Navigating Change and Transition: From Struggle to Opportunity

As a therapist and life transition coach, most people seek my services, because they are experiencing a life change and are struggling with the transition of this change. An aspect of love is the willingness and ability to move through the transition change creates.

Change comes in a variety of ways. Such as: getting married, birth of a child, a death of a loved one, a partner’s affair, a divorce, job loss or transfer, or a grown child going to college. Some transitions can seem positive on one hand, yet create change and adjustment from our norm. So you may struggle for a time, adapting to “what is” now.

There is a difference between change and transition in the following ways.    

  • Change happens first and transition occurs due to the change.
  • Change can be seen as a shift from a norm, transition is the process of moving from one norm/way of being to another. Transition is the adjustment and adaptations we make from the change.
  • Change is usually an external experience, where transition is more of an internal process.
  • Change is often more sudden, more visible and tangible. Transition is a slower process, less visible, more intangible.

Change for people can be difficult to accept and move through, both physically and especially emotionally. It’s natural to want the situation and/or person back to how it was (old way).  Many people need certainty and to know the outcome, within what has now changed (new way).

The resistance to change, the need for certainty and the need to know, in the mist of the unknown, are often what causes many people to struggle with change. The need for certainty and control, leads to fear and resistance; creating racing thoughts, and self-created perceptions of negative outcomes.

This will lead to distributive sleep pattern, drained energy, and little motivation to move forward. The end result can be depression and/or anxiety. We become stuck in the mud of a self-defeated mindset. The process of transition has now become more difficult and overwhelming.

For a time, some of this is all normal and part of our process transitioning through change.  It’s important, however, not to get stuck emotionally and physically for too long.

The longer we chose to stay in the emotional and physical fear, avoidance and resistance, the more unhealthy and unproductive power and control we give to the resistance and uncertainty of transition; this does little to change our perception, process and reality to the change.

Human nature is such that when things change, we tend to focuses more on what we believe we will lose or need to give up. Healthy transition through change, one should focus more on what will be the benefits and gains of this process.

These two key Steps begin the process of transition through change: Moving you from struggle to opportunity.

  1. Accept the things I cannot change: This is the first part of the Serenity Prayer from Alcohol Anonymous aa.org. This prayer or principle I believe, applies to all of us when we experience a change in life. There are many experiences in your life you cannot change, and you may feel and believe you are powerless and helpless because of this. You feel like choices/options have been taken away.

    The second part of the prayer says: The courage to change the things I can. The reality is, in life situations, the only thing you can really change is yourself. You change, by changing your perception, thoughts, belief and attitude. It takes acceptance, courage and willingness to change from within.

    The good news and opportunity of this is ‒ there is much inner power and transformation that takes place with the act of acceptance. Acceptance is extremely difficult for many people, yet its incredibility liberating when you allow it to happen within you. Acceptance helps you to focus on the benefits of transition through change, not what you believe will need to be given up or lost in the process.

    To have the willingness and ability to accept what you cannot change, and change what you can; is the fundamental way to begin to change, and reclaim your inner power and determination to move forward. Acceptance is an act of self-love, and a moving forward energy. It acknowledges and accepts “what is.”

    The process of acceptance, doesn’t mean you like what’s changed, rather you recognize that resisting the change only creates more struggle and pain. With acceptance you create an opening to begin to change from within, with regard to what’s change in your life.

    This process helps you begin to gain power in a different way. You see it was your own misguided perception and belief around the difficult situation, which really gave your power away. It wasn’t actually the situation/experience itself. True power and moving through transitions happens when we change from the inside-out.  Acceptance is the beginning of changing from the inside-out.

  2. See the experience and the required process of transition as an Opportunity: If you are resisting the change, you’re likely seeing the change as a threat and the enemy. It’s something to deny, blame, and escape from. These are the mindsets and ways of our fragile and wounded self. This part of us wants to numb the pain and have someone else make it better/or back the way it was.

    It’s important to see and ask yourself: How are my perceptions and beliefs helping me move through this change? What is my pain and resistance reinforcing in me, that keeps me in this state of suffering?  Often in difficult times of change we become our worst critic and enemy, rather than a best friend and ally.

    When you are ready and able, it’s important to see the change, as the teacher and opportunity. Yes, transitions through difficult times, offer you the opportunity for learning and growth. The process of creation, birth and growth begins in the darkness and the struggle.

    The natural world teaches us the importance of the struggle. Take for example, of how the caterpillar transforms into the butterfly, from the struggle within the cocoon. For without the struggle, how would you learn, find a higher meaning to your experience, and grow?

