I’ve always thought of August as a month of transition, from summer to fall, vacation to back to school, lush greenery to autumn red and yellow. I am feeling the turning. My remaining summer days don’t feel as carefree because autumn is coming. All this anticipation of what’s to come has created a barrier to my being able to enjoy the moment.
How does this translate to how we transition in our lives from career to retirement, marriage to divorce, youth to old age…the changes are numerous and varied, but they all have several things in common: Anticipation, Anxiety and Worry. When we enter this realm of ” what ifs”, we create our own barriers to finding our way through transition.
I want to guide you through each of these barriers to explore how immobilizing they can be and what you can do to find your way forward.
Anticipation … Have you ever found yourself anticipating a doctor or dentist appointment, a test, a move, or any unknown that is coming your way? You may find that your ability to enjoy a day at the beach, meeting with friends or any enjoyable acitivity disappearing throught the fog of anticipation. You start playing the “what if” game…over and over again in your head.
What if I can’t find a way to a better life after divorce? Will I ever meet someone who will love me unconditionally? What if I lose all of the energy and vitality I enjoy now and descend into feeling old, ill and forgotten? Who will I be in retirement if I don’t have my career identity?
Anxiety … We start with anticipating one negative and suddenly a mountain of negatives has got us in its grip. From this mountain of negatives that we are anticipating come anxieties about all that we believe is going to happen. Fears take hold and we lose sight of any sense of direction we may have had. We may feel these anxieties in the pit of our stomach, the tension in our shoulders or the clenching of our teeth. We may be sleeping or eating too much or too little.
Worry … Anxiety becomes constant worry of what we imaging will happen. Our worry centers on the worst case scenarios and interferes with our ability to face the uncertainty of transition with any clarity or belief that we have the ability to figure things out and see choices for how we can become who we want to be.
In order to change, we need to be able to let go of our past and not become consumed with worries about a future we cannot predict.
The antidotes to Anticipation, Anxiety and Worry are:
- Taking a Breath and Giving Yourself a Break. Can you feel some relief as you take that breath and allow yourself to relax?
- Focusing on your present. What do you see, hear, taste, touch and smell when you are fully present?
- Be in the moment and be aware of how it feels in your body.
Rather than anticipating, being anxious and worrying about fall coming and saying farewell to carefree, sunny days, I am taking that breaht and giving myself a break. I am focusing on the present and soaking up all the sunshine, abundance, gratitude and beauty of each August day that is left. And…I am noticing that I feel lighter and happier.
Yes, September is coming, but I can enjoy these last days of August fully and know that they will be back again. The change into fall will come and i will transition without regret because I have not missed enjoying the last bit of summer. Wishing you that breath and break to enjoy it too!