How to Make Life Transitions Easier


Many of us face tough decisions on the heels of what would appear to be an unexpected derailment of our Life plans. While it is important to spend time reflecting on which new path to forge, often we waste time either fretting about the event itself that has thrown us off-course, or second-guessing the decision we made and wishing we had made another. There is something you can do to make committing to your toughest life decisions easier: Collaborate with the inevitable.

Roberto Assagioli, Italian psychiatrist and contemporary of Sigmund Freud once surprised his accomplished student Piero Ferrucci with his reaction to Ferrucci’s announcement of having been drafted by the Italian military. Dr. Ferrucci, had been working for a year with Assagioli and was initially furious at the interruption of their mentorship in the area of psychosynthesis, only to have it forcibly replaced by 15 months of donning a military uniform, memorizing marches and handlings arms. In his book “What We May Be”, Ferrucci tells of Assagioli’s reaction when he broke the distressing news to him. Much to Ferrucci’s surprise, Assagioli did not commiserate with him.
“Great”, replied Assagioli, instead. “Now you will learn how to collaborate with the inevitable. This will be a most important part of your psychosynthesis training.”

Assagioli’s response stunned Ferrucci at first, until he realized that every challenge we face, becomes part of the lessons that form the School of Life. Resisting reality only tempts us to become bitter and blame people and things outside of us for things not going the way we want them to go. Some things are beyond our control. You cannot both try to hang on to the past and move into the future simultaneously. You made a rational decision recently involving some event that would take you to a new chapter in your life. Now ACCEPT the reality that goes along with such decision. Assagioli believed that instead of grumbling or complaining about an unexpected situation that would appear on the surface to derail your plans, extract all of the benefits you can from whatever situation you are in. Often, these ‘benefits’ involve your freedom of thought and how you choose to perceive your situation.
When Assagioli was imprisoned by the fascists for his antiwar views in the 30’s, he recorded his insights in his book “Freedom in Jail”. These notes described the freedom he recognized in his own ability to extract the benefits of his jail experience by taking on various perspectives regarding his situation. Instead of self-pity or bitterness, he could look at his time in prison with a sense of humor, with a curious interest, as a period that would allow him some time for reflective thinking about philosophical issues, reviewing his past life, analyzing scientific problems, or using the time as a spiritual retreat.

If Assagioli could take the most adverse personal circumstance and turn it into a number of positive possibilities with only the power of his thoughts, you can do the same regarding your impending transition—by collaborating with the inevitable and changing your thoughts regarding what is happening to you. Instead of focusing on how much you dread leaving the familiar, begin to try out different attitudes that focus on the benefits of what lies ahead. Think of how many new adventures you are lucky enough to experience. Try to image how great it is to have a chance to start your life from scratch again. Be strong. Keep body and mind fit. And be the person that you aspire to be by daring to step out of your comfort zone and embracing the glorious gifts of each new day.
Make a list today of all of the benefits you can possibly think of that come along with your upcoming life change and don’t’ let yourself focus on the negative feelings of fear, self-doubt, and the desire to grip on to a part of your life that is now meant to be put behind you.

Now go forward with confidence! I look forward to reading your comments of personal victory.
Un abbraccio

How to Make Your New Surroundings Feel Like Home


(Photo courtesy Rich Tortorigi)


At various times in our lives, we are called to find a new place to call “home”. Whether downsizing from a large to a smaller house; embarking on a cross-country move required for work purposes, or fulfilling your dream to explore another part of the world, there is no question that moving can be scary. The way to counter that fear of the unknown is to take action.
There was a time when the city of Rome was surrounded by enemies, and the only way it could survive was by taking the offensive. The Roman army grew from an unpaid citizen’s militia to the world’s most powerful professional institution. Rome was victorious because the Roman soldiers were relentless, tenacious and courageous in making the first move. They used innovative techniques as they expanded their territories and incorporated what they learned from other cultures.
You too need to be relentless, tenacious, and courageous about taking this new challenge into your own hands. Feeling “lost “after moving into a new home is quite normal. Your surroundings are unfamiliar and you don’t know your new neighbors—yet. Take the offensive. Don’t wait for someone to show up at your door and ask to be your new best friend. Fill up your time planner with the people, places, and events that can be found where you are now. Throw yourself a housewarming party. Learn what community events will be held in your new town will be doing this summer and incorporate some of the local flavor (restaurants, stores, activities) into your weekly time planner.
Of course even when you have followed these suggestions to a tee, there will still be moments of loneliness that seep in when you least expect it. That is called LIFE, which, like an ancient Roman mosaic, is not perfect when examined too closely, but still a breathtaking masterpiece when taken as a whole. You are evolving into what you are meant to become: a confident, self-sufficient woman, who is capable of both letting go and embracing new turf. You are being called to let go of the pain associated with the loss of having had your loved ones all under one roof, and embrace a new cast of characters who will eventually fill your heart with joy and happiness, even if they don’t share the same last name.
On a day to day basis, pick 2-3 of the following exercises and see them through for six weeks. Before you know it you will notice a more permanent change and a place to truly call your home!
• Join a local place of worship in your new neighborhood and get involved with their activities.
• Invite a few of your new condo neighbors for a pot luck house-warming party at your home
• Bake a batch of biscotti, put on the machinetta and invite your sons over to help you enjoy your new home and munch on a homemade goodie.
• Get a dog and walk through the streets of your condo complex. Fellow dog walkers love to stop and share conversations about their pups and yours.
• Have a 20 minute telephone conversation each day to stay in touch with family members who live farther away.
• Buy a great bottle of wine and invite some friends from your old neighborhood to help you pair it with just the right cheese when you invite them over for movie night in your new place.

These are just a few suggestions; you will no doubt come up with many more but you must resist the urge to let self-pity lead to inertia. We all battle loneliness and often it is a result of moving residences so you are not alone. The solution to feeling lost in new surroundings lies in summoning up the courage to take consistent action to bringing into your life all of the elements that will soon become familiar. Like the Roman soldiers, you too, can be victorious in conquering new territory.