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Six Weeks to Cross Bridges

Vermont has been consistently strong in pandemic management , but on the day I was eligible to sign up for a vaccine there was a glitch on the Department of Health’s website. It wasn’t so, but at first it appeared to me I would be able to have my first dose within hours of logging on. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach.

Endings, Neutral Zone, and New Beginnings are three phases transition. Graphic copyrighted by William Bridges Associates.
Bridges refers to that in-between time as neutral, but it can feel turbulent!

Wait. Why Wasn’t I Happy?

I had embodied the Bridges Transition Model. In the Bridges model, change and transition are not the same. Change happens around us, sometimes quickly; transition is internal and is a process. Between endings and new beginnings there is work to be done. “This is the time between the old reality and sense of identity and the new one. People are creating new processes and learning what their new roles will be. They are in flux and may feel confusion and distress.”

This particular framework is built to understand change in a business setting, but don’t we need to offer ourselves—our inner communities, if you will—the same insight? Understanding ourselves is good self-care. And well-managed transitions “allow people to establish new roles with an understanding of their purpose, the part they play, and how to contribute and participate most effectively. As a result, they feel reoriented and renewed.” In my work with individuals, I refer to this as self-emergence. It is a beautiful thing.

I was not emotionally ready to have a life-changing elixir within two hours. A week away felt fine.

Long Hair Don’t Care

Group journey on path in woods.

For months I’ve shopped for groceries in pants with a food stain hidden under my coat. Masked, I’ve taken to ponytails instead of blow drying, and have asked my husband to tell me when he just can’t look at my snowflake leggings anymore. It’s time for this to change. There are clothes I will throw out.

On the other hand, I have new (fierce) workouts at home. I’m a better cook. I’ve started a business. My relationships have changed.

I’ve explored these evolving roles only inside of guidelines. Now it’s time to consider exactly what I want to leave behind and what I want to keep as our ability to move about expands. What lessons have I learned? What do I wish for? What energizes me now?

Let’s Do This Together

My vaccine appointment pushed me into understanding more about the transition I’m in. Now I’m inviting you to take a group journey in a workshop called The Six-Week Setup. Let’s move across the Neutral Zone and into New Beginnings—bringing forth the version of you the world most needs.

Workshop information and registration here.

Susan McDowell
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