Transitions (Or What Washed in on the Tide…)

Sep 17, 2012 by

By Lisa Campion

Someday, my life will be really boring and I will have nothing to write about. I am glad to say that day is not today. Today, I have plenty to say- ok maybe not even a predictable life would change my general loquaciousness. But today’s blog features a werewolf, the nature of change, a mischievous angel with an itchy trigger finger, an underdressed clown, mad mercury-crazed alchemists, the laws of thermodynamics, and a great white shark.


Somehow it all works, so strap on your seat belts my darlings and let’s go!

I’ve been contemplating change and the nature of transitions. Or perhaps, it’s been contemplating me. It is the nature of the universe that things change, it’s one of the very few things we can actually count on happening in life. I don’t know about you guys, but I find transitions uncomfortable, itchy and difficult to process. And today, I am STUCK mid-transition, like a werewolf trapped halfway morphed between man and animal. (There is the werewolf.) And quite frankly, like the awkward werewolf, I feel a tad cranky about it all. Peevish. Ill-tempered. And restless.

The old has shipped out on the last tide, but the new has not yet arrived. In the cycle of transition, this is the hardest stage for me. It’s like the dark moon, the energy is neither waxing or waning, it’s just hanging in the ebb.

And it takes effort and consciousness to learn to manage these changes gracefully. I feel about as graceful as clown at a black tie affair, but at least I can conjure up a sense of humor about it. Everyone else is all glammed up, but I am shuffling through the party in a big red nose and size umpteen clown shoes. Oh yeah. (The Underdressed Clown…) I am expecting a pie in the face at any moment.

Transitions just HAPPEN. Sometimes they are small and barely hit our radar. Other times we get the Jettison The Payload type of transition, which is what mine feels like. I am sure that there is a mischievous little angel up there in heaven with his twitchy little finger on the EJECT button in the airplane that is my life. (See? Angel…)

I know it’s time to clear the decks because something new is coming in. I get that and I appreciate it, I really do. But letting go is hard, and the state of emptiness is challenging for me.

Metaphysicians, quantum physicists and alchemists (All the same in thing, in my book.) look at the flow of the world as having three distinct phases. Alchemists, who were all slightly mad from rolling around in too many heavy metals, saw the world in terms of the process of transmutation. That is turning the base metals (raw humanity) into gold (enlightened humanity). (The mad alchemists!)


For me the easiest stage is the first part, the conception stage. Something happens. There is energy, movement, growth, creation and birth. I love this part, I like it when things begin and I feel excited, hopeful and reborn myself.

Then comes the tricky stage of dissolving, decaying, dying, leaving and emptying. Physicists call it entropy, it’s the stage of breakdown and the endings of things. This stage is accompanied by the grief of letting go. It’s ouchie. That’s a technical term, that I am pretty sure the physicists made up.

Then there is the third stage, the one that I am currently in. It is the stasis, the vacuum, the emptiness. It’s a fallow time and has the barrenness of the void. This is the bare field waiting to be sowed, the unoccupied womb waiting to be impregnated. SOMETHING has to have a space of NOTHING to manifest into. This stage is itchy, restlessness, lost and lonely.

It’s also highly magical and powerful if we can really sit with it.

Our natural world is full of this pattern with the turning of the season, the tides of sea and moon and life cycle of all living creatures. We are part of that web of life and so we too must wax and wane. We cycle through these daily, monthly, yearly and have a few earth quaking transitions too. Its just part of the program we get as humans.

I feel the magic of the void, that empty space is highly creative. Anything might wash in on the slack tide. Infinite possibility could be created in the darkness of the moon. Underneath the itchy restlessness, there is massive power, waiting to manifest. It’s the blank slate one which we can scribe, paint or graffiti a new life.

And yet, it takes a lot of compassion for my self and discipline to sit still in this phase. I feel the impulse to fill it up with something, with anything, just to get out of the feeling of nothingness and lostness. My poor little ego mind, the Small Mind struggles. If I am not THAT, then who the heck am I?

Since I am a relationship kind of chick, my ego identity has been totally skunked by the loss of several key relationships. Most recently when my Number One Son went to college. So who the heck am I now? Part of me squirms and wiggles grasping for something to hold onto. I can feel the urge to fill the void, the inner space with something, with anything. Food. Stuff. A new relationship. Anything I can grab onto.

Instead, I choose to breathe into the emptiness. I feel the power of the void and lean on my spiritual disciplines (Exercise, writing, and meditation) to help steady and comfort the small parts of myself.

What if I can ride out this stage with power? What if I can stay present and really decide who I am and what I want to create in the next phase of my life? So I have been vision questing, vision boarding, writing, contemplating and looking inwards. This fallow time is an inward turning time.

I understand with some sympathy why people try to squirm out of this transition process. There is a hope that if you find something brand new before you give up the old, you won’t have to feel the grief of letting go. Or perhaps you can skip right over the empty place and fill the void with anything that numbs the pain.

Haven’t we all tried that?

But the truth is that there is no place to hide, the bill arrives in one way or another. You can have your breakdown now or later, but either way the unraveling will happen. We are talking about the laws of alchemy and thermodynamics after all. I’ll take mine now and give it to me straight up, thanks. I am all done with having my breakdowns on credit.

I think there is wisdom in allowing these transitions to work us over, to let the alchemy of transformation happen with as little resistance as we can muster. You can stand with your shovel on the seashore and try to hold back the tide. Or you can see what washes up.

Oddly enough, a huge great white shark just washed up on my favorite beach in Rhode Island where my kids and I swam all summer long. Yikes! Sharks are a fabulous power animal. (Shark!) The shark is the apex of the food chain in the ocean. They fear nothing in that great watery realm, which often symbolizes the world of our unconscious and emotions. The ocean is very much like the void, the empty place that life sparks into. Shark medicine is a good reminder for me to be fearless, to stand fast in my power and navigate the void with power and grace.


So maybe I will ask my toothy friend to accompany me as I continue to navigate this bittersweet time of the low tide, the ebb tide. I comfort myself with the knowledge that eventually the tide will turn, as it must and this too shall pass. In the meantime, I try to focus on the bright spots of life, which are many and dream a happy dream of my coming future. And if nothing else, at least I can entertain myself by writing about it!






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