Transitions, Gardens, and the Cycle of Life
Successful transitions help you thrive in life. Transitions are those high stakes periods when you leave the comfort and certainty of the status quo and venture out into the unknown in search of something better. It’s ideal when you instigate the transition versus having it thrust upon you.
In my garden, a succulent was outgrowing its pot—it needed more space. I transplanted it to a larger pot, expecting instant success, but no—the succulent started to look like it was struggling. It shrunk into itself. Was it a mistake to upset the status quo…should I have let it stay put, even if its growth might have been stunted?
Happily, after a few weeks my succulent started to settle into its new, more hospitable home. Now a few months later, it looks better than ever. Another lesson in life from Nature: transitions are a difficult, but necessary, step along the path of growth and thriving.
At the beginning, the change can appear to be a mistake. You lack confidence in your new sphere, as you frantically try to master an unfamiliar situation. But when you hang tough, you’re rewarded.
How do you know a transition is brewing? There are predictable stages in the ongoing cycle of life.
Stage 1: Go for It – You are rocking on all cylinders; things are going great; you feel like you’re thriving.
Stage 2: The Doldrums – There is no wind in your sails; you lack energy and motivation; you feel stuck.
Stage 3: Cocooning – You withdraw and go into yourself; you pursue enlightenment; you may focus on intrinsically rewarding activities for their own sake; a fledgling vision starts to take shape.
Stage 4: Getting Ready – You start developing your vision; you take concrete steps towards that vision; you pull the trigger and boom--You’re back in Stage 1 all over again.
Knowing these stages can help give you confidence during the vulnerable stages 2 and 3. If you know your Stage 2 is simply a precursor propelling you to a better place, you can have trust and patience. If your Cocooning makes you worry you fell off track, you can remind yourself that inner work can help you center yourself and allow for new clarity, insights, and inspiration. These in turn, give you confidence to release the old that no longer serves you, to make way for something better.
In my garden, the old is constantly giving way to the fresh and new. I remove the deadwood that no longer serves so my plants can continue to put all their energy into new life. Even perennials which span seasons go through cycles of apparent decline followed by renewal. They may look like they’ve stopped thriving, but they’re just in plant doldrums…and beneath the surface appearance, new growth, new life is stirring, ready to blossom forth in all its glory. Here’s to blossoming!