When my kids were young I actually dreaded transitions – my boys didn’t do them well. Even with all the warnings, structured requests, and ongoing cajoling (I read all the parenting books!), just getting them to the dinner table was difficult let alone getting them out of bed, dressed, out of the house, and to school on time. When I get honest with myself I realize that I don’t do transitions very well either. I try to fit one more thing in before taking a break – I’m running behind most of the time. Transition is change and it feels hard, irritating, and sometimes sad.
Transformation, on the other hand, is a word I love so much I named my business for it! It’s a word full of possibilities and I feel the freedom of it in my body. Transformation starts within me and grows and blossoms into something new. Transition seems like a “should, have, ought to” – "I have to …" (name whatever chore or action I don’t feel like doing). Transitions are foisted upon me by my circumstances and the rhythm of the day, whereas transformation is created through and with me.
And as much as I love the word and experience of transformation, it’s not easy. It’s change just as transition is change. So, I wonder, what’s the work here? Is it choosing transformation? Is it letting go and moving with all the changes? Is transformation really the process of letting go? So many questions. Here’s what I do know.
Transformation is a process – we don’t notice the little changes happening and suddenly it’s all new. It’s built on cellular change. Just as our perspective changes in bits and pieces so do our bodies. The average age of cells in our bodies is 7 to 10 years. Yet that’s invisible to us until it’s not. Transformation is running under the surface – we are constantly changing, different now than just before. Transformation is about being present and at choice. It’s about moving with not against. It’s about stepping into the river, getting wet, even getting swept into the current – feeling the force of it and moving with it. It’s about leaving behind what came before.
As Richard Rohr reminds us “Change is both new beginning and a loss. The word change normally refers to new beginnings. But the mystery of transformation more often happens not when something new begins, but when something old falls apart. The pain and chaos of something old falling apart invite the soul to listen at a deeper level, and sometimes force the soul to go to a new place. Most of us would never go to new places in any other way.”
We are transformed when we go to a “new place,” and this happens from the inside out. Transitions often happen without transformation, but transformation requires transition, it requires change. It’s how we grow and develop. It’s the both/and of loss and gain. Where are you at in your transformation? Are you stuck in the many decisions of transition? Let’s chat about how you can blossom from the inside out and step into transformation.
Caroline Cochran, PhD is a Certified Presence-Based® Coach and a Leadership Development Consultant with over 25 years of experience.