Tag Archives: Conversations with God

Transition

This word and I have been getting to know each other very well over the past few years. Transition: n. The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. The Latin prefix trans- means “across,” “beyond,” or “on the opposite side.” When I was teaching English, one huge marker of writing maturity to note was when students were able to transition smoothly between ideas within and among paragraphs. At school right now we talk all the time about how we are helping students transition from 6th to 7th grade, or from 8th grade to high school. In classrooms, experienced educators are aware of a need to budget transition time into lessons and plan how to transition from one activity to the next.

The transition from California to Alaska has been nothing short of an adventure. Last June, when I arrived, my only goal was to get here in one piece and try to stay in one piece while I adjusted mentally to leaving life in California behind. That turned out to be about as hard as I expected it to be, as it became very clear exactly how many miles I was from my best friends (excepting Husband, of course) and my family. We had the support of Husband’s parents as we crashed on one side of their house, but last summer still felt like limbo. Going into town regularly to work out at Crossfit Fairbanks was one of the few things that kept me grounded.

As summer faded (transitioned?) into fall, I could feel myself starting to get antsy. Because I hadn’t wanted to job hunt seriously when I initially showed up in Alaska, I started to worry that I had set myself up for a miserably dark, purpose-less first winter. Over time, thankfully, things fell into place, as they have a way of doing. All it took was for me to say to Husband, “I’m afraid I’m going to be bored,” and in a matter of weeks, seemingly, I was back to being in a normal state of busy-ness (which is sometimes better known as being over-committed). Working, coaching, curling, consulting, and more.

In mid-November I thought that I might attempt to harm Husband for bringing me to a place that is so physically demanding. This seasonal transition was abrupt: from a lovely extended fall season, we fell off into a week of 40-below temperatures and rapidly extending darkness. Were it not for curling and a real reason to get out of the house and socialize in the evenings, who knows how we would have survived the looooooong winter season. By early March I thought I was going to lose my mind and promptly planned to take a vacation to see friends in California late in April.

At last it is starting to be summer. They said on the radio yesterday that the official temperature in town was above 70 — yahoo! Today was the last day of this school year, and in about ten days we should be homeowners, barring any unforeseen complications. One would think that I should be relieved and overjoyed about getting closer to this elusive idea of “home” and being more settled. Somewhere under the layers of stress, I do feel those feelings. I am proud of myself for toughing it out this past year, at times very gracefully, and at times in tears. I get that all of those moments are a part of who I am and that they just are — neither good nor bad.

When I contemplate this Next Step, there is the exhilaration of finally renewing our independence and getting to fill a space with our energy, our love, our style. Along with that comes a reality check that we are investing in this location for a little while — who knows for exactly how long — and that is an idea that is still settling with me. I always thought that I’d grow up one day and have a house of my own, though I never pictured it way up here in the 49th state. But here’s what I have come to understand in the past 11 months: me being uncomfortable does not equate to me being unhappy. Being uncomfortable, being pushed outside of the box (whether it’s imagined or real) is often a necessary part of growth. Being unhappy usually has something to do with being afraid (of making a decision, of dealing with something, of not knowing what will come next, of what others think, etc, etc.)

This current time of transition is not easy, and I am working on giving myself the space to think about why. In the meantime, I will keep the following thought in mind, from another quote from Neale Donald Walsch in Conversations with God:

“Know and understand that there will be challenges and difficult times. Don’t try to avoid them. Welcome them. Gratefully. Cultivate the technique of seeing all problems as opportunities. Opportunities to…be, and decide, Who You Really Are.”

Advertisements

Being Scared

“The Laws are very simple. 1. Thought is creative. 2. Fear attracts like energy. 3. Love is all there is.”

-Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God

As a little kid, being afraid meant covering my eyes at the part of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video when he turns around with the demonic yellow eyes, or covering my ears and singing a little ditty I called “Potato Head kids” during scary movie preview music (“potato head kids, potato head kids, I love potato kids I sure do do”). It meant playing hide and go seek or Sardines in the dark of a basement and wondering whether actual intruders would also think to hide in the spots where I could hide.

When I finally read Conversations with God almost a decade ago, the thought that stuck with me longest was this: all of our decisions come from a place of fear, or they come from a place of love. All negative feelings, by whatever name we may call them, come from the root of fear, and the same for all the feelings of light and joy, which stem from love. When I look back at my life and reflect on the times when I have felt uncertain, afraid to move forward, or felt a general lack of fulfillment, I felt paralyzed. Like things were happening to me, other people around me were making decisions, and my sense of agency had temporarily disappeared. Not surprisingly, coming out on the other side of Fear was a renewal of self-love and Freedom. I know this from when my now-husband and I decided to commit to our relationship and live together before we got married; I know this from being able to quit a once-loved job and finding that I have many other talents and passions; I know this from trusting my marriage enough to leave a familiar place and begin a new adventure and life with my husband. Even though now we live physically farther away from any of my closest friends and family than I have my entire life, I feel so connected to him and spiritually connected to my loved ones. Maybe I wasn’t willing to try so hard when seeing friends and family seemed more feasible, but now I know better and treasure those relationships even more.

I won’t pretend to myself that I will never again feel fearful or worried or confused about what I am “supposed” to be doing. What I will remind myself is that the Universe is unfolding as it should, speaking to me in all of the interactions of my daily life. Why else, in the same week, would I have received: 1)a reflection from my old church about listening to God’s call, 2) an email from my sister saying that she started her own blog and encouraging me to do the same, and 3) the gift of a conversation with my dear friend who is in the midst of taking her own leap of faith into the next Step of her life journey. In listening to and talking to all of them, I am reassured that I am exactly where I need to be right now.