Moving Through Transitions – Lesson 5 – It’s only extra!


It’s only extra!

Lesson 5 of 9 Lessons I Learned from Mom about How to Meet Transitions with Grace.

Pieces of furniture and clothes were moved from mom’s home into an independent living facility. Before her transition, we asked what she wanted us to do with the furniture.

She replied, with acceptance for the way things were, “It doesn’t matter, it’s only extra!”

That was quite a positive statement for someone, who like most of us in one way or another, has a penchant for holding onto things and to the specific way, we want things to be.

A small example is one time when helping her clean up after dinner. I asked what she wanted me to do with a small number of vegetables, “Do you want me to throw this out now, or would you like me to wait a week and throw it out then?

She looked at me and started to seriously consider this. Then, she paused and laughed. So did I. Can you relate?

Transitions are made easier when we lighten our load, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Many of us tend to hold onto material things, some, with a white-knuckle grip! Want a bird’s eye view? check out your junk drawer, closets, cubby-holes, garages, and cars!

People in the emotional throes of change, look perplexed when it is suggested they weed out what is “only extra” as if that might help their situation.

It is however a good practice. Our attention goes to what is incomplete and what is unnecessary becomes a distraction and weighs us down. Weeding through our stuff also clears the mind and makes room for the new.

In addition to sorting material possessions, sorting through emotions is also helpful when seeking to create poise in transitions.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross years ago introduced a model many have applied to the emotional adaptation during transitions.  According to her model, the five emotional states we experience are—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance.

Her model helps us to put our experiences into perspective—that we are not alone in our responses, and that there is light at the end of it.

 During mom’s transition, she released her need to hold onto much material “stuff” and whatever sentimental value she might have assigned to it.

Adopting, an ‘It’s only extra” mindset can help us assess what’s important, what needs attention, and what is “only extra” as we move toward acceptance.

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; “- Ecclesiastes 3:1-2, KJV.

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