The good life is a process

UnPacking for This Journey
Looking at what you carry

We invite you to join us in SWITransitions. We believe that a transition is like a journey in that it’s an on-going process that requires movement, even when we’re not quite sure where we’re going to wind up. As with journeys, what we carry often determines the quality of the experience. So we’re starting our Transition journey with Unpacking.


Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self
will require not just small adjustments in your way of living
and thinking, but a full-on metamorphosis.

Martha Beck, O Magazine, Growing Wings, January 2004

Are you carrying ‘bags’ of associations that no longer serve you? Perceptions and behaviors that were possibly thought to be essential in getting you where you are, but are no longer helping you get where you want to be? Are you moving through your transitions with patterns and ideas from “the morning of life”?


We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program
of life’s morning—for what was great in the morning will be
little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at
evening have become a lie.

Swiss psychoanalyst, Carl Jung

Why do people say that letting go of old patterns and outdated ideas is so difficult? One reason is that it is often threatening to lose the threads woven in our old lives through which we have come to know ourselves. We may still need to hold on to the person we recognize as ‘me’ lest we lose ourselves or become unrecognizable.

Intellectually we understand that separating from the past can be liberating, maybe even energizing. Nonetheless, we need to negotiate particulars to cross to the “unknown,” that which separates the old from the new. So before we can fully move forward, we must look at what we’ve accumulated and ask ourselves on the onset of our transition: ‘Are the ‘bags’ that we carry today—the responsibilities, the roles, the self images and relationships—still the right ones for us as we disembark on this journey?’

To answer, let’s make a commitment and take a conscious look at what we are carrying and why. Do our possessions, responsibilities and relationships still help us move forward? Or, or do they drag us down? Are we taking care of “our stuff” instead of taking care of ourselves? And, what determines if the weight of it all is worthwhile and relevant?

In theory, we are all free to choose what goes and what stays. But, in reality, how many of us do?

Martha Beck says we all have our own Everyday Committee, people in our lives who we have somehow empowered to tell us how to be, what to believe, and what we ought to do. Their voices are blaming and negative. They tell us we’re not good enough, not safe. Many of us listen to and adhere to what our Everyday Committee whispers in our unconscious ear: socialize only with certain kinds of people because if you don’t….;you should live in a particular neighborhood because….; you were never really good at anything so….; you’re being selfish if you….; you need to buy that ___ and that’ll make you happy. If we are poised to please our Everyday Committee, we will always be listening to others and they have no real interest in you or your happiness.

Looking and finding what is within us and being guided by it is what makes our lives truly ours. Operating from others’ beliefs and values is what makes our ‘bags’ heavy and burdensome. If you’re embarking on a new adventure or transition, make it truly your transition, your journey—the only things in your ‘bag’ will be what you put in there. So it’s time to disband some or all of your Everyday Committee members and at the same time, unpack all their shoulds and agendas. It’s also time to unpack obligations and associations that you have packed into your life if they no longer fit.

Unpacking is the first step! It may require breaking old habits and patterns and establishing new ones over time. Some may take quite a long time—take as long as you need. When you’re ready, begin to choose who you want to be on your new Everyday Committee. Choose from people who inspire you—they may be persons living or not, fictional or real. Choose from people who love you and from whom you gain strength and courage to do what you want to do. Choose carefully, start with one person and build a committee whose positive, caring guidance is to help you live in integrity with your values and dreams. It is also time to listen to your own inner voice and connect to your own personal power—a power that lies within you and works through you and for you. Working together, you and your Committee will consider what matters most in your life and how to attain it, with courage and determination, and often, love and forgiveness.

At SWITransition Kit and Amalia introduce you to ways to tap into your power and wisdom as you unpack and eventually repack your bags. SWITransitions offers ways to have you be open to the possibility of seeing things differently. And at this initial unpacking stage, reflect on how much you want to carry forward—knowing that the weight and contents of your bags will ultimately determine the quality of your journey.

Leave a Reply