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Setting yourself up for the in-between phases

Yesterday on the first sunny Spring day here in Holland, I walked on the beach with a friend, we talked about her upcoming big shift: moving to Kopenhagen to live with her loved one (yeah!).

Walking against the wind both wrapped in our jackets, blankets and hats, she told me she had been so busy with arranging the paperwork, wrapping up her job and getting rid of her stuff that she hardly thought about what she would do when she would get there.

And although she was looking forward to being there, something about it also scared her.

After years of hard work as psychologist at an acknowledged and demanding institute, living in her own space in a historic house at the Amsterdam canals and enjoying her independent life: dancing, yoga, going out with friends…

– > she’s now moving to this new city, living together with her loved one in his house, having to be dependent on his salary for the first period of time.

This understandably brought up worrying thoughts like “I can’t even go and drink a cup of coffee somewhere, because I would have to ask him for it!”

And although I’m sure she’ll love the move and she her thriving from being with her loved one, in nature and having time to rest – it can also be a harsh period with lots of inner struggle; Who am I without my job, stuff and commitments? What’s my worthiness if I don’t have a job and depending on someone else? Am I allowed to just have fun and take time to rest?

Exactly the reasons and feelings that holds most people back from these kind of shifts in the first place – way to scary!

And I see even those who are brave enough to go for what they really desire; like starting a new business, initiating a neighborhood project or moving to another country –  often right away drown themselves in the arranging and fixing things: creating the new normal and new certainties as soon as possible.

It’s their right to do so – but I believe there’s a lot to gain from these uncertain ‘in-between phases’  in which you already left where you were, but not are where you want to be – if set it up with care

With her talents and personality I’m sure she’ll find a nice community and a job in a whim if she likes – but I believe that more will come if she allows herself to take a few months to transit, rest and play. Using this move to uncover unexpected recourses within herself and make new connections from a more confident radian place –  creating the lifestyle that makes her thrive.

Yesterday at the beach with the sun in our faces we brainstormed about how she could set herself up for making best use of this transit phase, instead of rushing into fixing ‘a new job and friendships’. Since I’m a bit addicted to new starts myself and just intentionally went through one myself, I advised her the following;

  • Anchor your intention. Not a concrete goal you have to strive for. But in the form of a feeling you can experience NOW. Asking yourself: what would I like to feel and experience? Adventurous, energized, creative…? And keep that as your grip hold, your focus during the day. Now choose some sensual ways of reminding yourself to this feeling: a vision board, a song, a soft sweater or a favorite beverage.
  • Create your own structure. Instead of expecting yourself to be able to fully enjoy this freedom after a whole life of having structure from schools and jobs, you can also experiment with setting your own structure. Like: every morning a one hour walk, then 2 hours of reading, and every afternoon 2 hours of job searching, cooking a new recipe every evening. Something that makes you look forward to.
  • Set up a support system, apart from your partner, closest friends and parents. Invest in a coach or tutor. Or ask someone who’s a tutor for you to check in with every week, locally or online. Ask some colleagues or friends beforehand to regularly meet (online) to vent and have fun. Join some kind of local group or community, anything, something social – a knitting group, a book-club or volunteering at a yoga centre.
  • And then: act upon what you really feel and experience – not what you think you should feel and experience. Is this popular knitting group in reality draining you? Shift to a breakfast writing class. Were you looking forward to enjoying long walks alone in nature, but in reality it’s totally depressing you – go join a running group.

And parallel to this all the regular maintenance; exercise, rest and healthy food.

You see. That feels more empowering, right? It’s not a tense ‘make it or break it’ approach – but more a big experiment that you can look at with curiosity, play & wonder.

p.s. if you know a women who’s also about to make a shift, about to follow one of her desires and feels like taking concrete actions this Spring – please forward her this post – if she likes to meet personally and give this move attention in a trusted group -> she’s also very welcome to join the Women Circle I organise Saturday 21st of March. 


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