As we outgrow certain aspects of our lives, such as jobs, relationships, and ways of thinking, there is often a transition period to the new place we are heading for. The time between the decision to make a change and seeing the results firmly rooted in our lives can be one of the hardest times we experience. It’s full of uncomfortably unfamiliar territory, tests our patience, our strength, and our desire to “stick it out” to get to that new place. It often requires letting go of people and places we’ve known for a long time without a clear idea who or what will fill that void. But have heart, because these transition periods are important in anchoring us into the new. We often look at them as unforgiving periods of time when nothing seems to be going right. We just want the new to happen NOW that we forget to transition isn’t just important, it plays into our natural rhythms.
I know myself, when I really commit to going forward, I struggle with the feelings that things are changing too slowly, or worse, that I’m not handling it right and I should run back to the familiar. When we are clamoring and fighting to get to a new place in our lives it can be helpful to meditate on the way a day transitions to night, and of course vice versa.
The way the sun sets allows for the calm and quiet of dark to ease in, gracefully winding down a day. If the darkness came too fast it would be a frightening experience, pretty shocking, rather than one that gently opens our world to the stars and beyond. Twilight is a wonderful reminder that even in nature change comes at a steady pace, and for good reason.
Can you imagine if each day the sun was gone in a second? It would cause chaos as people walking down the street suddenly couldn’t see, drivers were bathed in darkness, and so on. It’s true that we could adapt to such conditions, but since we live in a world that transitions each day we can appreciate it, and also what it shows us about our own lives. The time it takes to transition from the old to new is a gentle process that eases us in at a rate we’re comfortable with. As the sun goes down your eyes work in different ways as they adjust to the dark, you experience the world a little different, and you generally prepare for the next phase: nighttime. In the same way, a transition period, although rough in nature, is strengthening new things in you and preparing you for the next phase.
During the twilight and dusk hours the lighting is often at its most beautiful; it is subtle, soft, and shows us things in a different way as the lighting continually changes. Transition times can also be beautiful times in our lives that show us things about ourselves and our world that can only be glimpsed in that small window of time. During dawn there is no real evidence that the sun is coming, that a brand new day is in the process of beginning. We just know it’s coming because things are different. If we consider what the light and feeling was like a few hours prior we know that things are in fact changing. Then as the sun peaks over the horizon our hope turns into reality, and we are comforted with the knowledge that the new is here once again. It is also so in our lives when we’re trapped between the new and old; we can stop, look around, and note what’s different. Perhaps you realize that a draining friend just isn’t around so much, or you don’t sit in front of the TV as long as before, or you took the stairs at work in the morning for the first time. These things are signs that you’re dawn will brighten into a new day, and when it feels painful and hard give yourself some love, because you deserve it.
Don’t negate your feelings or berate yourself for being too weak. Have you ever seen a baby chick being hatched? It’s exhausting for that little chicky! That chicky is fighting with every inch of power it has, and against what? A shell as thin as our fingernails. The barrier and the force of that barrier is mighty powerful to the baby chick, and no one would deny the chicky is a strong and brave little bird to breakthrough all its ever know to enter a world totally full of new.
And if you are stuck in your own twilight perhaps you can stop, look around, and ask, “What is here that wasn’t before? What have I overcome to get to this point? What can I gain from this? What am I letting go of? What can I see only in this moment, and what can I learn from it?”
We all have our own metaphorical eggshells that we want to breakthrough. And when we get through them, when the fight is over, would we ever go back inside our eggshells? Of course not. Once you’re free you’re exploring a whole new world, and there’s nothing more glorious than that. Please be sure and congratulate yourself for your bravery! Your own twilight, your transition period, will end in a way that’s right for you, and trust in the new just as you trust each day the sun will rise.