Transitions, Disruptions, Upheavals – Oh My!

The title of this article brings up emotions, feelings and concepts. Pause and notice what emotions, feelings and concepts are present for you. My guess is that on a continuum of ecstatic positive joy (left) and depths of despair (right), you might be in the middle but more likely closer to the right. Am I right? Most of us squirm with change because status quo is easier, particularly if you are not well practiced in flowing with what is.


Transition is an important word, concept and even process in the world of finances.  Professionals are recognizing more and more the reality of our human existence and the myriad ways our life unfolds in transitions. When we work with clients in integral wealth planning, transitions, business optimization and Integral Coaching™, we use the word transitions to depict the shifts and changes of our life through a variety of stages.

In our current studies with Sudden Money Institute to become Certified Financial Transitionists, we recognize these defined stages of transition: anticipation, ending, passage, and new normal. Tools and techniques unique for each stage offer brilliant scaffolding for the important conversations and actions that ensue while abiding in these experiences.
None of us are exempt from disruptions, and yes, I like to use the word disruption. Here’s why. Disruption means to separate, split in two. It points directly at the experience of transition and when we move closer to the actual experience of separation – something breaking that was formerly together – we have a beautiful opening to explore deeper. This is where body wisdom begins to support the very subtle aspects of transition that are typically ignored but can profoundly impact our experience through the stages. Our body is always present, whole and when we embody the truth of our wholeness, life disruptions are experienced differently.
Presently I am experiencing several disruptions and I notice the waves of change with each passing day. These include: the declining health of my parents, my son’s graduation and move to Ohio, my daughter’s move to California, my mother-in-law’s passing, to name a few. With each situation, I notice the highs and the lows, the moving waves that call me to meet each moment intimately, fully and completely. In the work of the Hendricks Institute a basic – yet profound – principle taught is the Upper Limit Syndrome. Read more HERE about Overcoming Your Upper Limits. From one view, upper limits is when we experience a “new high” in life that expands our senses beyond our previously “normal condition”. We go beyond the familiar into new unchartered territory – both positive and negative – both opportunities for growth. Generally when these experiences happen they overwhelm our nervous system and we create an unconscious reaction to bring our energy system back to a familiar space. For example, a couple might experience a gorgeous week together with fine food, deep connection, laughter, play and swoon to the moon over each other. The expansion and love for each other is so overwhelmingly positive that one of them will unconsciously cause an argument to bring the high back down.

On the other end of the spectrum, you could name it a “lower limits” syndrome, loss may turn our world into a knot of sorrow where tears are flowing – or feelings are blocked. In this situation, we might avoid our truth and ratchet our body back to a rigid routine, return to the familiar.  Feeling our feelings of loss is the precious journey which may “feel bad” but is a healthy part of passage. Blocking feelings limits our growth and ability to clearly navigate the disruption.

Our life in these moments of ending and moving into the passage stage of transition are filled with waves, highs and lows, and everything in between. Using the ocean and waves as a metaphor for my experience helps to frame this discussion. The super surfer wave of my son’s graduation, with the whole family and uncles present tipped my joy button. I was aware of the sweetness and awake to his undergraduate years ending. It was momentous for him, for me and for our family. This experience will never happen again. It was the same when I told him at the end of high-school, “You will never be a high-school senior again. Savor this moment.”

And then there are the experiences on the other end of the spectrum. My son and daughter are really moving out – launching; we are at the end of an era that, while I would not want it to be any other way, brings me sadness and loss. I feel a pang in my chest recognizing the waning of our young family and the closure to our family life together. These experiences as they were are complete. They have ended. So I create arguments, and I blame and criticize to shift the sadness into a more “manageable” feeling. The expansion of change feels overwhelming and I curb the moment of feeling the deep tenderness by contracting and bringing the energy down.  Perhaps I am making it feel better that they are leaving?

Energetic waves of highs and lows want to be met with clear abiding attention. Our body leads the way while our brain rests in gratitude. Feeling the movement of joy, loss, grief, gratitude, power, achievement and more as these experiences happen is our calling and privilege in this human form.

Transitions, disruptions and upheavals become lively and joyous when we enter into the experience with thoughtful tools, skillful practice and body intelligence. My practice is to expand my capacity to give and receive each moment. I notice when the wave has crested and I am invited to consciously integrate with tender self-care. When I tend to myself, integration is possible. When I do not integrate with skill, I create an unconscious limit to assist my process. I trust the tools and conversation are available when I need them to handle practical financial issues. One of my favorite tools is the Decision Free Zone used in an acute time of overwhelm. The process is similar to brainstorming – where your mind is free to locate and name what is “on your mind” – so that a large list of items consuming mental energy are written down. Then, the named issues are separated into three categories: 1) NOW, 2) SOON, 3) LATER.  From this process, my mind can settle and relax into workable timeframes for my attention and action.

In addition to tools, I welcome my body’s intelligence to inform me after completing the DFZ process, when I need to be alone, or to connect with a friend, or to sip hot tea and read a book, and follow through on closing Katelyn’s UTMA that holds a whopping $3.52.

How can life transitions become more fluid?
How can the changes we experience be more artful?
What stands in your way of being more skillful, self compassionate and generous in changing times?
What upper limits (or lower limits) do you recognize?
How are you allowing your body to support you?
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