Actually, I think the title of this post is a bit misleading. I’m not sure there’s anything particularly graceful about stage transition based on what I can discern thus far. Maybe it’s a blessing and therefore “of grace” that one goes through stage development. I’m not sure about that yet either. There are certainly no guarantees of being happier on the other side–or at least the instructors Barbara Braham and Chris Wahl noted that in their two day conference I attended back in September.
I’ve included a couple of their slides and a few other pictures with quotes to help me attempt to explain this topic. First, some quotes on Stage Transition (click on picture to make it larger):
How do you know when you’re going through a stage transition? (And, I do use “stage” before transition purposefully, because according to Barbara and Chris, you can go through a transition, but not necessarily develop to a new “meaning making” stage at the same time). I really love the Bridges quote to attempt an answer to that question:
One way or another, most people in transition have the experience of no longer being quite sure who they are. ~William Bridges
Life transitions include things like career changes, relationship changes, residence changes, education, health changes, life phases (parenthood, empty nest, retirement), and aging. Just because you experience those changes doesn’t mean you are necessarily going through a developmental transition. The latter are more evidenced by the following (from Braham & Wahl):
- Dissatisfaction with aspects of the current stage
- Experiencing the limits of current meaning making
- Life is getting more complex and demands expanded meaning-making
- Exposure and attraction to later stages of meaning-making (education, friends, colleagues)
- Purposeful, intentional development
- Mysterious reasons
So, developmental transitions are often prompted by life transitions, but they don’t have to be. In my case, life transitions started the process moving and then I would point to numbers 1, 2, 4, 5 and perhaps even 6 as reasons behind my feeling tugged and unsettled.
Speaking of unsettling, here are the stages you typically go through when experiencing a developmental transition:
I think I’ve given you plenty to digest for the next few days (I know, I know…perhaps the next few months!!). Some of the implications of these transitions include (and I’m quoting the seminar leaders here): losing friends who have no idea what is the matter with you right now; career indecision; choosing different activities and people to hang with because the former people and things don’t fit so well anymore; drive seems missing or non-existent; you or others experience you as volatile, uncertain, ambiguous, indecisive, unclear, and so forth.
I can’t help end this post with two wonderful quotes. Namaste everyone!