Life is not meant to be easy, it’s meant to be meaningful. When you change your view of the situation, you create the higher meaning of your circumstance, and this allows for the opportunity to transition and transform yourself in empowering ways.

When you alter your thoughts and view of the change, you reduce your fear, your resistance and struggle around the uncertainty. Dr. Wayne Dyer said: “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”

Change and the process of transition, calls us to be open and willing to reframe our belief and choices around the situation; this is how we learn and grow from the difficult and painful experience.

Although change can seem scary and threatening, the true intent of life experiences, especially the difficult and painful ones, is to help us heal, grow wiser, and become more accepting and loving human beings, both to ourselves and with others. Accepting that life is impermanent, that things change, helps you realize, life is about change, and learning to transition‒ adjust and adapt.

Being Honest, Open and Willing, especially with yourself, is part of the HOW to accept the unacceptable, and begin the journey of transitioning from what was‒to what can be.

Want to learn more about love and transition check out my book: Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. www.justbelove1.com, www.amazon.com, www.barnes & noble.com

Are you struggling with moving through a change in your life? Please contact David Schroeder, if you would like assistance with moving through a life change and how to work the process of transition. David offers life transition counseling and coaching session’s in-person, by phone or Skype. Visit his website at transitionpathways.com.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself transition through change.

Is your Heart Open or Closed To Love?

In my book, Just Be Love, I write about the importance of the heart as the seat of love in the human body and its experiences. The heart is one of the most important sensory organs in the human body. In the fetus, the heart starts beating before the brain is totally formed. The heart has its own neurons, as many, if not more than the brain. The heart may well be the true brain of the human body, since it is sending as much information to the brain in our head as this brain is sending to the heart. The human heart’s electromagnetic field is five thousand times more powerful than that of the mind. 

The heart holds the energy and expression of love. Imagine there is a doorway to love within the human body, and this door is through the heart. For many people, due to difficult and painful life experiences, love can seem to have gone wrong or broken apart. The heart can become guarded, even closed to protect the wounded self. When the heart is emotionally closed so is the door, and we can become fearful and cautious. So we’re not free and happy within the chambers in our heart. Then the mind follows the path of the heart, through fear, avoidance, resistance and non-acceptance of “what is.”  A closed heart contributes to a person becoming resentful, bitter, isolated and depressed. It’s like a dark prison, which we ordered ourselves to be confined to. Our inner judge; for various reasons saw fit to impose this self inflicted sentence, as a way to make sense of something that perhaps makes no sense or seems so unfair to us. We experience such inner torment and pain, which this prison seems to offer safety and security, as only a distorted illusion can do. Research has shown, we can become sick even die, from a closed, sad and lonely heart.

When the heart is open, we are free and vibrant, love flows within and through us, as a free flowing energy exchange called, giving and receiving.  An open heart is an including heart. Love is inclusion, fear is exclusion. An open heart is one that has found acceptance in “what is.” Acceptance is often the pivotal step toward freedom from the grips of grief, resentment, depression, anxiety, addiction, you name it. To put it simply an open heart is a free and loving heart, and is a way to expand the mind in possibilities. An open heart values the importance of expressing gratitude and appreciation. It allows for compassion, reconciliation or forgiveness to be. An open heart is the key to unlock us from the self-imposed prison we may be confined to.   

I offer 3 tips to open your heart to love and goodness. These can help alter your life in heartfelt and liberating ways.

  1. Be in Appreciation, Gratitude and Care, Toward Yourself and Others: This creates heart coherence i.e. balance, peace and harmony within the heart center; which will transfer to a calmer, more positive impulses, responses and behaviors from our brain.
  2. Do Your Inner Work, to Reconcile, the wound and/or grief of your past. Your heart does not create coherence i.e. openness, balance, peace and harmony, if it’s closed, bitter or sad. 
  3. Be Love: Allow yourself to accept you are love. In this gift of acceptance, give yourself permission to do acts of loving kindness to yourself and others, without conditions or expectations.

