I recently read a book called “Daughter of the Moon Goddess” by Sue Lynn Tan. What I liked most about the main character, Xingyin, is that she always finds a way. That way is rarely easy, but it always keeps propelling her towards her goals; and she learns from each experience. When she first starts learning the skills that will help her along her path, she says this, “I was eager to learn more about the skills which could help me become stronger. Powerful enough to withstand the winds of change or to shift its course, instead of yielding under the slightest breeze.” This is the mindset that I’ve tried to carry with me through recent transitions in my life. Seeking out ways to become stronger and more resilient to change.

It hasn’t always been easy, and I’ve had just as many hard days as good days, but taking the time to learn is helping me to move forward in a better way. Because ultimately, even if I go through something similar again, it will never be exactly the same. I will never have this exact chance to learn the skills that will come from this situation.

If you find yourself also going through a transition, and/or trying to build the skills that will help you withstand the winds of change, here are a few of the things I’ve learned along the way.

(If this is all too much for you right now, scroll down to the very bottom and at least read the last line. <3)

These lessons have come from many small ah-ha moments, from different places and people – my therapist, quotes I’ve seen on Instagram, conversations with other people, books, and my own experiences. Your situation, your life experiences, and your own personality are different than mine, so please take what resonates and leave what doesn’t. We go through so many different transition points in our lives, and the lessons that come with each are different. I’m not here to tell you what to do or what not to do, just to offer encouragement and share what has helped me.

1) You don’t have to do everything right now.

Often, when we go through a big change, we feel like we have to get everything done right away. And sometimes, yes, there are things that time sensitive, but if we really step back and look, there are a lot of things we’ve piled onto our plates that don’t have to be there right now.

For example, my house is in complete disarray at the moment. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I like to have things organized and clean. My craft room is usually messy, but everything else in the house is normally in order. As all of the transition first started, I felt like I had to sort everything out and get my house back to where it was. What I realized though, is that trying to do so was actually causing me more stress than just letting it be for a while.

Cleaning and having everything organized was something that I felt like had to be done ASAP, but it wasn’t. What was causing me to feel that way was the idea that I had to move on quickly and “get through it”. I didn’t want to be stuck in the uncomfortable in between space, and I thought that getting my house back together would make it all magically move forward. But that’s not the case. I would have had a clean, organized house, but that wouldn’t have changed the timing of anything going on.

2) You don’t even have to have everything figured out right now.

Extending out from the house, I felt like I needed to figure out how I was going to do everything else in my life from here moving forward too. I needed to know the who, what, when, where, how and why of absolutely everything and have a map drawn out for the future. Which in and of itself is unrealistic. As this whole experience is showing me, things change. So any map I would draw out would be altered many times over.

Instead, I’m doing my best to remind myself that it’s ok to figure things out as I go. In fact, it’s actual preferable in a lot of ways. In figuring it out as I go, I’m making more decisions from a place of what I actually want to do versus making decisions from a place of heightened emotions.

3) Sometimes you need less during stressful periods in life.

Less peopling. Less noise. Less decisions to make. Less to do in general. Give yourself permission to say no. To step back from things for a bit if you need to. And don’t feel guilty or ashamed for doing so. Take care of YOU. You’re important too.

I took almost the entire month of May away from posting on Instagram, and didn’t do any formal writing. I enjoy sharing my photos and experiences with people, but it felt like too much on most days. So, I took a step back. At first, I beat myself up about it. I told myself that I was being silly, being over dramatic, and/or that I needed to toughen up. But the truth was…I needed the stillness. I needed the space.

After reminding myself repeatedly that I’m human, and that my experience is my own, I finally allowed myself to settle in to resting more, reading more, and just existing.

4) The only way out is through.

When we go through a transition point in our lives, we often want to get it over with as quickly as possible. Get through the hard bits and on to the next chapter. But I’m learning that the transition isn’t just a bridge from one side to the other, it’s part of the journey forward. The transition is PART of the next chapter.

It’s in this period where (if we allow it) we begin to release what’s behind us. We start learning more about ourselves and what we’re capable of. We start paying more attention to what we like and don’t like. To what we want to keep moving forward and what we want to let go of. (This applies to things, emotions, relationships, habits, and lifestyles alike.)

It’s in this period that we start to imagine what we want our lives to look like moving forward. (and remember #2 here…you don’t have to figure it all out at once.)

So as much as possible, try not to rush yourself through it. Take it one day, one decision, one thing at a time.

5) Give yourself permission to feel the emotions as you go.

With this one, I’m not suggesting that you walk around and throw your emotions onto everyone and everything around you. What I AM saying is that, when you get to a safe space, allow yourself to cry, to be angry, or to feel whatever emotions are coming up for you. When we bottle these emotions up, and never give ourselves the chance to feel them, they get stuck and cause issues later. They come out on the wrong people, at the wrong time, or in the wrong places. Even worse, they end up making us sick, stealing our energy, and keeping us from fully moving forward.

Find ways to release these emotions, that are beneficial. Through things like journaling, talking to a therapist, taking a walk, hitting a punching bag, doing somatic release exercises (like yoga, tapping, or Qigong), creating art, or gardening. You’d be surprised how cathartic it is to pull weeds or to sling paint at a board when you’re angry. =) 

6) Remember that healing is not linear.

It’s a truth that can be frustrating. We want so badly to get through it and be done with it. Unfortunately though, that’s not how it works.

I got really frustrated with myself early on because I felt like I should be moving forward faster. I compared myself to how other people were in similar situations. I would have several good days, then one would creep up where I found myself feeling what I considered to be negative emotions again. When this happened, I beat myself up for going backwards, for dwelling, or for not being able to control my emotions. But what was really happening, was the normal healing process.

As we’re going through transitions, and healing from things that have happened to us, it’s normal to have good days and hard days. It’s normal to have several good days and then a rough one. It’s normal feel completely fine and then suddenly be hit with a “negative” emotion. (And really, even the negative emotions aren’t negative.)

The fact that we’re having these fluctuations says nothing about how well we’re doing on our journey. They simply let us know that we’re human.

7) Find a therapist that you feel comfortable with and make regular appointments.

Yes, it’s ok to talk to friends and family…if they are safe people, but talking to a therapist is the best way to get unbiased help working through the things that come up along the way. They will help you find those places that you may be getting stuck or tripped up and give you tools to move forward.

If you find yourself in the middle of the winds of change too, know that my thoughts are with you.

It’s not easy, being in limbo. It can be scary, exciting, and all of the other emotions to think about what lies ahead. But remember this: you are doing better than you think you are. Don’t let your fear and anxiety tell you otherwise.

And if this is all too much right now, just remember this: Give yourself time. Give yourself space. Give yourself love. Give yourself grace.  <3