I've been thinking about the importance of honoring transitions lately. Particularly the transitions between one activity or task in my day and the next. Pre-covid, I had physical transitions: the commute from home to work and back being a huge one. Now, with my day all happening at home, I am missing these natural transitions.
Transitioning mindfully helps me honor and maintain the boundaries between work, home, training, scholarship, arts practices, and social life. I work hard to show up as the most complete version of myself in each of these facets of life. Honoring the shift from one place to the other helps me show up, fully present, process my experiences, and prepare for what's next - intentionally.
Now, showing up often means closing one zoom and opening another. Sometimes there is no break in between. It's jarring. My mind is exhausted, spending all of its energy on maintaining focus. My body feels disconnected, stagnant, and tense. My spirit feels left out altogether. It sucks.
This week, I began reclaiming and honoring transitions.
I am definitely not a pro at this yet, but I'm happy to report that I have found more clarity, satisfaction, and joy in activities and tasks when I have managed to honor the transition before and after it. Some examples from this week:
I took a short walk in my neighborhood on the day I hosted the pod squad to release and recover before doing anything else
I did 40 minutes of yoga before making dinner one night as a longer, focused transition for self-care
5 minute naps in mid-afternoon when I felt sleepy, but didn't have time for a longer rest.
And, a group transition I led: three deep breaths at the top of the Parent Association's meeting this week. We met via zoom, like we do these days, and after a brief introduction the PA leader passed the torch to me. I asked everyone to simply take three deep breaths with me to release the day and settle into our time together as a community. It slowed us down and allowed us to be just a little bit more attuned to each other, the topics at hand, and our own humanity. The parents/caregivers immediately began to share gratitude in the chat, express how stressed out the first two weeks of school have been, and to share solutions with each other for technology frustrations their kids encountered. But, mostly, it allowed everyone to pause and shift into the meeting mindfully and purposefully, as a community effort. A small practice in what will hopefully become the norm: community effort.
It felt brave and vulnerable to lead the parent community in those three breaths. Like I was sharing my secret sauce happily, but was simultaneously scared of being judged for it. I'm glad I did it and overcame that twinge of fear. I like leading and teaching; but, I find it infinitely harder with communities that didn't sign up for the lesson. I don't want to trap anyone into my methods, it feels icky. But, this didn't. This felt yummy and warm. A just right vibe.
A friend mentioned this week that he used to bike to and from work; he was really missing that physical transition from home to work and back again, getting his exercise in a moving meditation, and having some time alone.
Is this you? How can you reclaim that experience when motivation is HARD? It takes a lot of motivation to take a 45 minute bike ride in the morning to and from your own house to start a zoomy work day, right?
But, maybe that's exactly what you need? Or, whatever your transition used to be? How can you reimagine your transitions and implement something practical and repeatable?
You just finished reading this... what is your mindful transition to the next thing you do? Make a choice and do it.
Let me know how it goes. I'd love to hear about your transitions.