On a recent walk through a forested trail, I was astonished at the abundance of colour and blooms. It’s that time of year, at least where I live, where summer is not quite over but signs of fall are creeping in. Leaves are beginning to turn colour and seeds are dropping. Summer blooms are near their end and new fall plants are sprouting.
It’s a time of transition. It’s a time of new possibilities, even if I can’t quite see them yet.
What is Transition?
According to several dictionaries:
* the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another
* movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc.
* in music, a passing from one key to another; modulation
* in life, a passing from one stage to another, i.e. adolescence to adulthood
* an evolution of thought or change of perspective
* like a butterfly, metamorphosis from one form to another
* in language, words (or phrases) that connect ideas; a bridge
Transitions as Edges
A favourite photographic theme of mine is that of edges in nature. My friend, Norah, and I once did a project where she wrote poems about edges inspired by my photographs. It all started after I heard this quote from poet, Stanley Plumly,
“In ornithology (the study of birds), there occurs the phrase, the abrupt edge, which is the edge between two types of vegetation, where the advantages of both are most convenient.”
A transition is an edge between one thing and another. The edges in nature are where the greatest diversity is found. The edges in life may be where our greatest possibilities lie.
Transitions in Life
Life is one big transition from birth until the final one – death – because nothing ever stays the same. We are always evolving, developing, becoming. Yet, there are some transitions that stand out more than others. They are marking points in life which can be gradual or abrupt. Sometimes, they’re forced on us when, for example, a marriage ends and you cross over from being part of a couple to being single. Or, a parent has Alzheimer’s and you go from child to caregiver. Some are more natural – you graduate from school and get a job, transitioning from student to working adult.
But some transitions are more subtle. You might know (in the body) that something is happening, something is changing, that one stage is ending and a new stage is on its way. You might not be able to put your finger on what it is quite yet. At times like these, you need a pause, a time to listen, to explore, and then make new choices when the time is right. Jeffrey Davis calls this time (in business or in life) one of fertile confusion. There’s something you need to discover. You need to take the time to sit with the confusion and explore possibilities.
We can easily get stuck in this place if we’re not paying close attention. The confusion – the not knowing – may be too much to bear. We’re uncomfortable with the uncertainty. So, we dig in our heels and try to make what we’ve already been doing work better. Or, we drop everything we’re doing and plunge into something new without giving it due diligence.
Transitions in Business or Creativity
Over the past seven years in my business, I’ve followed my own interests and instincts, as well as what seems to be needed in the online community of fellow contemplatives and photographers. It’s definitely evolved since that first Photo By Design workshop in 2010. Of course, there are external factors at play as well – the changing Internet, the economic situation, and other world issues. All play a part in where the business goes next. Currently, I’m sensing another time of transition. Some of my workshops have run their course. My interests are changing. I notice that even the podcasts I listen to and the books I read are a little different. I’m feeling a call to do more writing and taking a course on reading poetry. Who knows where all this will lead? I do know that I’m paying attention.
“For me, creativity is the stuff you do at the edges. But the edges are different for everyone,and the edges change over time. If you visualize the territory you work in as an old Boston Bruins sweatshirt, realize that over time, it stretches out, it gets looser, the edges move away. Stuff that would have been creative last year isn’t creative at all today, because it’s not near the edges any more.” ~ Seth Godin
My plan is to continue blogging as usual until the end of the year. I’ll finish up the exercises in the Adventures in Seeing book with our fabulous group on Facebook sometime in November. Also in November there will be the very timely course for times of transition, Celebrate Impermanence – 15 photographic prompts to get you seeing impermanence differently.
In early 2018, I’ll take some time off of blogging and social media and workshops to create! I have no idea what will come of this time. It could be a new course, an in-person experience, another book, or a photo exhibit. Some ideas are already brewing. The possibilities are endless.
Are you in a time of transition? How are you handling it?