Everything has some sort of cycle or rotation. Days become nights which return to day. Winter becomes spring and then summer and fall. Cycles occur in small and in big ways and within the cycle there is always some sort of transformation. These cycles occur in our lives as well and are calling us towards a fuller expression of ourselves and inviting us to experience joy and purpose.
Joy and purpose are really the bottom line. I remember when I worked for Starbucks there was an expression "Love what you do and share it with others". Being able to experience that statement is part of the reason I worked there as long as I did. Over time however, something started to change and shift, then one day I couldn't ignore it any longer. I got to work and was overcome with anxiety. The awareness hit me....oh my god I can't do this anymore. ( I was a Manager at the time) I went to the walk in clinic and got a Doctor's note and took 2 weeks off. I don't recall exactly, how long I was off work but it was about 5 months. For the first time in my life I "stopped"... I took time for me and I did some real soul searching. I went and saw a counselor and took a serious look at my health and weight issues. In the end I returned to Starbucks to an hourly position. I feel it important to share that the entire process of this transformation went on for over 2 yrs. During that time, Starbucks provided a safe place for me to go through this and supported me with respect and dignity the whole time. For that I am grateful. As I share the 5 stages, I will continue the story.
"When you're lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you've just wandered off the path, that you'll find your way back to the trail head any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it's time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don't even know from which direction the sun rises anymore.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
The 5 Stages Of Transformation And Change
Awareness ~ Sometimes you find awareness on your own and sometimes like in my story, awareness finds you. Either way, something is going to change and you are being shown the signs. You may begin to notice aspects of your life that are out of balance. You may notice that you are reacting to others in unexpected ways. You may have a lack of energy or focus. At the end of the day it's about waking up and realizing that something must change. In the example above my awareness came with a familiar feeling of anxiety, which was a feeling I had not had for sometime. I knew immediately that something had to change.
Answering the Call ~ Awareness is like a ringing phone you either ignore it or answer. To answer is to say "YES" to the next steps. It is your immediate action of taking a first step. For me my first step was to go to the Doctor. Interesting to note is that when I went to the clinic there was nobody there. There is always a wait. I got in to see the Doctor immediately. (In case I hadn't noticed the other signs...I was being supported in my action) Often taking the first step will open the flood gate of next steps.
Embracing the Uncertainty ~ This is the part where your inner critic wakes up with the voice of doubt. You can't do this..... You need to work..... People will judge you..... You'll be poor.... In a lot of cases the folks around you will start to freak out a little as well. However, there was a deep knowing inside me which I simply could not ignore. I knew that in the end it would all work out even though I was a little uncertain of what that would look like. The currency at this stage is "TRUST" and a healthy dose of irrational optimism (Thanks Lynda & Essence for that term)
Letting Go ~ This stage often comes with some significant inner struggle it is the last chance that you have to remain connected to your life as you know it. You know deeply that nothing will be the same after you let go. You know, that you may never be able to go back to the life that you once had. For me I knew (I think 5 months later) that I would never be a manager at Starbucks again I had to either quit or step down. I needed to jump in order to see the possibilities. In the end I stepped down and my life began to take a very different path.
New Beginning ~ For the caterpillar the new beginning is that it is now a beautiful butterfly. The new beginning is a place of unexpected circumstances that you could never see were possible from the stage of awareness. You are washed over by a sense of peace and calm, knowing that it was all worth it. For me the relief that came from not having responsibility and to be able to have some fun and freedom while continuing to do what I loved and enjoyed was brilliant.
I think it was about 5 months later that my next cycle of transformation was to begin.... Ahhh life :-)