In the depths of winter I finally learned that
within me there lay an invincible summer.
- ALBERT CAMUS
Maya went through a super-rough transition where everything fell away—her marriage, business, and some close friends. She went through her own mini ‘dark night,’ which involved considerable grief and anxiety. In renewal, she found a new life opening that included a new home near the sea and new work. She told me that on the one hand she had never felt so free, and on the other, she was still learning to trust that the ground was not going to open up and swallow her whole.
Renewal brings a growing sense of trust and grace. The dark night fades, and a new dawn begins to illuminate our lives.
Jasmine passed through a dark winter and is now in the early light of spring. I asked her about what she had learnt:
‘I wanted to know the light of another, instead of finding my own. I wanted someone else to tell me I was okay. Now, I experience the peace that comes from knowing I am okay. My life now feels qualitatively different. I am more in a giving space than taking. I am not coming so much from lack; I am now coming more from love. I decided to stay and work through all the issues in my marriage. This was the right decision for me. Now I find pleasure in all the simple things in life.’
Renewal Brings Gifts of Spiritual Awakening
Renewal in a super-rough transition can bring gifts of spiritual awakening or deepening. Tanya had a diving accident that led to her old life falling away. I met up with her when she had stepped more fully into the spring phase of her transition.
Tanya told me:
‘After the accident, everything fell away—study, work, friends, my interest in sport—and I was left wondering who I am. On the other side of this difficult transition, I began to feel a new identity form, one that was interested in spirituality and alternative forms of healing. Now, everything is different: my values, the way I am in the world, how I see the world, my friends, interests, and the work I feel drawn to.’
I would say that there are no good and bad transitions; there are just different degrees of challenge, movement, and transformation. The renewal phase is like the sun dawning on a new day after a bleak night. The dawn brings with it a sense of hope, magic, and wonder. There has been a great clearing, and the old vibrations of chaos, depression, and despair are displaced by a higher vibration of growing stability, inner peace, and slow joy.
Hardships often prepare ordinary people
For an extraordinary destiny.
- C. S. LEWIS
Renewal After a Rough Winter
A rough transition brings us through crisis to the hope and light of renewal. When Susie was diagnosed with breast cancer she was advised to have a mastectomy and chemotherapy. She decided against this, and instead explored other alternatives such as diet and lifestyle changes. After several months she got the all-clear.
‘I knew it would be all clear. Now I feel I have been given a second chance. On the other side of this journey, I think I am softer, open, and vulnerable. I can live life at a different pace and do things that I would not normally do. I have started to go singing and dancing. I just want to explore stuff.’
Susie told me she wants to start living from the centre of her life, rather than just waiting for life to come to her. She started to dance, sing in a choir, go to weekly hot yoga, and she even came on a writing retreat I was running in Greece in the summer of 2013 and we had a wonderful time together.
Nine months after his partner’s death, Paul fell through a roof and severely damaged his back. In hospital, he had lots of time to reflect on his options, his priorities, and the way he wanted to work and earn money in the future. I met Paul on the other side of his transition, when he had a new loving partner and was retraining for a new line of work. The transition, difficult though it was, had weaved its magic and moved him to a happier phase of life.
Renewal After a Smooth Winter
Renewal is well described by Beat novelist and poet Jack Kerouac in his line, ‘I saw that my life was a vast glowing empty page and I could do anything I wanted.’ After a smooth transition, renewal brings a gradual sense of stability and certainty after a time of rapid change. As we step towards our dreams, there can come a growing sense of confidence and possibility as doors start to open.
Erica was in a respected corporate job, earning lots of money, and yet she wanted something else. She started listening to self-help and spiritual talks, and they confirmed what she had to do.
‘I took a leap of faith and resigned from my corporate job. I followed up on an offer from a friend to work on a family farm in Ireland. It was beautiful and I discovered that by stripping away the noise of the city I could connect more easily with my inner self. It was here that I started writing. Now I am back in England I want to continue writing. Now I have connected with my inner self, I know my experience is not location dependent. I can connect within anywhere. I just needed that strong reference point of space and silence. Now I am much more trusting of the whole process.’
The Activation of Dormant Gifts
The term ‘self-actualization’ comes from the work of the theorist Kurt Goldstein, who believed realizing one’s full potential, meaning ‘to express and activate all the capacities of the organism,’ is a basic drive in the human psyche. A form of self-actualization happens as a result of following through on an important goal or project.
In a rough transition, we self-actualize or awaken as a result of navigating external challenges. In a super-rough transition, we navigate internal challenges that can awaken our dormant inner light. Whichever path we tread, much will be revealed about ourselves and our hidden abilities, gifts, and talents that was previously hidden. This is an organic process that keeps on building the further we go.
