In Chapter 1 of Thrival Skills 101, I share a personal story that captures the essence of the transition process. In life we go through many transitions—some big, some small, but ALL transitions have three phases—an Ending, The Void and a New Beginning. In this blog I’ll be sharing my personal story of finding myself in transition and in the subsequent three blogs, we’ll explore each of the three phases in detail.
Many authors have suggested that our spiritual journeys are usually kickstarted by some event that creates a crisis in our lives causing us to question the values and beliefs we held up until that point. My seminal experience began when I became a high school exchange student in Germany at the age of seventeen. Little did I know that this experience would be such a life changer for me. I just knew it was something I needed to do.
Growing up in a small town in Mississippi, I loved participating in the life of our church. I also believed I was grounded in scripture, and although I did have some problems with some of the Bible stories, all in all I was a pretty happy camper. Even imagined I would grow up a be a missionary someday.
THE ENDING: Just imagine what it must have been like for a young girl from Mississippi who had been totally insulated in her community coming into an environment where students openly defied or denied Christianity. There were both atheists and agnostics in my class and they were not at all shy about asking me all kinds of questions about my beliefs. I found myself trying to defend a way of believing that I was not so well versed in as I thought. My belief system crumbled.
THE VOID: I didn’t know where to turn and felt lost. In hindsight, I have words to describe this experience of going into the void, but at the time I only knew that what I had believed wasn’t working for me anymore and I had no idea how to fill this void.
For a period of about 10 years, using scholarships and fellowships, I went back and forth between the United States and Germany trying to sort it all out. Finally, I realized I couldn’t go back to the teachings of the church I had grown up in, but I wasn’t sure where to turn. I began reading and reading and reading—paying attention to those things that made sense to me. Through that process I developed my own spiritual path, but I didn’t know anyone who shared similar beliefs to mine.
THE NEW BEGINNING: Then one day I was taking a class in Silva Mind Control and a student in the class said to me: “If you think this is great, then you should visit Unity.” I was like: “Lady, you don’t understand; my feet have not graced a church in eleven years. I don’t think so.” But as fate would have it, about three months later, I found myself at the Pyramid in Houston, Texas and as I listened, I KNEW I had found a new spiritual home. What a surprise to discover so many other like-minded people! Today, Unity’s core principles still inform my spiritual journey.
Be thinking about some of your own endings, your times in the void and then your new beginnings. It would be great to hear your stories. Please go to my blog, charlottelehecka.com, and share a story. I hope you’ll join me for the rest of the series. The better we get at recognizing where we are in the transition process, the easier it will become to move through life’s transitions with aplomb!!!