I recently returned from a long trip. As happens with beautiful trips, the end brought with it some heart ache. Once home I had to reflect upon all the things I had pretended didn’t exist for the six weeks that I was gone.
Here are some of the things that greeted me: Chores. Unfinished projects. Health, medical and self-care appointments. Work. Work. Work. Why do I have so much work and so little time to do it? And the biggest elephant in the room: silence.
While my life is full of amazing people, sometimes during transitions I can really feel isolated, like I don’t fit-in anymore. Like I don’t belong.
While I get grounded after a long journey, I’m adjusting to who I am now, on the other side of that journey. If you’ve ever gone somewhere for a while by yourself, you may have also experienced this. Angela Farmer talked about it in a workshop I was in. She said, “Tell your friends and family that the food was amazing, the people were nice, and the workshop was good too.” I appreciate the simplicity behind the statement.
The most important parts of the trip for me wouldn’t be the most important parts for someone else. For me, I remember a quiet walk by myself on my birthday; a creek crossing on an amped up horse; an afternoon at my brother’s cabin; biking down the road to see a friend; giggling with my new found sisters; and flipping a catamaran in Mundaka rapid.
Right now, I am on the other side of a long trip that was marked by so many magical moments and people, it’s very difficult to return to my quiet life. The house is too big; I am too small. And so, there is a lot of silence within these walls. Time to reflect. And not all reflection is easy. Sometimes it is difficult to take in the whole picture of oneself and acknowledge where change needs to happen. It can be difficult to let go of that which no longer serves.
As I return to “normal,” I’m letting go of parts of who I was before the trip. A cleaning out of my closets.
I’m not just going through the house and releasing things in a spring cleaning frenzy, I’m also letting go of pieces of myself. Removing clutter is making space for what’s moving in.
While shifting is exciting, it can also carry with it some fear. As I’ve gotten re-grounded, there have been moments that were confusing, upsetting, unsettling. There have been moments where I thought, “I don’t belong here, in my own skin, in my own home, in my own community, in my own life. I don’t belong anymore. I don’t fit.”
What do I make of this sense of alienation and not belonging? I think it’s normal. I think there are times when everyone struggles to find her place in the world. There are some people who seem to navigate multiple worlds so effortlessly, and for the most part, I think we are all looking to find a groove. To find a sweet spot.
When I’m surfing, the sweetest moments strike a balance between thrilling and calming. Inevitably, the ride can’t last forever and eventually I wipe out. Go deep or take a big swim. While the crash and burn can be scary, unsettling, it’s also worth it, because the ride was amazing.
I think maybe there is just as much to learn in that moment of failure as there is during the sublime moment of balance: pushing to the point of wiping out into the water and merging with something bigger and stronger gives me the opportunity to surrender. Before the moment of surrender to gravity and water is the brief and perfect sweet spot. The sublime. And then when it can’t last any longer, when I can’t ride it out even one more second, I reach the tipping point and let go.
Transitions are like that: finding the edge and then free falling over it.
I’ve been asking myself how I can stay grounded during this transition because it’s been such a dramatic one. I’m staying grounded in this transition the same way I try to stay grounded when I’m going to hold still for a while: I try to sleep enough and in normal intervals; I try to eat enough and at normal times; I try to achieve enough and at normal levels: I try to play enough without getting hurt: I try to love and be loved enough and in healthy, happy ways.
Simple tools. Simple life.
How do you navigate your transitions?