One friend of mine went through a super-rough transition that involved a period of great emotional instability. We met whilst she was very much still processing her journey. She told me that her creative juices really sparked at the point her journey seemed darkest. Then she began exploring journaling to help with her general well-being and also other mediums that allowed her creativity to flourish. It seemed quite evident to me that her inner artist was being activated.
The Journey of Renewal: Opening to the New
In renewal, psychological and spiritual shifts can continue for some time. In a smooth transition, it is more a case of adjusting and opening to the new. In a rough or super-rough transition, it is about healing and stabilizing, as well as opening. It is not a time to sit on our laurels and wait for the next miracle to come along. There are still challenges.
In the beginning months of my journey into renewal, I would wake in the mornings as if I have been working physically hard all night. Also, as I discovered, renewal is not about immunity from difficult feelings. I still had moments of feeling afraid, anxious, angry, hopeless, and disappointed for some months before it cleared completely.
Now, being further in, I feel older but wiser. I know I have more psychological and spiritual tools at my disposal. In my own journey, I found more time on my hands. I happily spent more time in silence and aloneness.
I have also become even more intuitive and sensitive to energy, I feel people and places more intensely, which is not always easy. Because of this, a daily practice of clearing out lower vibrations and connecting with the higher light has been important. I would often imagine light spinning in my energy fields, and I would call on angels and guides to clear out lower astral sticky energies.
Walking in nature has always been helpful, along with body practices such as yoga and Pilates. The physical body can often feel the intense strain of a transition and needs rest and recuperation.
Here, in renewal, the jigsaw pieces of my life are slowly yet surely coming together in perfect timing. More adventures are ahead, no doubt. Time, of course, will tell!
Don’t cry because it’s over.
Smile because it happened.
- DR. SEUSS
Renewal: Final Parting Advice
- Life is about constant change and movement. Nothing remains the same forever. In renewal, life will continue to surprise you. Do not try to control or plan where it will take you; use your discernment, which helps you know when to act and when to chill and flow;
- Speak your truth. No-one is superior or inferior to another. Everyone has an equal life here. We are all part of one planetary community and equally deserve abundance, well-being, and peace of mind;
- Integrity means paying attention to your dreams, following your highest values, honouring your challenges, and having a healthy sense of self-care;
- Honour your choices. Take your time over important decisions. Move through the world with ‘less haste, more speed,’ as they say;
- Forgive and release the past, but do not forget it. Life is full of learning and lessons. Release baggage but not your knowledge or skills;
- Know your boundaries and limits and also your fullness, gifts, and talents. Nurture your vulnerability and your strength. Honour the same in others;
- Follow your intuition. Act with integrity. Do what you need to do. Act in accordance with your highest values;
- Continue to process your beliefs and unresolved emotions. Do not be deterred or influenced by the limiting judgments, opinions, or projections of others;
- Follow the rhythms of nature. Rise and retire with the sun, and live simply.
- Meditate every day. Connect with the light of the rising sun, and connect to the light in the earth. Before you go to sleep, you can call on your guides and angels to be with you as you explore the dreamworlds;
- Open your heart to love. Seek out love in the world, and treat all life as sacred. We are not separate from life, so love and care for all life. As you love and care for life, you love and care for yourself;
- Making peace with loved ones and family is important. Acceptance and fullness is always a better way to journey than with bitterness and regret;
- Having a spiritual practice and community can be so very helpful. Seek out your soul tribe, those people who support your light and higher purpose in the world;
- Seek out wisdom in the world; there are many guides and teachers to be found in every corner of the earthly plane. When you are ready, the guide or teacher will appear. ‘Ask, and it is given.’ ‘Seek, and you shall find’;
- Trust that your life’s journey, no matter what has happened or what is happening, is unfolding perfectly;
- Death is but our final transition from the earthly plane into a new dimension of adventure. The real question is not so much when but how we will make this transition;
- Since you are still here on the earthly plane, reading this, I think it is safe to say that your mission here is not quite finished yet. So I leave you with this final prayer: May your unfolding journey through life be ever fruitful and ever blessed.
©2014 by Steve Ahnael Nobel. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Findhorn Press. www.findhornpress.com.
Personal Transitions: Beyond the Comfortable into the Real
by Steve Ahnael Nobel.
About the Author
Steve Nobel is a co-director of Alternatives - a not for profit organisation based in St. James's Church, Piccadilly, London W1. Steve is also a personal and business coach who specialises in working with authors, creative clients, and individuals in transition in their work life. He is the author of three non-fiction published books and is currently writing his fourth called Big Transitions. He is an interviewer and has many free interviews with spiritual authors available on his website. http://www.stevenobel.com