 

David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey. His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential.  My book Just Be Love, is available through my websites:transitionpathways.com  or  justbelove1.com Also available through online bookstores: amazon.com , barnesandnoble.com

 

Living Life as a STAR

As I wrote in my book, Just Be Love, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of being a STAR. It’s not about the star in the sky or being a movie or sports star. It’s about being a personal star in the game of life. Being more in our higher mind and heart-centered, rather than our in our ego and intellect state. The acronym for star in this case is to:  
  Surrender
  Trust
  Allow
  Receive                                                                                                     

Surrender: The STAR’s meaning of surrender, is not about giving in or giving up. It is not about focusing on what we believe we may lose; which is the human ego’s version of surrender. The spirits view of surrender is to let go of our human will and way, to the divine will and way. Spiritual surrender is the willingness to yield to the greater power and knowing, with the intention of gaining or benefiting for our highest good.

surrenderOne of the most difficult things for the human ego to understand and do, is to surrender its will to the divine will. Human nature is such that we tend to focus more on what we believe we will lose. We struggle to focus on the benefits of change and its call of surrender, so we become fearful and anxious, leading us to be protective, resistant and reactive. We want the status quo and to stay in our comfort zone. This is a primary reason why human’s struggle so with change and growth. There is no higher awareness and growth in the comfort zone and status quo. Change and transformation is a dynamic process, not a stagnant pond. Many of our life experiences call us to spiritual surrender-to accept the things we cannot understand from our human perspective. To surrender is to trust.


Trust
: Is openness and willingness, a sense of faith and hope in divine will and way. It is to believe in the divine’s loving guidance and grace. Faith is trust in the unknown and unseen, the things we desire, but are yet to be in physical form. Faith is a sense of hope, and hope is about the future, thus waiting. Our sense of trust and faith are tested in times of unknown and uncertainty. Trust is accepting that the divine universe always has our back and highest good in mind. Trust is the foundation of relationship building, and requires us to be vulnerable. With trust we can allow.

Allow: Is to accept and let life unfold within us and for us. It says ‘Yes” to love, life and the higher wiser self. To allow is to stand as a mountain, yet flow like water. Both the mountain and the water surrender, trust and allow, through strength, courage and flow. To allow is to be free of judgment and expectations, with no need for control or power-over. To allow is to receive.

Receive: Is to open ourselves to the gifts and wonders of the universe. Can you allow yourself to receive what the divine and your soul desires for you?  Many of ththe difficult and painful life experiences we have, are intended for us to receive unconditional love, acceptance and freedom, as we move through the struggle and pain. To receive requires us to feel worthy and deserving of the gift. We receive through the people, places and experiences that makes up our life. From the higher soul perspective, our life experiences offer us opportunities to be a STAR. To: Surrender, Trust and Allow, is to open our inner pathway to Receive divine love, goodness and truth.

Why Am I Here?

Many people struggle with the question, Why am I here? Why am I having this experience? We struggle with seeing the higher perspective and meaning to our experiences, especially painful ones.
In my book Just Be Love, I talk about the soul in human form, being here to experience, to create, to remember love, to serve, and to expand in awareness. Love is the primary mode for our life journey. Our experiences ask us to: Understand, Accept, have Courage, Compassion, and to Forgive or Reconcile. These concepts are acts of love, promoting healing, inner peace, spiritual maturity and growth.

It seems the more we can come to Understand our life experiences from the higher perspective, the greater our ability to Accept the “what is” of life experiences, especially the difficult or painful ones. When we can accept, rather than expect, we have fewer disappointments. Acceptance connects us more deeply with the divine, puts us on the path to freedom, divine love is freedom. With acceptance, comes the Courage to change what we can, which is often just ourselves, i.e. our perspective, thoughts, belief, attitude, and behavior. To alter our life, we must alter the belief and attitude in our mind and open our heart. silhouette-in-sunAcceptance is to embrace life and love. We can’t change something in our life, unless we accept how life is in this moment. It helps us gain greater clarity of our life and how we are moving through it. Acceptance brings inner power and confidence back to us, to move forward in our journey. It opens our mind to entertain and create new possibilities beyond our created story and illusion, to more fully learn the intended lesson of the experience. This creates expanded awareness and growth in body, mind and spirit. Courage is an act of love, and the willingness to move your life forward from what you have accepted.Acceptance and Courage generates the willingness to step out of our comfort zone, in order to move through change with a greater degree of ease and grace.

To have Compassion, is to be present with the pain, without judging, blame or being defined by it. This is especially important with the self. Self-compassion softens the inner critic, and is an elevated path to higher learning, inner happiness and joy. Compassion creates space for new possibilities to come to be.

To Forgive or Reconcile the self or another for an error or feeling of injustice, is to move beyond the wounded self, and set the prisoner free- the prisoner being ourselves. The act of forgiveness helps us rise above the wrongdoing, and choose love and peace over guilt, judgment, grievance or resentment.

To Understand, Accept, have Courage, Compassion, and to Forgive, is to Serve and Remember Love. It is to punch a hole through our cloud of darkness and illusion, in order to illuminate the light and love of truth within our experiences, in order to discover the true and divine self, and Rise as Love, because Love is who we are.

 

 David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of “Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey.” His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. Visit his website: transitionpathways.com