Sometimes we are presented with words or an intuitive hit or a light on the path that seems exactly the right clue you need to answer a pressing question in your life. Reading the latest blog post, "Transition," of environmentalist, poet, and Buddhist practitioner Gary Horvitz, I found another perspective on questions that come up for so many people I've coached who are in the process of making important career and other life changes— also known as a transitional time, or simply, a "transition."
"What is a transition?"
"I think I'm in one now— what do I do?"
"How does the disorientation and confusion of my transition lead to the change
I want to make?"
Notice in the part of Gary's post below what he has to say about the "being" part of a transition that comes from a deep, inner place where "poetry arises," too. I'm guessing that Gary probably wrote a lot of poetry during this period of internal not-knowing, gradually finding words to bring together tantalizing wisps of intuition, feelings, and uncertainty. As his path gradually clarified for him, he decided to live in Thailand for a time and try cultivating in himself what Buddhism calls "spontaneous presence," or appreciating life fully, in the moment.
Living in this more unsettled and unknown way, Gary found that transitions arise naturally, are as much about being as doing, and have moments of feeling timeless and boundless. Therefore, they are "generative," energizing, and the stuff from which quality changes in our lives can arise if we approach this part of our journey with curiosity and awareness.
As Gary writes—
"I'll just step right out on a limb here and say that poetry arises out of transition. Or at least that's where mine seems to come from. It is that instant, or a succession of instants, in which the mind and body become free for an instant, in which I sense being without moorings, my attention drifting into the larger picture, the larger questions and uncertainties of the moment.
There isn't merely a single one of those instants that beckons for resolution, that nags like a thorn in the side, even in sleep. It's the ongoing state. Oh, a sense of being uncoupled may be a persistent sensation of being in the world as it is unfolding today. But no, I mean there isn't a simple short term resolution that settles the question of how to be in this world.
If I looked closely, I could find a measure of transition in every day, in every encounter, in every waking moment. But that's not exactly what I am sensing now. I am referring to something inside that realizes the more essential uncertainty of life, that revels and yearns for the vitality and unceasing generative nature of it and also for a more settled sense of having made my choices, arriving at some clarity about my intentions and mission even in that context of uncertainty."
NOW . . .
Consider a major change that you've made that was really important to you. What did you experience in the way of drifting, uncertainty, feelings or not-knowing before coming to clarity and the readiness to make that change?
What new understanding do you have about transitions from Gary's experience
that you can apply to your own?