transitions. becoming.

There are balances and harmonies always shifting, always necessary to maintain…It is a matter of transitions, you see; the changing, the becoming must be cared for closely (Leslie Silko, Ceremony).

Several people important in my life are approaching a pending change of some sort in their lives. From graduation to relocation to job searches to new relationships, they all are experiencing what some might call growing pains–even if they don’t know it.

But their bodies know it, their souls know it, their cycles and rhythms know it. Because deep in their beings, in our beings, is the innate sensitivity to transition–the incessant perception of the fragile movement from here to there, now to then, this to that. 

This is not easy to notice, much less articulate, in our modern world. In fact, in many ways, our modern conveniences are designed to remove and/or shorten transitions.

Cars and flights shorten the transition of transportation, robbing us of the time to process the journey.

The butcher counter at the chain superstores removes the manual transition of farm to plate, blurring for the consumer the lines between cost and value.

Cell phones, texting, Twitter, Facebook, and even this blog compress the proximity of relationships, reducing the thoughtfulness and intention so necessary in live, human connection.

When I think back to my ancestors, or yours, or theirs, who sometimes survived and sometimes didn’t in a world without modern convenience, I am drawn to the honor they paid to transitions. Perhaps not necessarily because it was quaint and beautiful, but more so because 1) it was necessary and 2) they did not know another way.

Coming of age rites marking the change from youth to maturity.

Long, arduous nomadic journeys which had been prepared for months by an entire community, from elder to baby.

Story-telling around the fire as a way to re-live the transitions of the past.

Entire villages stopping to gather around for the birth of a child, the welcoming from there to here.

These people recognized the futility of rushing to the “next thing” and never even conceived the idea of multi-tasking or express orders. These people were there before they were here, and in the movement from those two binaries, they embraced the in-between, the change, the transition.

They processed.

And so must we. Even though we live in a world that wishes to erase the line that connects the dots, our bodies, our minds, our cycles and rhythms know this is a silly practice at best, a destructive one at worst.

Is there something in your life changing? About to change? Are you in a transition?

Perhaps you don’t even know it–yet. So let’s approach it from a different way. Are you restless? Inexplicably grumpy or short-tempered? Is the energy you’re vibing unsettling? Can you not sit still? Or perhaps you’re lethargic?

Any of these might be signs that you are not tending to, or are rushing, the sacred transition–whatever that may be in your life.

Today, I thought about this and talked about this with my seniors, who are one of the people I mentioned earlier approaching a transition. One particular class has been antsy, dramatic, off, and distracted lately. And of course they are. Deep within them, yet unknown to them, they are processing an enormous transition. Some of them will be the first to graduate high school in their family, the first to go to college. Some of them will leave the families they have loved, and some of them will stay with the families who have driven them crazy. Some of them will separate from the truest friends of their lives, or the most dependable adults they know, or the safest environment in which they can be themselves. And so, in a society where transitions are not addressed and honored, they act out, without even realizing it.

Their bodies see it. Their minds acknowledge it. Their cycles and rhythms feel it.

There are balances and harmonies always shifting, always necessary to maintain…It is a matter of transitions, you see; the changing, the becoming must be cared for closely (Leslie Silko, Ceremony).

Let us become a people who see transitions, who honor them in each other–but also in ourselves. Let us give ourselves grace as we move from the here to there, the now to then, the this to that.

Let us care closely for our becomings.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. HarrietInBloom
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 20:24:14

    This is beautifully written. You’re right, we’ve stopped honoring transitions and instead we ignore or even resist them, expecting ourselves and others to adapt to new situations or circumstances seamlessly with little to no support. When we struggle with transition, we beat ourselves up about it, forgetting that others have struggled too. Instead we need to embrace the struggle, learn from it, grow from it, and remember it fondly.



  2. edpeters06
    Feb 25, 2014 @ 22:47:37

    I love this on so many levels, Mary. Beautifully written. This would also make for a beautiful speech at the end of the year.



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