It’s late summer here in the mountains of Northern California. Glimpses of an approaching fall are just beginning to appear. A few more leaves and acorns on the ground, cooler nights, shorter days.
If you’ve navigated enough transitions in life, the choices can become instinctual. Especially if you’re a squirrel.
The gray squirrels around my house are busy storing up acorns as fall approaches, going about their business in preparation for a long winter. They know just when to start this work. Winter would be too late. Spring would be too early.
For us humans, however, seasons are both internal and external. What we feel and experience emotionally and spiritually does not always align with the actual season on the calendar.
How we navigate transition depends upon the season we find ourselves in. A winter season might be mostly an inward journey as we grieve the loss of something or someone significant in our lives. No career change, no geographical move. But no less of a transition. Patient wisdom is needed for the choices we make here, as well as some outside support to process the loss.
Transitions which most resemble springtime call for different approaches and responses. These are times of new beginnings. We soak in the first rays of sunlight following a long, cold winter. We choose to celebrate the past while waiting and planning for the new to evolve and emerge. Internal motivation is high. We might want to focus on celebration and intentionality. These springtime transitions may be triggered by a necessary ending or new beginning.
What about life transitions which look and feel more like summer or fall? How can you engage meaningfully to make the most of these seasons?
Take a moment to reflect. What kind of transition season are you in? And what might be some appropriate responses?
I recently had a conversation with a friend who is in a major transition. As we talked about her approaching move, she told me about her urge to wrap up in a blanket before going to a recent team meeting. It’s not the season for blankets in her host country. Nonetheless, she wrapped up and walked out the door.
My friend’s response was not merely about staying warm physically. It was an outward response to what she was feeling and experiencing internally. Inappropriate? I don’t think so. The ways of transition can be strange and unsettling. When we stand on the precipice of major change, we may find ourselves grasping for things which bring a sense of peace and security. Even blankets in summertime.
Transition Tip: My friend wasn't afraid of her team members judging her, even if her actions seemed a bit silly. Build a support team to help you navigate your transition season. They should be people you can trust and share with at a heart level.