The Opportunity of Transition…

Metamorphosis 2, 2011, 7 x 5, mixed media on paper, by Sharon J. Burton


This year has been a year of “transitions” for me personally and professionally.  As an artist, I have found myself dwelling on the word “transition”…which I feel is represented by the transition that a catepillar makes into becoming a “butterfly”…  I plan to finally get back into the studio soon to complete my Metamorphosis series and really focus on what moving from one place to another place really feels like.

As a sensitive person who always listens and feels intensely about what is going on with others…I sense a big shift in the spirit and the mindset of many of my friends.  I sense this with our country  as well.

Once again, one of my favorite career/lifestyle coaches, Tama Kieves sent out this message last month about the blessings and magic of living “in transition”.  I felt the need to share with people her words to help us all lessen the feeling of uncertainty that we feel living life “in between.”




If You’re In Transition — You Have the  Chance of a Life Time

As a career and success coach, I hear my fair share of wanting to bulldoze through change, especially when life seems to throb like a toothache, turn into the life you never thought you’d have, or slow to a crawl.

Everybody wants to rush through transition like it’s a bad root canal. But transition is a threshold. It’s a sacred life appointment—the crossing from one world to another.

There are promises, revelations, and messages during this time. You will not escape yourself here. You will not avoid your deepest questions. This is a blessing.

I know, maybe, you’d still rather the root canal.

Maybe your phone doesn’t ring with new clients. Or no one calls you back for a second interview. You still can’t believe your wife left. The recent diagnosis hangs in the air like a sword, a curse, a question, a dream, not yet admitted into regular life.

Sometimes, the transition is chosen. You’re about to become a new mother, take a new job, or move to a white stucco dream house with an orange grove. Even then you may feel sketchy, secretly on edge. The time between the worlds is always holy and electric. It’s a time when you let go of a familiar “identity,” in order to meet your Self, the magnitude of who you really are.

Thresholds are places where the earth opens up, the veils part, and angels and saints hover near. You may be slim on worldly resources, but you have unworldly helpers, secret bee keepers and fire starters who light the world.

Transition, if you choose, is a way of being trained in the laws of magic.

Will you side with your higher intelligence or will you side with your darker fears? Which part of you will create this next part of your life?

The author C.S. Lewis writes, “Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.”

The Opportunity of Transition: Learning to Champion Yourself and your Life

Here’s what transition is for. It’s a time out to learn to listen to yourself– and to love yourself. When someone first told me I needed to “love myself more,” I had no clue what they meant. I hoped it might be a free pass for eating more late night Lo Mein and ice cream. It wasn’t. Instead, I learned, it was a way of consciously choosing to champion my own life.

If you listen to your heart and you love yourself, everything else will come from there. Really, it’s just not possible to create a bad life, if you befriend yourself.

Who narrates in your mind? What voice do you listen to? Is it kind, helpful, and supportive? Is it bitter, bored, and mean-spirited? This adviser guides your choices. This adviser fuels your life. You do have a choice. And you’re always making a choice.

I’ll give you an example from the early days of my career transition. When I left my law practice to write, I wanted to buy myself as much time as possible, so I moved into a tiny postage size apartment to save money. I lived there for years. My upstairs neighbors seemed to be playing touch football at all hours or yodeling in Spanish. You know, I’d tell myself, you’re just living one of those urban lives. Then I’d get the glossy alumni magazine from Harvard and just the cover of it would make me feel like crying. Everyone looked happy and established and proud. Not one of them looked as though they had a blade of grass out of place on their lawn. They had lawns.

I was the lowest amoeba on the totem pole of ambition and I was convinced that if they could rescind degrees, they’d yank mine back like a factory recall.

“When will I be established? When will I move on? When will I have what other people have?” I cried and gurgled these questions to my boyfriend. Mascara ran down my cheeks; I looked like a drunk raccoon getting ready for a night on the town. He looked at me as though I were Princess Diana.

“One day you’re going to feel very sentimental about all this,” he said. He had me look around the room and take it in—“the writer’s early years.” Never mind that “the writer”—that would be me– wasn’t that young, wasn’t living in a loft in Paris– and wasn’t even writing on a regular basis. Still, as I imagined a future of publishing a book, I looked upon this renegade nest more softly.

I have a piece in my book This Time I Dance! Create the Work You Love, where I talk about “adventurizing my life.” I wrote, “You can see adventure as some kind of failure or some kind of adventure…When I ran into tough decisions, I decided to at least attempt to ‘adventurize’ my life, see the heroism in my choices, recognize and support the woman of courage who would stalk her dreams at any cost.”

It’s your choice how you hold your experience. And what you see now, will often determine what you will see later.

I did end up becoming a successful, published writer. It turned out to be true in “real life” because I continued to see it as true in Real Life, the inner chambers of my being. It was a practice. It was a discipline. It was the choice to side with myself instead of against myself–every single day of every single year. And there were many.

I’m in another transition in my life right now. I’m about to release another book and expand my business. There’s so much work to do and so many unknowns. My identity feels threatened yet again. So I’m up to my old tricks, hoping to rush time and just “get there,” instead of tenderly anointing where I am. One part of me jumps up on the desk and sets urgent deadlines from a bullhorn. In response, the other part of me hides in the closet with pretzels or saunters around the house, staring into space, watering plants.

But I know more this time. I know it’s not about what I do. It’s about loving myself through this emotionally demanding time. I will bless myself. I will trust myself. I will tell myself, over and over again, “You’re doing fine. You’re where you need to be right now. This confusion is not your identity, but the sweet fog between the worlds. You’re leaving behind your training wheels and that feels vulnerable but you will grow muscles, conviction, and wings.” This much I know and offer you: However much I show up for myself –will determine how much I can show up in this world.

Transitions serve an important purpose. These times in life aren’t just a time when the train got stuck in the tunnel, or the Universe dropped your call, all your calls, and suggested you try another carrier. It’s a time behind the scenes that sets the stage for what is to come.

When one life falls away, you have the opportunity to expand. You can uncover what you desire now. You no longer have to be your past. You can taste new freedom and new strengths.

The ways of transition are training grounds of mysterious powers. You leave behind the protection and the hindrance of the familiar. Sometimes you are stripped of worldly comforts, casual identities, and chances to just coast or make do. These times may bring you to your knees. They will bring you to the self-help section of the bookstore or your therapist’s safe blue couch. They will bring you back to temple or the corner in your garden where you visit with devas. They will bring you to your granite truth in the quarry of your depths. And to your heights. Because when you connect with your quiet soul intelligence when all the props are gone– you find a strength and love that knows no limits. Sometimes it’s only limits– that can teach us how unlimited we are.

As you cross a threshold, it’s your chance to decide who you are– instead of allowing the world to decide who you are.

Once you really know the love you came to give, the love that walks with you, the love that brought you here and the love that will bring you all the way, then there is no longer a transition. You’ve arrived. And the circumstances won’t matter a fig.


©Copyright 2011 Tama J. Kieves. All rights reserved



  1. This is absolutely stunning. I am printing it off and taking it home to treasure it. Movie director from New York University going through the same postage stamp apartment adventure as you did, my dear Harvard writer colleague. Thank you for again affirming why Harvard is the king of literature universities. Excellent writing, and straight from the heart.


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