Throughout the many years of my practice, I have seen quite a few patients struggle with feeling stuck in unhealthy, or sterile relationships, toxic jobs, unhealthy lifestyles, unease in certain geographic locations, abusive friends or relatives, or careers that no longer hold their interest.
There comes a time in life where we are confronted with crossroads and bridges to cross,that can offer possible new paths of revival. You may have found yourself dreaming of another way of living, or even leaving a relationship or job that has worn you down, or worst poisoned you.
Those crossroads are generally the first to present you with the possibility of change. Then crossing bridges become the necessary step to achieve that which you are being called to do, that will provide the opportunities to give life to your new journey.
Think of your life as a flowing river that must continue on its path of evolution. We all have to navigate the obstacles thrown in our way. Rivers have their source and must seek their path towards joining the oceans, creating along the new islands and sandbars.
You have your own river of life that each one of us must take from start to finish, joining the cosmic sea to return to our spiritual source. You are a microcosmic reflection of the universe that is embedded in your DNA.
Therefore you are a part of this vast universe without limits, as much as the stars, planets, galaxies, moon and sun. You are the human manifestation of a divine source of love, creation, and a continuous expanding intelligence that I call God, that depending on your own spiritual makeup, or lack of, has other names or interpretations.
Your soul was created and commissioned to bring your own unique talents to this earth for the common good. We all have our soul calling that is like a fluid blueprint that outlines our curriculum that is needed to enable us to grow.
There can be a period of stagnation, or hesitancy before changes are to be made that allow for a period of reflection and gathering strength, much like the formation of a hurricane before it pursues its path.
You may have good reasons for staying put by the way; some may be valid and rooted in common sense, responsibility, or out of need, especially financial. Children are a perfect example of postponing plans. Their needs should outweigh our immediacy in making abrupt changes in relationships, if that change would create a more negative impact on their lives.
The exceptions to that would be if the relationship is abusive to all, such as ongoing tirades of anger, conflicts or any family violence that therapy has failed to resolve. Separation may be protective in nature not only for your children to end the warfare, but also for you in providing a serene and peaceful environment.
Continuous obstacles may be put in place to thwart making any changes, because the time is not right, or that we need to perfect certain attributes necessary for change. There are seasons for all of us.
I love the Chinese I Ching reading, that one can not go out into the rice paddies and pull on a new shoot to make it grow faster. Therapists are also confronted with this too in working with their patients.
I might envision a better and more fruitful path to take, but the timing belongs to the patient, not me. My job as a therapist is to hold up the light to explore other possibilities, and nurture the inherent gifts that they have to initiate to actualize any changes.
The most difficult is helping patients deal with the many fears they have of changing and letting go of a toxic relationship or job, which for some is needed for their survival. Most of us have a resistant towards change, because of the security factor.
I have witnessed the struggle of some of my patients cling to the very thing that is destroying them. The pain and suffering, how ever horrible, are something they know, but to let go involves the unknown and that fear often paralyses them.
I also like to make them aware of the signs and omens they are encountering in their physical lives or dreams. A lot of the times, they are unaware to these due to their particular personality makeup, or the confusion that surrounds them.
They are first rather insidious and may be overlooked, until they become more pronounced.
- A growing sense of unease, dissatisfaction, unhappiness, that can even become clinical depression.
- Body starts to breakdown, with the immune system faltering, leading to more colds, or viral onslaughts. This growing unease can become a “disease” with chronic inflamed joints, skin problems, increased headaches, or gastrointestinal problems, and back pain, especially if anger has been supressed and or repressed.
- Prophetic or recurring dreams can be very vibrant and shatter any notions that you are holding onto.
- Overworking, or staying up late to avoid emotional intimacy or retreating more into leisure pursuits. Avoidance of sexual intimacy is seen more in women though.
5. Using more drugs and alcohol than usual or over eating to numb out unpleasant and unwanted feelings.
6. Psychic distancing is being physically present on the job or with a person, but feeling distant and disconnected.
7. Feeling pulled in another direction, or for some a sense of being called into another path.
1. Encouragement starts to come from friends and love ones to follow your dreams or make any needed changes.
2. People will start to come in your life associated with certain desired changes that may mirror your own as yet unrealised.
3. Omens start appearing in your life from nature that have symbolic meanings, such as rainbows, butterflies, doves, lady bugs, eagles, and the scarab beetle, like Dr. Jung’s patient.
4. Mentors, or therapists come into your life to encourage you to take the leap. The old proverb that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear seems to happen often.
5. Synchronistic events, in addition to omens, occur spontaneously such as meeting others on the same journey or from a certain desired geographic area.
6. You will start to feel “pinched” by the universe, in that activities in your current situation, such as work, will become troubled by difficult bosses or new colleagues, or an unfavourable change in position.
7. Doors start opening, inviting you towards change that you never knocked on, as out of the blue.
8. Finding yourself in unexpected places or situations, that trigger desires for change.
Four Phases of Change
These aren’t necessarily distinct because they are fluid in nature and can seem to overlap each, especially the last two.
1. Incubation stage. This is where you begin to dream, desire and want something else in your life that will necessitate making changes, be it in a relationship, job or even career path. This can last a very long time, because there is always timing involved in each our lives.
2. Birthing the idea. This has to do with finally accepting that you can no long deny needing to change and bringing it out into the open; announcing your intentions to others when appropriate and giving it a name. This can also entail gathering information and investigative efforts to prepare for the change.
3. Initiating baby steps, which I call stirring the cosmic pot, so the universe can reciprocate, crystallise and meet your efforts.
4. Crossing the bridge. The time has come to implement your desires in concrete actions and actively pursue your goals.
Your passion and new found strength will propel you as you immerse yourself in your new activities or situation. A fruitful path aligned with your soul will continue to bring more clarification, more direction, and again more doors will open.
I too, have had my share of crossroads in my life and crossed several bridges. Likewise I have been blessed to personally witness many such changes in my patients. Life will bring you changes, whether you want it or not.
Hopefully I can share some of my own stories and those of courageous others in future posts. Have you ever had signs that lead to changes in your own life?
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