Excerpt from “Doorways to Transformation: Everyday Wisdom for the Creative Soul” by Karen Kinney

“Transitions. Crossing thresholds. Steps of faith. Releasing what has come before as we cross the murky and undefined landscape of in-between. The discomfort of temporary spaces plants seeds of doubt. But I cannot ignore the vision that beats in my heart; the potential I can sense is coming as I believe for a future not yet realized. It has become clear that a new container is required for growth.” 

—Journal entry, April 16, 2018

Ah, transition. It is not my strong suit, yet persevere I must. Because good things await. How do I create from this new energy source? I wonder. It is still so unfamiliar. And I’m struggling to find my footing, feeling thrown off track in my work. I remind myself that the steps to create remain unchanged… simply choose to sit down and do the work. Show up at the page. This makes sense. 

I mull over these thoughts as I enter into my second month of living in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. So many reasons inspired this move, including a long-held desire to live internationally and an aspiration to transition from an art career to writing and teaching—work that feels even more aligned with my soul’s purpose. Getting to this point has been years in the making, and I wonder if the second chapter of my life is beginning in this country. So much is new. Everything is, really. 

Transitions are no easy feat. They challenge us at the core of our being, requiring us to become a lump of clay for a while—not yet here and not yet there. Some days I feel as if I am being forced into a lump of clay, as if there is no other option. Perhaps that is why I’ve been unable to shake my unsettled feelings and keep trying to define things ahead of schedule. The truth is, I am not good at being a lump of clay. I prefer the defined lines of planning and execution, and would prefer to bypass the gray areas that linger in between. 

But ever so slowly, necessity is teaching me that it is okay to be not yet formed. Even though this grates against my nature, in reality I know that any passage from one thing to the next requires a period of venturing into the unknown. To cross its threshold, we must surrender what is familiar and be willing to journey through the darkness. And the only way out is through. 

I remind myself once more to enjoy the journey and take comfort in knowing that the calling coming to me isn’t in a hurry. Therefore, I don’t need to be in a hurry. Pressure subsides as I exhale, allowing myself to more fully surrender to this great unknowing and its incubating darkness. 

Transitions to something new often belie themselves with their enticing outward appearance. We forget that profound shifts are occurring underneath—things of substance that only reveal themselves over time. But this journey of allowing murky waters is a necessary prelude for what will follow, making the work of transition an integral time of laying the foundations for future growth. 

I sit in a quiet nature preserve just outside of town and allow rest to overcome me as I let my head drop over my body. As I enter into this posture of relaxation, a small butterfly emerges from the grass and flies to a jagged rock a few feet away, vigorously beating its wings and finally growing still. This feels like a confirmation of my own surrender—my embrace of this glorious unknown. 

As I observe the butterfly, I notice how it blends with its surroundings and is designed perfectly for this particular terrain. These thoughts ricochet back to my spirit, and I am graced with the awareness that I too am meant for this new land that I inhabit. I no longer need to see what my own lump of clay will become. There is a glory in life being unformed, one we so easily miss in our pursuit of “the next thing.” The unknowing will work itself out in due time, paving the way for our own metamorphosis.

How well do you navigate the murky waters of transition? Do you struggle with things being unformed in your life? 

How might these “lumps of clay” be invitations to welcome a passage into the unknown more fully?