Change & Transitions

I have heard the saying that The only thing that doesn’t change in Life, is that Life changes. So maybe that is why we enjoy an old toy, a familiar favorite book, or a family heirloom. Perhaps they feel more lasting and unchangeable?

With the changing of the seasons, we are reminded that nothing really stays the same, but is dynamic, changing, and constantly in transition. It seems like summer has barely arrived, but the other day I saw the first colors of change…Autumn’s first colors!

Autumn’s First Colors!

Gradually the days and nights have been cooler here in the mountains, and in a few weeks the fall season will arrive for sure.

Whether we are ready or not, schools have begun, sweaters are taken off the shelves, and tree leaves will turn colors and fall to the earth. We will rake leaves, adjust, make the necessary changes, try to be flexible, and make the needed transition from summer to fall.

How many times do we repeat this cycle during our lifetimes? Not just from one season to the next, but from one time of life to the next? Growing up and leaving home for college? Going from being a couple to having a baby? Or, in our careers going from one job to another type of work? As an artist, working in one technique or style and changing to explore self-expression in a new medium?

So, when Life changes for us, we make the needed adjustments,

try to be flexible, and meet the challenges of each new season

as we have learned with the coming of Autumn’s first colors.

October…A Reminder of Change!

Autumn Leaves
Image by Tom Olliver via Flickr

So far this month has been one of many contrasts! The great autumn colors of the trees have seemed especially brilliant outside our windows this year. Some days have been wonderfully warm and sunny, perfect for time outdoors hiking on a mountain trail or raking the falling leaves. While on other days the temperatures have plunged below freezing, as if warning us to prepare for the coming winter!

Seasons
Image by *~Dawn~* via Flickr
Pumpkins, photographed in Canada.
Image via Wikipedia

The area farms display an abundance of pumpkins, gourds, and varieties of squashand apples to take home and find the recipes for fall dishes, such as traditional pumpkin pie, baked butternut squashapple crisp, and pumpkin soup. It is an inspiration to the eyes of an artist, as well as to the resident chef.

As the month of October ends, I am reminded of how life just does not stay constant but is always changing and transitioning into new phases.

Sometimes I am ready, sometimes not,                                                                                                                     but nature just outside my window is always there…                                                                                                                                              quietly reminding me.

Family Fridays…Life Transitions or “Moving Our World”

Wednesday was move-in day at the local university, as well as the first day of class for the public schools.

Moving InWatching parents of college freshman sit in long lines of traffic to reach the dorms and overhearing parents of young children discuss taking their children to their first day of school were reminders of some of the transitions that families face during their lifecourse.

I often ponder the idea of transitions, or changes, required in our own individual, as well as our family’s, lifetime. Sometimes this involves an actual move from one location to another, though at other times it is a life change that moves our worlds–or life as we have known it. For example, going to college, getting married, starting a career, having a baby, children growing up and leaving home, or aging parents becoming ill. While some people change and adjust more easily, many seem to resist and have difficulty making the changes smoothly without first thinking, questioning, and finally resolving the challenges that are inherent even with changes we actually want!

According to Froma Walsh, flexibility and the ability to adapt are key factors in individual and family resilience. Resilience is the ability to meet challenges and stress in ways that not only allow us to cope but even gain something positive from the experience. Not that we tend to seek out these experiences but life just seems to naturally contain them!

So why the resistance? I believe it depends, at least in part, on the timing of the transitions. When we are rested, healthy, and ready to take on the world, it seems easier to be flexible and adapt. When we are in need of rest, recuperation, and renewal, the extra challenges require of us strengths we may feel we do not have at the moment.

Moving

While helping a friend move from their apartment, I was reminded of all of the times I have moved and how much energy it required to sort, pack, and change the organization of my daily life. Things I normally had in a specific place and knew automatically where they were was disrupted and everything took more time to accomplish. Things like, Where is the soap?, …the stamps to mail a letter?–or even, Where is the post office itself?!  Of course, with time we learn these things, reorganize our living spaces, and return to some sense of normalcy…                                                                                                                                                        but good or bad, some things remain different and a transition has been made…                                                                                                                   our worlds have been moved.

*What have you found is helpful in making transitions?