I have been through quite a few life-changing events in the past few years; the loss of jobs, my home and three major moves have turned my life upside down. While searching for some insight on how to come out on top of life’s problems, I found a wonderful book that gave me sound advice.
This is not a book review, because I am only taking a tiny bit out to share here. I found “Circle of One: The Art of Becoming a SELF-Centered Woman” by Deborah Roth, MA, PCC while seeking advice on how to finally deal with all that life has thrown my way. I don’t normally read self-help books, but the article she had written for PBS, “Navigating Life’s Big Changes with Ease” gave solid, understandable advice that said to deal with change, you first have to understand it.
Cycles of Change
Deborah Roth outlines three cycles of change in her book, which she calls the “3 Rs.” They give a roadmap of dealing with change as a fluid and predictable process that has a beginning and an end. Being a compulsive planner, this resonated with me.
Cycle 1 – Release
The first step in the process of dealing with life changes is to begin with the end and release what you are leaving behind. This is a time of relection on the impetus for the change, whether it be a good change such as a promotion that necessitates you to move to a new place, or a bad change, such as a divorce. Before you can move forward, you have to “leave the past behind,” so to speak.
Cycle 2 – Retreat
The retreat period is one of reassessment. In some cultures, this is a time of solitary refuge, such as a Native American vision quest or an Australian “walkabout.” In this stage, you get down to the nitty-gritty and do the actual psychological work. This is when you grieve for what you left behind. Even happy changes like mine have this element, because there is always something you will miss. During this period, you create an inner stillness, where you can allow yourself to envision what comes next in your life.
Cycle 3 – Rebirth
Rebirth can be a terrifying time, as I am finding already. You can start to question your readiness or capability to handle the new situation you are in. You may feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities. Once your life starts moving again, there will be times when you go off in a different direction from what you planned, but that’s not a bad thing. During this time, you are rediscovering yourself, and that takes some exploration, which is something I am looking forward to.
During this three-step process, it is vitally important that you take very good care of yourself physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Carve out some “me time,” where you can just “be.” Journaling is a wonderful way to get your thoughts down, so you can go back to them later and reflect on those feelings. Even a good change is hard, which is what I am having to admit to myself. I’ve done a lot of self-reflection and this path is one I tried to veer away from, but I always came back to believing this is where the Universe wants me to be. Good or bad, this is my choice and I will make the best of it.