Trust

A few posts ago, I wrote about a hawk that sat on the wires outside my window and let me admire its powerful, gorgeous self. I’m writing about another (or perhaps the same) bird today, but from a different perspective.

My computer sits in front of a large window, and across the street is a small woods, where, in late February, the bare skeletons of trees await the springtime greening. As I sat here wondering what to write about, motion caught my attention: beyond the empty branches a large bird gliding, swirling up and up on the thermals. A hawk, perhaps, or maybe a raven or even a turkey buzzard. It’s impossible, for me at least, to identify it at this distance. I watched it continue upward, never flapping its wings, until it flew beyond my range of vision.

When Ken and I lived in Arizona we often watched a dozen or more large birds at a time lazily spiraling upward this way. We had a view from our back yard of almost 180 degrees, so no matter how wide their circling, we could often watch them until they flew high enough to turn into tiny dots against the blue, and then disappear.

Sometimes one or two appear when we’re on long drives. When Ken is at the wheel, I crane my neck to watch them through the windshield as long as possible. I can’t get enough of watching them.

Regardless of location, the sight of these birds sailing so easily through the air, unknowingly trusting the laws of nature to hold them aloft, gives me pleasant pause, even shivers of joy. While my body remains rooted to the ground, my spirit lifts up and up, soaring with them.

These birds sliding so magnificently across the sky have become a powerful metaphor for me. Have trust, they remind me. You are supported in so many, many ways. Your body cannot defy gravity, but your imagination, creativity, and spirit have no bounds. Let yourself lift off without fear. Trust, dear one. Trust.

I needed that reminder today. So my thanks go out to the Universe for sending that lovely bird soaring through my vision at the perfect moment.

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This short, lovely video will give you a virtual experience of flying with flocks of geese. Not quite the same as soaring with hawks, but magnificent just the same:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSxvF6UM25c

The Lark Ascending, by Ralph Vaughan Williams—music that that will let you feel as if you, too, are gently soaring:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ATFC1OAZT4

For your journal:

Some questions to consider: Whom or what do you trust? And whom or what do you no longer trust? Make a list for each one of these questions if you like.  Choose one item from each list to write about in more detail.

A little more close to the bone perhaps: Do you trust yourself? Why or why not? In anything, everything, or just in some ways? Be kind to yourself here and also allow plenty of time.

The soaring birds have become my metaphor for trust. Are there metaphors that represent trust for you? How would you describe them? How did they come to your attention? How does it make you feel when you contemplate them? How can they help you navigate difficult times? Write about them with as much detail as possible. And I would love to know about your metaphors, if you’re willing to share.

Change and Transition

Back in 1999, I joked with friends that I was living in a rut so deep, it might be time to hang pictures on the walls. At the same time, I could sense that a big shake-up was on the horizon. Fortunately, past experience had taught me to not force change in my life, so I patiently waited for the answer to appear. Eventually, it did: a move from Southern Indiana to Tucson, Arizona. I had met some good people there on a work visit earlier in the year, so I knew I would have some company as I adjusted. Amazingly, all the details fell smoothly into place. As a renter, I had no house to sell. As a freelance writer, I didn’t have to worry about finding a new job. Even the moving company gave me a huge discount on hauling my stuff across the country because I recently had written an article about them. I got to Tucson, found a lovely apartment in a beautiful complex where some of my new friends lived, and settled in.

Despite all that, the transition was not so smooth.

Change and transition: Back then I did not know they are different. If I had—and if I had known how to better prepare for transition—my early months in Tucson might have been easier.

“Change is the event, the outer reality facing you: job loss or job promotion, change in a career, move to a new town or country, major change in the family, or the loss of a loved one,” writes career and life transitions coach Leia Francisco in Writing Through Transitions: A Guide for Transforming Life Changes. Transition, though, is “a reaction to a change in role, relationship, situation, or life view significant enough to affect your life and functioning,” according to Leia. It’s the psychological and emotional process you undergo while moving through the event.

My transition resulting from the cross-country change in location required a lot of emotional adjustment. My new friends were not as available as I had hoped, and I sorely missed my large circle of friends in Indiana. Tucson is a huge city, compared to Evansville, and required a lot of driving and often being unsure of my way. Even some small things, like no longer needing my favorite cuddly sweaters in the desert “winter,” made me sad and homesick. I remember standing on my balcony one day and crying as I talked on the phone with Lynda, my best friend back in Indiana, wondering if I had made a huge mistake. She assured me that I had not and that eventually all would be fine.

And it was. The move proved to be one of the best things I have ever done. The best of that best thing: I met Ken, now my husband, who later became the inspiration for finding my calling as a journal facilitator. I slowly gathered a circle of wonderful friends, including a wonderful writers group, and happily adjusted to having only two seasons: “really hot” and “not so hot.” And I discovered Trader Joe’s and shopped there weekly. (If you are a TJ fan, you know what I mean!)

Change is happening everywhere, all the time. Just when we think our lives are settled, wham! Change. Just when we think we have it made, look out! Change. When a cherished dream falls apart, more change. Even when the change is a positive, desired one that makes us happy, we still have to make the internal shift. All these changes require a transition process.

These days, I’m coming to the end of yet another cycle of change and transition. As I wrote about in my last post, Wandering, Meandering, and Yet…, I had to grieve and let go of a journaling program I created and loved, but which didn’t work out as I had hoped. (This was a “non-event transition,” which requires adjusting to the reality that a goal or dream will not come true.) Fortunately, I have found a new path, thanks to wise and compassionate coaching from Leia Francisco, who now also offers a class to train journal facilitators in her Writing Through Transitions program. This past summer, I became certified as a Transition Writing Specialist and will soon begin offering proven journaling programs in navigating through life’s transitions. Some will be local, here in Indiana, and I also hope to eventually offer them online. I will also continue to offer some of my other journaling programs too.

I’m excited about this transition—and about knowing how to better navigate the many more that are sure to come. I’m even more excited about sharing this valuable information with you. Stay tuned for future posts about writing techniques and exercises that can carry you through any transition life can throw at you.