This week, I made a huge transition. I moved out of my part time job and into running my business full time.
I know, right? Wow!
And being as I am, I thought that I would gracefully float into my new life as a full-time small business owner. I thought that my daily schedule would come naturally, that I would easily move from switching back and forth between two jobs, working long and extremely focused days on my business, to a nice, productive and easy new pace.
Instead, it felt like I jumped into the deep end of the pool and forgot that I knew how to swim.
For the past week, I’ve more or less been flailing around as I try to figure out which direction I’m swimming and turn on my natural muscle memory to keep my head above water. Nothing bad has happened — I’m not drowning; I know how to swim. But rather than the smooth transition that I envisioned, I’ve had bits and starts of work and productivity, mixed with a good dose of unexpected distraction and an even less expected measure of resistance.
Transitions are weird like that. In yoga, I teach that transitions are part of the pose, to think through the transition and to include it as part your planning when monitoring your energy and stamina. In the transition between poses, you may be a bit off balance. You’re moving between two end points and there are several ways to get from one place to another. It’s dynamic; it doesn’t stand still. And yet, why do we often expect our life transitions to be any different?
In fact, why do we sometimes imagine that there will be no transition at all?
Just as yoga teaches us about the nature of transitions, it can also teach us how to get through them gracefully. Here are the five things you can do to make any life transition a bit easier:
1. Find the Balance Between Effort and Ease. Stop fighting the pose. Stop trying so hard 100% of the time and allow yourself to soften. In any yoga pose, you only want to extend the amount of effort necessary to hold the pose with integrity and no more. In a transition, remember to go easy on yourself. It’s natural that as you move through your transition, there will be areas of movement and action and areas of rest. You’ll still get to the next pose.
2. Allow for Certain Level of Instability. During any yoga pose, there is a balance between being in control and allowing the post to unfold. Allowing a life transition to unfold can seem scary because the usual structure that is in place to tell us how we’re doing and where we’re going no longer exists. Allow yourself a certain level of instability, which is really the ability to transition into a new structure that supports your new position in life.
3. Keep an End Goal in Mind. In yoga, it’s helpful to have certain goals and to visualize those goals in our mind. The same is true for getting through a life transition. With this visualization, you’ll know where you want to go and you will get there. But the rules of manifesting are such that you might not get to decide how long it takes you or the exact path it will take to get there. Sometimes in a transition you just have to trust that your muscles will hold you, that the ground will be there, and that your sweaty foot will grip the mat when it does. Hold your original goal in mind and trust that any lack of stability or unexpected movement is still moving you towards your goal. (Not sure how to manifest a new goal? Check out my video meditation here.)
4. If Your Mind Wanders, Bring it Back to the Present Moment. By far, the best thing I’ve learned to help me through my transition is to remain mindful. My mind likes to take long walks – into the world of Netflix, reflecting on the past, and punishing me for not being productive. Bringing my mind back to the present moment has helped my transition tremendously. Not only does it bring me back to the present moment (which is always valuable), it helps me realize what I really want in that moment. This helps with the ebbs and flows of my transition and has lead me to fine-tune my goals for manifesting the next step.
5. Approach The Transition with a Childlike Mind. This is my favorite way to approach anything new, including transitions. In yoga, I often ask my students to approach their practice with a childlike mind. I call this “being in kindergarten.” In kindergarten, we’re allowed to make mistakes, to color outside of the lines, to see our everything as a learning opportunity and to express what we like and don’t like. When we can approach transitions with a “kindergarten vibration,” we allow ourselves to approach difficulty with ease (and, usually, a smile).
Next time you’re in a transition of any kind, try these five steps. Don’t sit around in the deep end of the pool trying to remember how to swim. Hold the vision of what you want, know that there will ebbs and flows as you work towards it, learn from any mistakes and allow yourself to practice being in kindergarten. Enjoy!