This summer, the Universe invited me to “shed my old skin” and move gracefully into the next chapter of my life. After 25 years, my husband and I decided to sell our home and move into a condo. This necessitated letting go of the familiar and embracing the new. During this summer’s journey, the Universe invited me to concentrate on: Gratitude, Going with the Flow and Finding Joy in the Moment.
Gratitude – As I packed my house and packed my memories, I was able to be grateful for the gift of parenthood and my children, who are now launched and successful. I was grateful for my home, my neighbors, and the wonderful community that I have had in this town.
I also became grateful for the abundance in my life in terms of the material possessions that I have. Since we no longer needed much of our furniture, I discovered a wonderful organization called the Resettlement Program, started in 1875 “to assist offenders in preparing for and accomplishing a successful return to the community.” Everything I gave them was graciously accepted, including all those unwanted pictures, vases and mugs. As the director said to me, “When all you have are the clothes on your back, you need everything to set up an apartment.” After meeting with her, I became even more grateful for all I possess, including the 20 mugs.
The day the director came to pick up the furniture, she brought with her three young men from the inner city. They stood in awe, looked at my house and marveled at the grass and the woods. I felt humbled because I own what is considered in my town a nice, but basic home. While looking through their eyes, I was able to see the beautiful home that I have been blessed to live in the past 25 years and I became more grateful.
Go with the Flow – Have you ever noticed that when you are introduced to anything new you feel some tension? This is because of a phenomenon described by Kurt Lewin as “Tension” theory. He stated that there is constant inner tension when beginning anything new until it is mastered. During this move, I had to replace many familiar patterns with new ones. I had to figure out a new route to work, where I put the dishes and utensils in the kitchen, where town hall and the local library are located, and even where to sit in order to relax! All this new and unfamiliar information created a buildup of tension that made it challenging to relax. I had to constantly remind myself to take a deep breath, continue to maintain habits that were still familiar and to replace judgment of the “new” with the chant “this way isn’t bad, it is just different.”
Enjoy the Moment – Moving is challenging and even more so when one is sorting through 25 years of possessions. I made the determination to enjoy the experience and have fun doing it. Since we had the luxury of time, I started packing up the house weeks before the move and unpacking in the condo at a more leisurely rate. I was determined to have fun doing this.
Most days, I would either bring my breakfast or lunch to the condo and sit on my new porch and eat while I watched the birds in the nearby woods. The other thing I did was to listen to my body. Whenever I felt exhausted, I would stop working for the day or take a break, go to the pool and relax for a while. This is counter to my philosophy which is “work then play” but what I discovered was that I could return to the “work” refreshed and it became play. To add a fun mood, I burned an upbeat CD mix and would blast it as I unpacked. I also would save a “chore” that made me happy to complete at the end of my time there. The result was that the entire experience was relatively easy and fun.
I am now living in my condo. While “tension” theory still exists as I adjust to the newness, I have shed some skin and am embracing my new life. This summer has helped me to balance work with play in such a way that work is fun. It has also helped me to develop a stronger sense of humor as I learn the rules of condo living. I have already gotten a speeding ticket and have been reprimanded for diving in the pool. My hope is that I will continue this New Perspective and gracefully move into the next chapter of my life.
The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come…We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ~Joseph Campbell