Life Transition Counseling: Is It Spring yet?

As we flip flop between winter and spring this year, we clearly are in a transitional phase from one season to another. Tornado warnings are replaced by spring flowers one day, to be displaced by snow a week later. Transition can be full of instability and unpredictability. Being aware of this, it pays to be alert in order to adjust and adapt from a stance of balance. We might liken it to walking on a boat in rolling seas.

Cheekwood flowers

When I approach life transition counseling, I turn to the natural world. What else does nature have to teach me today as I watch the plants and trees finding their way through the transition? One observation is that plants who ride the wave well to the next experience are the ones who have more maturity. My daffodils are fine in spite of the extreme variations. Those plants who are more challenged during transition are those at a more sensitive stage. On the morning news, fruit farmers voiced concern about the strawberry plants that they nourish. These plants responded as always to warming temperatures.  Only this year the temperatures rose warmer and earlier than typical. Now that winter weather has returned, they are in a phase of life where they are VERY sensitive to the sudden temperature drop. Many may find that they don’t have the reserves to maintain their growth. These will wither as the energy retreats to the roots. 

Sometimes in transition, all we are able to do is simply stay alive. We may find that all our energy is required to maintain the connection(s) that are feeding the roots of ourselves. Outward growth has to wait, while we feed the root system to sustain the growth. It’s a continuation of winter, even as we yearn for the spring.

Young plants are tender and fragile so seek more from the environment around them. They must receive rain, nutrients in the soil, gradual increase in sunshine, as well as protection from being uprooted or trampled. This can be a valuable lesson in how to tend to the dreams that have germinated within us and seek the light of day. They require more of us than those who have secured a stronghold outside ourselves.

On the other hand, when we discover that our blossoming can withstand the whipping wind of a transition, we feel exhilarated. We continue to flourish through many abrupt and unforeseen changes of a transition. What a ride! 

Writing this, I realize that I still like to believe that I can always create for myself an easy transition like spring to summer or autumn to winter. After all, I have navigated many life transitions. Yet to do this is to ignore the chaos of life that enables us to leave winter behind and welcome the light and warmth of spring. Life moves outward again. It’s our opportunity to be an expression of beauty in the world and meet others in the unpredictability and uncertainty. It requires more of than those quieter times. This is what led me to offer life transition counseling.

How do you move within and through transition?