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Archive for January, 2013

CC manual project #10

Once I’ve finished reading a speech project I need to take stock before I can begin. Sometimes clarity comes quickly and I plunge in. I have my bearings and I can set my paddle in motion. Other times my idea list has to be set adrift and I recast my net in search new possibilities. If I’m not able to find my focus I flounder in the ocean of betwixt and between. I resurface, float for a while, get re-centred, dream, weave and begin again. During the crossing I picture how I’ll step onto dry land but I seldom arrive in time to rehearse it.

Like you, I embarked on this voyage with excitement and enthusiasm. The passage requires that we draw on our own resources but we do so in the presence of supportive companions and a well-charted map. I’ve gained a clearer understanding of the process and an appreciation for the courage and tenacity that we put into it. Personal development is a metamorphosis. We are in transit.

We experience many transitions during our lives. Sometimes we may know or sense that it’s coming. Life doesn’t feel right as it is. It’s time to move on. An event may trigger it. Other times it might take us by complete surprise. We lose our job. We lose a close friend or family member. We experience a debilitating accident. We find out we’re ill. Everyone here can relate. Right? We’ve all experienced transitions. It’s the process we undergo when we move from the end of one phase in our life to the beginning of the next phase. We can be in transit for half a year, a year, or several years. However long it takes to complete the transition. It may move us forward. It may not. We undergo contraction and expansion in transit.

Last winter I talked about how the parts of my life that gave me joy were threatened when I was hit by a van and my determination to recover. It was the catalyst that forced a transition. I knew I wasn’t living my dream. I knew I wanted to be doing something else. I needed to let go in order to move on. I started to prepare for my goodbye. This had a couple components. I wanted to get to a larger vision but had always failed to reach it. Leaving that part of my life meant I had to take care of a smaller dream first. It would test my strengths. It would help me rediscover who I am.

The smaller dream was my independent travel journey. It was an elephant in the larger, or next, dream. I had tried to address it with a couple of shorter trips but realized they were just preparation and I had to go on this journey to South America. It was the way I had to say goodbye. I pictured this trip, cleaned out the closet, equipped myself with what I needed, and put the plan into action.

The idea was that after my journey I’d return to Canada, pick up any job while I fleshed out the fuzziness in the next dream and start on it. But I ran into a couple of unanticipated problems.  I was in a small town unable to get any work there or within a couple hours distance and, I had walked into my parents’ transition.

My father was trying to hold onto the past. He knew my mother had changed but hadn’t really come to terms with it. She has Alzheimer’s Disease. He was trying to keep their home together but his health wasn’t great and this was a major strain. He was unable to let go. Where an accident had been the catalyst for my transition, I was now the shove in my father’s transition.

It’s difficult to push someone who is stubborn. You need to coax them. They have to be ready to accept change before they can move forward. I helped my father enter the between & betwixt stage. A transition takes time. It took me a few years to move from leaving my old self to realizing a new self.

My brother and sister-in-law helped him enter the next phase. He moved into a retirement lodge but held onto the house. He let go of the house when he came to terms with who he was now. He kept feeding the birds and, not really trusting the staff, he kept buying his own medications. He visited my mother a few times a week – she was now in a long term care facility – and he developed some very close friendships. He was happy in his new life.

My father completed the transition. My daughter has the strength, vision and plan to realize her gender transition. My father’s death sparked this transition for her. It also taught me to go back and revisit the areas where I get stuck. It renewed my energy to turn my fuzzy dream into a more manageable dream and work on a plan to realize it. I’ve wanted my own business for a long time. It’s difficult to move from almost four years of poverty to being self-employed but I’m creating a natural soap and body care line and a new me.

To move from where we are to where we what to be is a process. We need to understand our strengths and which may need further development. We need to understand our weaknesses and take care that they don’t undermine our efforts. We need to consider our other resources and where we might need help.

We will be in transit many times over our lives. We need to say goodbye and mourn our old self, figure out who we are, start becoming that person and, become our new self. Each transition requires a dream. Change requires courage, confidence, curiosity, commitment and control. Strengths that each of you have.  … Mr. Toastmaster.

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