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Reframing my experience as a transition left me with a more positive outlook. But I was nonetheless uncomfortable with the uncertainty of not knowing where the transition was taking me. I wanted to end the discomfort by trying to analyze, define, and force an explanation of it immediately I wanted it to be over. As an extrovert, externalizing my thoughts and feelings by writing them down has always been an effective way for me to recognize and understand them. I had some time on my hands so I figured this would be a good time to think and reflect and write. I decided to go on retreat. I found a retreat center, made reservations, packed about 10 thought-provoking books and my laptop and left. As I drove to the retreat center I envisioned myself sitting outside enjoying nature while I read and wrote until I achieved whatever insight was waiting for me.

When I got to the retreat center, I unpacked my books and my laptop. I took the laptop out of its case, turned it on and realized to my dismay that I had no desire whatsoever to use it. I just couldn’t bring myself to write. Similarly, I was not motivated to read any of the numerous books I had brought with me. I realized that my idea of actively reading and writing my way out of the transition was not going to work. I could not make the transition move any faster than the process needed to take.

Finally, I decided to let go and ride the change instead of resisting, denying, trying to analyze or write about it. I decided that it was OK to remain in a state of uncertainty and just give in to what was happening.

Taoist philosopher Lao Tzu wrote:

“Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”

I decided I needed to “let the mud settle and the water clear.” I chose to just wait and be open to and receive the change without having to know or try to control what the outcome would be.

I started intentionally paying attention to how I felt physically, mentally and emotionally and to make choices based on that. If I didn’t feel like writing or reading, I wouldn’t. If I felt like taking a yoga or meditation class, I did. If I didn’t, I just lay down on the grass under the shade of a beautiful big tree near my cabin, listened to birds, and looked up at the branches and leaves above me. It was fabulous. I did what I wanted when I wanted and focused my attention on whatever was occurring in the moment. I allowed myself to relax and just sit with the ambiguity of not knowing where this transition was taking me.

Read about Being, Not Doing in Part 4 of the
Change, Transition, and Transformation Series