Life Transitions

Hello my Zebras and Spoonies. Thank you for coming over and hanging out with me for a little while. I am really glad that you are here.

Something that we don’t tend to think of as a stressor in our lives is our life transitions. These are the times in our lives that we are having a role shift or a major change in the way that we are living. Some examples of these are marriage, the birth of a child, retiring, the death of a significant person in our life, a disabling accident, or having a chronic illness that develops to the point of disabling us, getting a new job, traveling to a new location, a new place of living, getting a new house or a new apartment, getting divorced, graduating from school (high school or college), empty nest syndrome, and many others. All of these are times in our lives where we change the roles that we’re playing. With that comes a shift in our identity and how we see ourselves.

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Of No Consequence

“Sometimes [things will] seem, by contrast, inconsequential, and you’ll wonder what business they have in [our lives]…Think of these fragments as the shavings off a carpenter’s floor, swept together after some great work has been made. The master piece has been taken from the workshop, but what might we learn from a study of some particular curl of wood about the moment of creation? How here the carpenter hesitated, or there moved to complete a form with unerring certainty? Are these shavings then, that seem at first glance redundant, not also part of the great work, being that which has been removed to reveal it?”

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No-Thing-ness

Being somebody or something is very important in our culture, some times to the point of being all consuming. It is a major paradigm. A person’s worth in society is determined by what they have accomplished. While there is value and joy that comes from accomplishment, I want to suggest a different paradigm for living. I advocate that we start out with the acknowledgement that at our core, we are no-thing. As Satre stated, “Existence precedes essence.” What this means is that the central focus of our lives is our existence. That as human beings, we exist. Everything else derives from this fact. Thus ultimately at my core, I am all process, I am a stream of consciousness, I am not a thing. From this place of no-thing-ness, I discover and define my unique existential identity. What is powerful about this paradigm is that I am the subject of my life. The internal, essential self is all that exists and thus is all that matters.

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EXISTENTIALISM SAVES US

Most people who struggle with chronic illness have also had to face an existential crisis. Most don’t call it this or realize that there is a name for it, but most of us share this experience as we move through our journey of grief. We have to face the world as it is: brutal, raw and unfair. What meaning and purpose can there possibly be in a universe that slays children with leukemia and slowly crushes you beneath the EDS heel? 

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