Transitionary Time

Here in the magnificent Pacific Northwest, the last few days have been a falling back and forth between seasons, a wild gyration between the tomb of winter and the fresh life of spring.    Nature reminds us, as she does every year, that the interplay between death and life is vital, regular, and right.   This transitionary time mirrors the inner transitions we all hold that contain loss and hope, despair and returning life.   Again, and again, and again.

In the Christian tradition, Holy Week remembers and contains this cyclical story of the soul.    On this day, the first day of Holy Week this year, I would like to offer you this lovely passage from John O’Donohue as he brings us into transitionary awareness:

Like spring secretly at work within the heart of winter, below the surface of our lives huge changes are in fermentation. We never suspect a thing. Then when the grip of some long-enduring winter mentality begins to loosen, we find ourselves vulnerable to a flourish of possibility and we are suddenly negotiating the challenge of a threshold.

At any time you can ask yourself: At which threshold am I now standing? At this time in my life, what am I leaving? Where am I about to enter? What is preventing me from crossing my next threshold? What gift would enable me to do it? A threshold is not a simple boundary; it is a frontier that divides two different territories, rhythms, and atmospheres. Indeed, it is a lovely testimony to the fullness and integrity of an experience or a stage of life that it intensifies toward the end into a real frontier that cannot be crossed without the heart being passionately engaged and woken up. At this threshold a great complexity of emotion comes alive: confusion, fear, excitement, sadness, hope. This is one of the reasons such vital crossings were always clothed in ritual. It is wise in your own life to be able to recognize and acknowledge the key thresholds; to take your time; to feel all the varieties of presence that accrue there; to listen inward with complete attention until you hear the inner voice calling you forward. The time has come to cross.

To Bless the Space Between Us (New York: Double Day Publishing) 48.