How to Stay Grounded During Transition and Change
“We are always in transition. If you can just relax with that, you’ll have no problem.”
- Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
This week I was in the midst of moving, dismantling and packing my whole place to shift into a new one, and I came across this quotation on a little piece of paper. It was a gleaming little message from some past version of me meant to be found at this exact moment. I smiled, and placed it on a now-empty shelf as a little beacon above my jungle of boxes and bubble wrap.
Transitions can often be the most stressful times in life. Whether we are moving to a new place, taking a new job, graduating, starting or ending a relationship, having a body-altering medical procedure or embarking on a change journey of any kind, the sudden flux and upheaval can cause a distressing feeling of ungroundedness or chaos. Routines are disrupted. Familiarity disappears. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when the usual places of comfort, security, and reprieve are lost.
There will certainly be times in life when the level of change is more significant. And yet in actuality, we are always in transition. Change is the only constant. We are always moving through something. We transition from morning to evening, from home to work and back, from alone time to social time, from spring to summer to fall to winter. The covid-19 pandemic has forced society collectively to confront the experience of both quick and continual change (and we all can see the stress and upheaval that causes!).
One of the greatest benefits I’ve gained from mindfulness meditation practice is developing a deeper connection to the concept of impermanence and constant change. We are not only frequently experiencing change on a macro-level, but on a mirco-level as well. Moment to moment, our experience shifts. Inhale to exhale. We exist in a constant flow of changing sensation. Sounds, smells, body sensations, thoughts, emotions, energy levels, moods, and so much more are flowing through us in a swirl of constant transition. And as Trungpa Rinpoche said, “if you can relax with that, you’ll have no problem.”
And if you’re thinking, “But hey, constant change sounds even more stressful than a few big changes!” Here is my favorite way to stay grounded no matter what the situation.
Grounding Through Somatic Anchors
A Somatic Anchor is a place in our body that we can turn to for a sense of internal groundedness, calm, and presence. It is a way to support ourselves by using something we ALWAYS have with us: our body. In times of great flux, we may not have that familiar place, that trusted person, or that favorite lucky scarf. But we still have our physical body and this can be a great resource.
Often, the things we notice most in our bodies are painful or uncomfortable. However, we also have the power to direct our attention to places of support and groundedness that might usually fly under the radar. Energy follows attention, so by bringing awareness to our internal sources of grounding we are cultivating that experience for ourselves regardless of the external circumstances.
A Few Things to Note:
If you would like support finding your ground during a time of big transition, somatic counseling can help!
Please reach out for a free consultation