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Transitions in Our Lives and Their Effects

By PAULA WELLNITZ


This morning I was in a class where we considered the experience of transitions. It struck me how this applied not only to the part of society we were considering in class, but to all people in their individual lives and specific relationships.

The teacher, using ideas from a book by a man called William Bridges, showed how transitions are paradoxes in which both death and life are present.

A transition has to be a movement from one state of being to another, even though some parts of the transition feel as though no movement takes place. As she described it, the process includes 1) endings, 2) a lostness or emptiness and 3) new beginnings.

Any sense of having to end something is fear producing. We do not know what will happen when the familiar stops. That is so even if we hate the familiar. It is like dying.

Some changes in our life come unbidden. For example, we lose someone by death, we become disabled, etc. We don't plan them.

We will still have the same steps to go through. In the latter case, we sometimes have so little about ourselves we like, we are afraid we will lose that little bit too in the change.

That is why people who have problems in relationships or as individuals need support. This support can give them the trust that others also sometimes fear and feel lost, but that there really can be a new and better life for them.

We all need this support at some time and can in turn give it to others. This support often is no more that a willing ear, a letting be and a patient trust in the person(s). It is not telling them what to do or giving unfounded assurances.





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