nelta, who generously let me stay in her condo with free wifi access so that I was able to get some work done and look for part time jobs and apartments in Western New York; David, my new friend in Niagara Falls, who gave me the best bed and breakfast deal with Elphie and Buster, his two feline house mates; Katherine of the Booming Group, whose gentle and intuitive expertise kept me on my entrepreneurial path, and others who were just there, listening, helping with their compassion, non-judgment, understanding, advice.
Finally, I realized my biggest asset was nothing material, nothing outside of me. It was the same that is your biggest asset, everyone’s biggest assets:
it is our essence, the truth of who we are.
It is our essence that keeps us going.
It was my essence that chose to listen to those who were supportive, not to those who saw harm and doom in everything and everyone. It was my essence that got me to wipe the tears, nurse my scrapes and scratches, and push me back on my feet. My essence propelled me to find interim part-time work, regardless how low the pay, as long as it is somehow aligned with my purpose and business goals, and as long as it sustains me. When we lose what feels like everything – maybe not every thing, but all that is familiar, known to us as the home zone, the comfort routine – it is the essence of who we are that remains, the life force that stays whether we tap into it or not.
Our essence can create a sense of home in a strange world. Our essence does not need us, it is just there. This is what we are, as well as what we have – we can tap into it at will, but it is an act of will.
Regardless whether you feel sad, relieved, devastated, or at times desperate – just take a second to remember that your essence is something that no tragedy -and not the luckiest streak in life either- can take from you.
Share with me your thoughts on this – how do you define essence? What are your forever blessings that no one can take? How have you moved through transitions and stayed sane and complete? I welcome the conversation!