New Beginnings

May/June 2013 Newsletter

Dr. gloria wright

Life can bring us unexpected challenges: our companies downsize, budget cuts affect us, loss of a job, employment mandates a move, our business is affected by the recession, etc. I vividly remember the day when a county representative showed up to tell me I would lose my turn-of-the-century farmhouse through emanate domain. Quite a shock, to say the least! So did I have a joyful reaction where I thought, “Oh, good, a chance to downsize and move.” No, not in the beginning. I was in shock, disappointed and fearful.

I think the early part of new beginnings often begin with a survival reaction. It takes time to process change. Even when that change is a desired start-over. Mourning and grieving are a healthy part of adjusting to change. But how do you move to thriving? I feel it is through intentional soul searching and listening to the part of us that drives us forward. Disappointment and challenges often increase our capacity for empathy. In our world of narcissist and entitled individuals, we could use more empathy.

One of the first things I told myself was that this change would have silver linings and I started looking for them. I needed to downsize and not leave my children with a big pile of stuff to deal with. (At least the pile is getting smaller.) Georgia Tech had a workshop on retirement that suggested you should go where you want to retire before you retire. Made sense. So I started to think about where I wanted to live when I was 80. Then I thought I could get a home with less upkeep. The county’s first emanate domain offer would not have even paid off my home loan. So I got a lawyer. I told him, “I want a house, a car and some retirement money.” Those were the silver linings I went after.

I’ve always thought life was a lot like gardening; plant, water, weed and reap your harvest. I had to weed first, then transplant myself and hope to create a new community for myself. You don’t plant your tomatoes in the same plot every year. When I first got divorced, I had a friend come help me give my house a facelift. Rearranging furniture, detailing a car, renewing your relationships, cleaning out and organizing the garage can lift your spirits – when it’s completed. With mindfulness, maybe you can even enjoy the journey and recreate your life to bring you joy and satisfaction.

Maybe trite, but transition is part of an active life. Our stress will be greatly reduced if we can move into “acceptance.” It may take hard work and reframing to see the silver lining, but don’t stop looking for it!!

There were twins who were very different; one was a pessimist; one an optimist. A psychologist was observing them exploring a stable. One was crying because he was getting his new shoes dirty. One was digging and laughing. When the psychologist asked what they were experiencing, the crying one said, “I hate being dirty. Yuk. Yuk. Yuk.” The laughing twin said, “I know there’s a pony in here somewhere!”