“If you focus on what you’ve left behind you will never be able to see what lies ahead” —Ratatouille
The embrace of a new beginning is beautiful.
New beginnings are an experiment where each of us chooses to re-imagine our lives— beyond societal rules, norms, expectations, etc.— a concentrated effort to start a new phase of life that forces us to make choices and be courageous. Though phases of life can come in all shapes, sizes and forms (such as getting married, buying a house, having kids, etc.), it is also instigated by a deep inner need for change and growth.
As I begin to transition into a new chapter of my life, I find myself grieving for the old one, as I slowly detach myself from old routines and old feelings to recover and reinvest in my new life. Although I am not leaving everything behind, I feel the need to give myself permission and space for the new experiences to come.
During the last two years, my life revolved around my family and my Dad. It's hard not to feel guilt as I slowly merge into my "new life." I'm scared that my move means that I'm dismissing my responsibilities to take care of my family or I'm leaving the memories of my Dad behind. What is an important reminder is that life re-imagined is not about forgetting, but letting go.
Sometimes you’re never ready, because the doubts are overwhelming– but our inner selves know when we need to move on— to continue moving forward instead of worrying about what we might lose. It is easy to lose ourselves in the past as we grow older and begin to collect a well of memories, but it is important to let go of the past so you are empowered to make new decisions for your future.
|New York 2012, Los Angeles 2014, San Francisco 2016
Beginnings will always begin with an ending, with people letting go of their old reality, and forging forward to embrace uncertainties but also new possibilities. Change is joyous, but it is normal to feel grief, disoriented, confused, and scared. Transitions require us to say goodbye to ‘what once was’ and throw ourselves into an uncomfortable void with faith that we will find our way to a grounded path.
They say that transitions require you to pass through three phases:
1. Letting go phase
“Before you can live, a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been...” — Shannon Alder
It’s important to be able to accept and grieve the losses that come from the “old life” — to be okay with change and exploring the expectations of your new life. It’s a time to leave behind old perspectives and mistaken beliefs. It's accepting that "things will never be the same," but also having faith that it'll be okay. Letting go isn't always easy because you're relinquishing the feeling of "safety" that you've built over time. Letting go is allowing yourself to be vulnerable once again.
2. In-between phase
“The willingness to consider possibility requires a tolerance of uncertainty” — R.N. Remen
This is a phase in which we detach from our old life but haven’t established a new one. It’s a scary, uncomfortable phase where things feel out of your control and there's no clear path. This is a true transitional period when there is extreme uncertainty— where the normal routines, habits and people that ground you are gone and you're walking into the dark with open arms. It's a period of growth, as you find ways to adapt and be self-sufficient. The most important thing is patience.
3. Acceptance phase
“Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be”
In this phase, we fully accept the new life and embrace change. We feel centered, grounded and sure about the possibilities of the new phase. We are emboldened by growth, acceptance and we are rewarded with feeling comfortable and confident.
New beginnings are a series of transitions and they are a part of life— the key is how we decide to handle the transition that makes the biggest difference. Here are some tips:
Assess the change
Take time to assess the changes that are happening in your life. What are the positive and negatives? What new opportunities do you see arising from the changes? How can you leverage these opportunities to move forward? The key is to reflect upon what you’ve learned from your current phase of life to embrace the possibilities of what lies ahead.
Be kind to yourself
We often have such high expectations from ourselves— It is especially important to give yourself a break during this time. Take note of your thoughts, feelings, and reactions during this time without judgment to foster an attitude of acceptance and openness.
Create a support network
What kind of support do you need to help with the change? What resources are available to you and who can help support you during this time? Reach out to your friends— they love you without judgment and are there for you when you need them. Friends are our own chosen family and provide a backbone for those tough times.
Set a strong-intention by being pro-active and making an action plan. What do you intend to do, to move forward? What’s your next step? Make sure to set precise goals.
Life re-imagined is first and foremost our ability to choose our own way. It is disregarding convention and expectations to create our path the way we imagine it. It's a mindset and way of thinking that allow us to make bold choices and be curious about what lies ahead. Remember, "the only thing that is constant is change." In hopes that we embrace all new beginnings.