How can we prepare for life’s unexpected transitions? We can’t plan our way out of the unexpected events that affect our lives. We have to let life unfold and maintain an “openess” to the process and progress of LIFE.
Most people are surprised at the adjustment that receiving unexpected money requires. Inheritance generally involves the loss of someone dear to us. Financial compensation awards as a result of injury leave the “winner” with major adjustments, because the fight is over and yes there may be some financial relief, but the loss is still there. Even winning the lottery has a huge adjustment, that frankly most people are not able to make, because you can not spend your way to happiness. The person who has started a company from scratch and sells it for unimaginable sums suddenly has to realign themselves with who they are without this drive to create and build. A driving personality needs to take the time to reestablish who they are, while holding off all the attention about their past success and the rush to tap into their gratitude and generosity.
Living life as a mindful human BEING instead of a human DOING occurs to most people during periods of transition. No matter how successful a person is I have never met one who would not hand over everything they have to save the life of their child. Loss and near loss bring us all to our knees though painful, they are the most efficient teachers for us of what our priorities really are. In the world of treatment and recovery parents, spouses, entire families literally “hold their breath” hoping that “this time” treatment will work. Recovery from addiction and trauma often brings with it the loss of a job, a standard of living or a marriage. My work is about guiding people through transitions both good and bad, up and down, so that they can work at an optimal level when faced with decisions that will impact their lives and the lives of their families.
Success is not an especially good teacher. In fact, we learn far more from our troubled transitions in life than our successes. Financial success can bring about a wide variety of conflicting emotions which may include depression, guilt, is this all there is?, fear that life’s accomplishments are over and an emptiness over what to do next. Jimmy Carter is an interesting study in this concept. For many, the idea of being President of the United States seems to be the top of the mark, but repeatedly, former President Carter (and he is not the only one) sees his greatest achievements in other areas of his life.
People have often have great difficulty with Estate Planning. The numbers and the tax code are not the hard part of estate planning, assuming you have a top lawyer working for you. (Not to worry, I have those names stamped in my brain). The hard part is talking about your own mortality, your legacy, how to care for your family. The serious issues of trying to help your family after you are dead bring up a vast array of competing issues which lead to many failed plans. Even an excellent will does not help much if the assets are not held as the will states or no one can find the original.
People spend money for an attorney to draft a plan and then do not follow through with what needs to be done to make it work. Instead of easing the burden for those left behind, they have unconsciously created a nightmare for their families who now must deal with untangling a huge mess at a time when they are grieving. People who do not have much money think they do not need a plan, but they do. Who will take care of your child if you die? your dogs? horses? cats and other critters? Who will pay the bills for the funeral, write the obituary and find the passwords to all the stuff they need on your computer? You do not have to have any money to create a nightmare for your family or friends as they try to survive the transition of your loss.
Transitions call on us to get to the heart of the matter. If you are experiencing or planning for life’s transitions, do the emotional work FIRST and you will then be far more successful in deciding your next course of action. I created Worth Healing for people to have a place to talk about what is hard to talk about in a safe place, because I have spent over 35 years helping people navigate the transitions in their lives. Few things in life go as planned, but getting to the essence of any life transition brings clarity and the ability to adapt to your life. We all need a place where we can speak our fears, our rage, our hopes and dreams without judgement in order to fully process transitions that have occurred or plan for the inevitable. All to often we feel we must filter what we say to not scare or hurt someone else. I used a tree in the Worth Healing logo, because trees have always provided me with a safe place to express my feelings and a reminder of the constant changes in life. Look at some of the big trees in the forest, they have scars, missing limbs and yet they are still growing. Nature gives us many examples of growth and survival from transitions.
I am a transitionist for your financial issues and your emotional issues, which become intertwined. My specific training for financial transitions is with the Sudden Money Institute headed by Susan Bradley, an internationally recognized expert in this new field. Check out my website at www.worthhealing.net for further information about my training for the past 35 years. We can’t outplan life, but we can learn to be in FLOW with it, so we can make our transitions with grace.
Enjoy your holidays! When the chaos gets to you ask this question, “How important is _____________ (it) really?” Just take time to be a Human Being! We are all Worth Healing and we can all help others heal during painful transitions.