women walking…From The Desk Of Jayne Battey

She leaned in close to me and said, “It’s been a year and I can’t seem to move on. I can’t seem to let it go, even though I couldn’t stand to stay another minute. But it’s like I never existed and now I have this need to be of service that I don’t know how to fill.” And I met her revelation with a smile and said, “You’re doing just fine. It took me two and a half years to get past it.”

Trish and I were talking about leaving our jobs. Or was it our careers? Or was it our lives? Trish and I were happily married to men we still love, we have raised 5 children between us, we were deeply engaged in our communities and had very full lives. But the professional work we both did for more than 25 years- Trish in medicine and me in environmental stewardship- was far more than just a job. It was about service, community and changing the world. And while we had outgrown that part of our lives, it wasn’t easy to let go and move forward. This wasn’t just about a job- it was our identity. And it wasn’t entirely clear who we were without the professional title, skills and importance in the world that defined us.

I am no expert on these transitions (see above re:2.5 years), but here’s what I’ve learned as I jump head-long, confident, happy and fully-committed to new adventures in 2015:

  • Transitions are difficult and rich places to work thru. It will take whatever time it will take, and you can’t rush it. Be patient with yourself, but strive to look forward and leaning into all that is possible.
  • You are still you- with or without the title and the office and the staff and the clients. So, what wonderful thing will you bring to the world for your next act?
  • There is enormous need in the world and the opportunities to be of service are endless. Whether it’s in a paid position or as a volunteer, or with your family and friends– find a passion, find a connection, and open your most fabulous self to the future.

Many thanks to my friend Patti for sharing this wonderful quote at the start of my own journey.

Trish, this is for you. Let go and follow your joy.

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. Most of the time I hang on to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment. It carries me along at a certain steady rate of swing, and I feel in control of my life. But there are times that I look ahead into the distance, and I see another bar swinging toward me. It’s my next step, my aliveness coming to get me, to be awakened by the touch of a strong purpose. In the place in me that knows, in my heart-of-hearts, I know that I must release my grip on the present and move on. Each time I am afraid that I will miss, that I will be crushed on unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm… But I do it anyway, because hanging on to that old bar is no longer an option. And so for an eternity that can feel like a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is gone, the future is not yet here.” These transition zones are incredibly rich places. They are some of the most alive, passionate, expansive moments in our lives. They should be honored, even savored. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.