Thriving Women: Transitions...

Posted on June 14, 2010 at 10:40 a.m.

By: Randi Waldman

Dearest Thriving Women,
Trying to catch up with some friend phone calls on the way to work, cell phone ear piece firmly attached leaving my hands free to maneuver my way into my parking spot, grab my briefcase, purse, coffee cup and book bag as my friend and I discuss the plans for an upcoming birthday gathering.  Up the elevator I go,.....still talking - sail through the waiting room of my office.....still talking -- ready my office for the day.....still talking -- hang up, march back out to the waiting room to gather my first client, and my official workday begins.
End of day ---  last client leaves, I start returning phone calls, the familiar feeling of ear stuffed with the little, black earpiece for the phone as I do the reverse end-of-day routine of straightening up the office, watering plants, recording checks......still talking, gather briefcase, purse, coffee cup and book bag.....still talking -- out the office, down the elevator, into the car.....still talking -- and off to home.  In the garage, I end the phone calls, gather all my stuff and proceed into the house where family and friends will soon arrive to share some dinner.
Sound familiar??  Tonight I pondered the importance of transitions and how easily they get ignored and bypassed as we zoom through our days and our lives.  iTHRiVE talks about women in transition. We also talk about macro and micro cycles in our days and in the course of our lives, and small shifts that make a difference.  Some of the larger and more easily identified arenas of transitions come in the forms of graduating from high school or college, going from being single to being married, or from married to divorced.  Others might be having children or children leaving home, going back to work or retiring, experiencing illness or death in the family, or changes in our bodies and our appearance as we become mature or as we age.  These are the kind of discernible life changes that are discussed in print, in movies, and in conversations with friends.  On the whole, we have a lot of information on these topics to help guide us in a way that fits.
What we don't talk about as often are the constant adjustments and shifts that are required to be able to negotiate through our days in a conscious manner.  How do we get ourselves from sleep to wakefulness, or from a busy day into a peaceful sleep?  In the example of how I start and end my work day, how did I manage to go from one aspect of my world into another?   Not very gracefully or mindfully, I must admit.  Even as I wrote this, I felt sheepish and dismayed at how I have let the busy-ness of my life crowd out necessary transitions that would allow for each aspect to flow into the next. 
I know that I am not one for sweeping change that I can actually commit to.  I tend to resist change and return to the familiar.  I can, however, look at one aspect at a time and try to incorporate it until it is integrated in my routine.  I can then assess whether it is enough of a change to make a difference.  At that point, if I am satisfied, I can stop the process.  If the change is not enough to make a difference that works, I can add one more shift at a time until I am feeling enough of a result to feel the positive effect.   Here are some bullet points that would represent one shift at a time using my workday as a starting point:

  • Silence in the car on the way to work.
  • Stopping outside the door of my office to take a deep breath and to say to myself “I am now entering my work day….I invite a focused, productive and calm day.”
  • Do the same process for every new phase of the day…  before getting out of the car on the way home, make an intentional statement about the evening ahead and take a cleansing breath to let go of the workday.
  • Before getting out of bed in the morning, take one or two minutes to breathe, to state an intention for the day, to have a moment of gratitude, or simply to lie quietly but wakefully and savor the quiet before launching into the activity of the day.
  • When you are about to join company with another (children, friend, mate, etc.)  Take one pause before you see them and be conscious of directing your energy towards them, honoring them with mindful attention while you are together.
  • Do the same for yourself!   If you are about to have a bit of time alone, take a pause and a breath to welcome your mindful attention to YOU!!
  • Create a bedtime ritual.  Light a candle as you start to get ready for bed.  Before getting into bed, sit or stand in front of the candle, take a few deep breaths, and focus on gratitude, calmness, perhaps prayer if you are inclined towards that, or whatever brings you to a centered place.
  • Once in bed, lie still for a few moments and take note of the calm peacefulness of the night and the stillness of a house readying itself for sleep and replenishment.

To use any of these ideas would slow the day down by just a bit, and therefore add more calm and a sense of awareness to the shifts that are constantly occurring in one’s day.  As we slow things down, all parts of us benefit…..body, mind and spirit.  Let us know if you have any ideas about making the smaller transitions in a day go more smoothly, or if these suggestions help you in your own quest for daily aliveness!!
With love and mindfulness for a great week ahead,
Randi and Daniela


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