To make way for the new in life, you often need to let go of old, no-longer-needed things.
This is true on the physical level – such as clearing out space in the closet for new outfits – as well as on the mental and pattern levels.
In between the outgoing and incoming there is a gap. This gap can feel like a void, emptiness, or nothingness. You might also relate to it as a space of limbo or being in transition.
It is not familiar. And it is definitely not comfortable!
Being that it feels strange and uncomfortable, your tendency will be to want to excape from it. That’s natural. Part of our human survival mechanism is to avoid pain and discomfort.
But in order to make way for the new, there needs to be that space. If you fill it up with the old, familiar activities, you are essentially saying NO to the new you want to create or grow instead. To allow for your new YES, you have to say NO to something else. And in the process of change, the NO is usually an old habit or pattern.
What might this ”gap avoidance;” look like?
Perhaps you’ve been planning for and looking forward to retirement. Then you’re there and that much-desired free time feels stifling in its quantity. Not to mention you may be home all day with a spouse and find that’s too much together time! In the gap of not knowing what’s next, you may go back to what you know – a job. Maybe it’s not the same job, but you get a different job. Now that’s not necessarily bad. But if you wanted something different than a job, you’ve then blocked the opportunity to explore other activities.
Another example is in making a habit change. Let’s say you want to shed those extra 5-10 pounds that have built on the belly or hips in the last few years. And maybe you’re trying to accomplish this by shifting to a lighter dinner and stopping eating earlier in the evening. Sounds pretty easy. Except for that darn mental habit that has you used to eating certain types of food for dinner or enjoying that little treat while you’re relaxing in front of the TV. There’s this void in your activity and your first instinct is to fill it – fill it with what you know. And suddenly you find yourself reaching for your food favorites again and those pounds are not budging.
A last example comes from my current reality. Many of you know that I recently moved to a new state due to a job switch for my husband. In doing so, I used the opportunity to move forward with my long-term plan of transitioning my business practice to a fully virtual format. This meant when I moved that I no longer have my massage clients and was truly retiring from bodywork which my body was ready for – gap one. Many of my life and Ayurveda clients were also finishing up their foundational packages and feeling steady with their current tools (yea!) – gap number two. And I just finished my last business class in a series for a group of Ayurveda students – gap number three.
In theory, all of these changes are positives from my perspective. I have wanted a mini sabbatical for several years. One where I had more time to “catch up” on a variety of things and do more business development work that I also seem challenged to do with my full client load. I am moving in a new direction with my business and this is where I want to go. But I absolutely feel these gaps and I can honestly say that although this is what I want, it is uncomfortable. I don’t have trouble filling my time. Between settling into my new house and beginning my catch up and development, that part is very easy.
But I do notice that I feel out of sync without my normal work rhythm to anchor some of my daily flow. And it does feel strange to have less client time right now.
It would be very easy for me to go back to a comfortable known. In fact, I’ve already been solicited by two companies in the Kansas City area to do massage for them. I could slip right back into work I know well with an easy and immediate income source. But if I do that, I will be saying no to doing the new programming I want and to having the time to connect with other places and people in my new area to build professional relationships.
To say YES to how I want to now be in my business and life, I need to stay in this discomfort and avoid the urge to fall back to something that feels easier in the moment.
The good news is there are some tips you can use to stay in this gap and the discomfort that usually accompanies it.
Keep Your Long-Term Goals Present
Remember why you are making the change. Keep visualizing positive end result you’re moving towards. This can help anchor you in the transition gap.
Remember That The Discomfort Will Pass
As you shift into new habits and patterns, you will find a new place of comfort and familiarity. It simply takes a little time. Give yourself the gift of this time.
Use Healthy Substitutes As Necessary
With some changes, using a substitution makes the letting go easier. If you’re letting go of coffee, going cold turkey may not work. Maybe you do half decaf initially or switch to green tea or Yerba Mate (another plan stimulant) or an herbal coffee tasting substitute that doesn’t have the caffeine (Cafix or Teeccino).
If you are making lifestyle or diet shifts, making sure you have alternative options stocked in or new tools available goes a long way to implementing the new habit. Think of it similar to menu planning. You can’t cook a meal without the ingredients. What are the ingredients you need to make your lifestyle change? Order them ahead of the change so you will be ready to go. Likewise, if you are making a job shift where your income will be affected in the short-term, you will have less stress if you have financially prepared by having a cushion to cover the first couple months of transition.
Tap Into Your Support Network
Whether you’re connecting through the buddy system, finding an accountability partner, or hiring a professional coach or support person, having the human resources to keep you up and on track through your change process significantly boosts your success rate.
If you have strategies that work for you in supporting your gap transitions, I’d love to hear them! Share in the comment section and we can all be part of each other’s support network.
Jamie Durner, Holistic Wellness-Life-Business Coach
I specialize in helping individuals create and live a magnificently abundant life. As a holistic coach, I use my integrated background in life coaching, Ayurvedic medicine, yoga technologies, medicinal aromatherapy, and energy work to help you clear your blocks, shift unsupportive habits, and get you where you want to be.
I passionately believe that abundance and fulfillment are the natural results of living in connection to your unique authentic self. When you are this aligned space of being your best, you enjoy many benefits including vital wellbeing, healthy and harmonious relationships, greater satisfaction and balance in life and work, and the ability to go through life’s transitions with ease.
My areas of expertise include:
- Health and wellness on all levels of body, mind, and spirit
- Aging with ease – getting older doesn’t mean developing chronic health conditions
- Developing your personalized healthy lifestyle
- Work-Life transitions and balance
- Developing and expanding a yoga and meditation practice
- Business coaching for holistic practitioners
- Holistic Corporate Wellness programs
Through individualized and group coaching programs, DIY wellness products, and corporate wellness in-services, Jamie’s mission is to help you be your best: health body, sharp mind, balanced energy, and fulfilled life.
Get ready to get MORE of what you want – it’s time!
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