My Naked Transition Story

Standing in light copy

Do you feel like you hear your soul talking but it speaks a foreign language? 

Or maybe you feel like you can see the hazy outline of your future self and you are ready to step out into the light to embody it.

I have spent the last few years of my life living through a deep identity transition and searching out the best resources for making it through in one piece. This hasn’t been an abstract research project, but an immediate, embodied hunger to try to understand what was happening to me and to find a way to journey through it and to live in a new way.

I think many different experiences can tip us into soul transformation territory.

Often suffering is a great teacher.

For me the alchemy of having my babies (three in the span of five years), coming to the end of a dual graduate program at Harvard, and jumping into super challenging leadership waters as the pastor of an emerging church all worked together to create a potent brew.

I had outgrown the old way of being me. But I felt so raw and tender and not sure how to live and work in a new way.

I knew I wanted to do deep spiritual work with people, but came to recognize that my job as a postmodern pastor wasn’t actually jiving with the quality of life I wanted as a woman, partner and mother. It was scary to step out in uncharted waters and scarier still to claim space as a spiritual entrepreneur. I first had to let go of what wasn’t working before I could tune into what I really wanted to create and listen for the space of service which felt most authentically mine.

And before I could get clear on all the externals (professional shifts, new colleagues, credentials and ways of earning income) I had to first get cozy with my own inner transformational process.

Because that is the thing about it— when we are in soul transition, upleveling I like to think of it, the only way through it is through it. (Of course at the time an “uplevel” in consciousness actually feels like a shift downward, or a free fall, as we shed old habits, patterns and ways of seeing ourselves.)

And this shift is made all the more uncomfortable when we feel people looking on from the outside. Friends and family may be a little confused or troubled to see you choosing different priorities. You may also be watching yourself move through the transition and feel unsettled, naked even, for it is hard to let go of who we thought we were and trust that invitation of the soul to step out. It takes courage to take off the shoe that doesn’t fit and walk with tender feet on your path.

Yet little by little—like following breadcrumbs out of the forest— I found my way. And each time I was really hungry or feeling lost, I’d find another bite. The Enneagram (a dynamic map of the nine flavors of human experience) was an invaluable tool for me during this time: helping me de-velcro from my inner critic and recognize when I was letting my personality drive the show.

Personalities are oriented around maintaining the status quo. And they can’t deliver on real peace of mind or clarity. It is only through cultivating a relationship with our soul or true essence that we are nourished and find the sure inner footing on which to build a life: your authentic life, which will be like no other.

Another vital piece of my journey was connecting with a wonderful coach (a friend invited me to join her at a day retreat and essentially paid for my first session– otherwise I doubt I would have gotten started!) My coach shared her wisdom with me when mine was in short supply and in the process opened up this whole new career field. Making sure your receiving gates are open is an essential part of navigating a soul shift. We really aren’t meant to do this kind of work alone.

And today I am more happy than I’ve been in a long long time. My life is far from perfect and there are certainly challenges to being an entrepreneur and mama but most days I feel deeply tapped into gratitude. And way, way lighter. And that I am living in alignment with my heart.

Here is the truest thing I know to say about moving consciously through transitions:

It is a dance between the deep stuff and the simple stuff. 

Between finding a good source of guided meditations and organizing your pantry or closet.

Between writing in your journal or diving deep into your artwork and balancing your budget.

Between downloading the wisdom of a powerful spiritual teacher and making yourself some good soup.

Between wanting the best for the people you love and realizing you have to find some connection to Source in which you can surrender your love of them or you will go nutty.

Between sitting on the cushion and getting up to move your body even when you’d rather ruminate.

And also know there is another side to these deep shifts.

We are never done evolving (thank goodness!) but the big transformative shifts don’t last forever. We get to a new plateau and enjoy seasons of rest and integration. And to savor the freedom which is birthed out of the process, often in direct relationship to whatever constriction we just grew out of. (I hinted at this in my post a couple of weeks ago— How to Do Soul Surgery)

For me this freedom looks like shifting my energy from being worried if people like me (it sounds so petty, but well there it is) to learning how to stand on and speak out of that which feels most true within.

This year I hope that you heed the invitation to integrate, align, and to grow big.

Because your presence is an inspiration to others around you and of deep import to the story we are all writing together.

Big love to you this day,

Courtney

PS If you would like help navigating your own transition you can learn more about the self-study version of my eCourse UPLEVEL here or reach out to schedule your own complementary laser coaching session to talk through coaching options. xxo

In my office