Article:
Life Transitions

 A few years ago, I spent the year in Canada, and had a wonderful year of rejuvenation and creativity. When I returned, I drove west across Canada and down the coast to return to my home in California. For 2500 miles I traveled across flat dry prairies, over snow-covered mountains and through pine forests spattered with blue-green lakes, rainforests, redwoods and along stunning coastal highways. The dramatic changes in landscape allowed me to reflect on the changes I had been through in the past year - work, family, and newfound creative pursuits. I arrived home to a landscape and culture that felt radically different from where I had lived for the past year.

Strangely, my car radio almost completely stopped working when I crossed the border into California, a state more populated that the entire country of Canada. As I drove into my local territory, I could only faintly hear one familiar radio station. In the ensuing days and weeks, gradually the stations on my radio began to come back into range, one by one.

The process of familiar radio stations disappearing and then gradually returning seemed somehow fitting for a period of transition. Although it's been said that "change is the only constant," changes do seem to shake up our world and the way we see things, including ourselves. Whether the transition is a positive one, such as a desired move or job change, or one out of our control, like a break-up or lay-off, it forces us to shift our views of life. Like it or not, life change provide the opportunity to re-think our priorities, let go of old patterns, and establish the new. It can help us to "tune in" to new information about what we need in our lives.

During the first weeks home, I felt ungrounded and disoriented, and found that I had difficulty even driving to familiar places, frequently forgetting my keys and phone number. When I realized I was avoiding unpacking the last box from my year away, it dawned on me that I did not want to feel the loss of what I left behind in Canada - new friends, community, and new insights about my life. It takes courage to face the grief of a transition, to look at what is packed away that we want to integrate into our life, and what we need to let go of. We may need to shift our old beliefs about ourselves into something new. We may realize that we have changed, and this requires that we change our way of thinking about our lives. It may mean altering the way we see relationships, changing the negative beliefs we have about ourselves, or even shifting our spiritual beliefs.

I believe that all life transitions bring the potential for growth. As a therapist, I enjoy guiding people to explore change in their lives, gently, supportively and non-judgementally. I provide a safe place to explore feelings, beliefs, and transform the change or loss into something positive and life-enhancing. I assist people in "unpacking" the feelings about the transition, and "tuning in" to the positive changes they wish to make.

If you are facing a transition or loss in your own life, you may want to consider therapy as a tool to assist you on your path. Call me at (510) 260-4552 if you are interested in a free consultation about therapy.