Managing life transitions or career transitions can sometimes feel unmanageable. In the busy schedules of activities that regularly structure the day, we can often forget the improvisational component of life. How do we remember to embrace the unknown possibilities just around the bend?
Transitions embody an element of time, a duration not always known, or anticipated, but they often provoke a sense of impatience. A way to resolve, or at the very least, embrace the uncertainty of transitions, is to become aware of cyclical patterns in life and nature, or perhaps incorporate a ritual or ceremony that expresses time and times of change.
If we think about times of transition, I think it is helpful to ponder the very concept of time itself to help frame our attitude toward change.
Listening to an interview of physicist Carlo Rovelli on an recent On Being podcast, I was especially fascinated by his explanations about time, and his interpretation of Einstein’s famous quote about time being an illusion. The title of the episode itself offers wisdom in and of itself: “All Reality is Interaction”.
In a condolence letter in 1955 to the family of his dearly departed friend, Michele Besso, Albert Einstein wrote,
“For those of us who believe in physics, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” –Albert Einstein
Rovelli offered up his understanding about the context for Einstein’s words – the lost of a dear friend, and being in front of his own death.
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“And when he’s saying there is something illusory in time, I think he’s talking about emotions, and he’s talking about something in a sense deeper and more important than the physical nature of time. He’s talking about the illusion of life, of our experiences… [T]here’s no time on a fundamental level, and nevertheless, we human beings live in time. We live in time like fish in the water. For us, it’s impossible to think of ourselves without time… [I]t’s a different question — “What is time in the fundamental level of physics?” from the question, “What is time for us?” And for us, it touches a lot of things, including emotional things.” –Carlo Rovelli
Managing transitions, which to our emotions and experience as human beings, occur within a seeming duration or period of time, might be managed better, if we let go of the emotional baggage of time – ‘this is taking too long,’ or ‘this is happening more quickly than I feel I can control.’ Instead, we can focus on the reality of interactions as the underpinnings of how things occur in the universe.
Interaction, Quantum Physics & Transition
Transition doesn’t happen in isolation but in relationship to life, and life’s pattern with experiences, occurrences and happenings. If we look at transitions through the lens of quantum physics, it’s interesting to think about reality as interactions.
“[Q]uantum physics does not describe how things are, but how things interact with one another. So, I think this is general — even we human beings — I’m not a thing; I’m a net of interactions with the world around me, with the people who know me, who love me. It’s a more powerful way of trying to grasp reality by focusing on what interacts with what and how.” –Carlo Rovelli
We can view transitions as a shift in our interactions. Transitions are occurring all the time. It happens when we change the patterns of: who we interact with, which people; the places where such energetic happenings are occurring, and how such interactions are manifesting.
Spring embodies Transition
The seasons, and spring in particular, provide wonderful symbolism for change and movement through the different energies of nature’s cycles. Spring’s tangible vigor for renewal, growth, opening and awakening is a time that offers hope and an energetic affirmation for new possibilities.
“Happiness radiates like the fragrance of a flower and draws all good things towards you” -Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Mindfulness of spring allows us to more deeply experience the blooming of flowers, new growth of plants and trees and the emergence of all forms of new life. With that growth awareness, transitions can be experienced as birthing new possibilities for our interactions with, and participation in, life.