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On Feeling Stuck: Making Major Life Decisions and Handling Uncomfortable Transitions

Just like a helicopter,

I am circling,



Desperately wanting to feel solid ground beneath me.

But unable to get full clearance

on when or where to land.

These were words I had scribbled in a journal years ago during a major upheaval.

And these were words I recently shared with a client going through the same angst ridden process of trying to make a life changing decision.

She was relieved that I knew exactly what she was feeling. And I was grateful that because of my previous willingness to gothrough my own uncomfortable journey, I was now in a position to support her through hers.

An unsettling sense of groundless-ness and uncertainty typically marks the arrival of these “helicopter moments” . Moments which I also refer to as life in the transition lounge:That suspended space in which you hover… between becoming frustratingly  aware that something needs to change…. and….. finally becoming clear on what to do and how to do it. That awkward space between the comfortable familiarity of who you used to be…… and…… the intriguing but unfamiliar newness of who you find yourself becoming.

It is not a space for the feint of heart.

Yet hanging out in the transition lounge is an almost inevitable rite of passage for all human beings.

Because life changes. And so do we .

We can either resist these changes and suffer through the frustration of feeling stuck, stagnant and imprisoned.


We can surrender to the internal chaos that marks the shedding of an old skin, and the feeling of being vulnerably exposed and unformed while a new one grows in.

My mind hated the uncertainty of my tumultous period. My client was eager to get to the end of hers.


Just like a hovering helicopter, life in the transition lounge is about waiting.

Waiting as Lao Tzu advises, for our internal muddy waters to settle so that our path forward can become clear . Waiting while we closely observe our thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Waiting as we drop superficial defenses and pretences and edge closer towards what we were not previously ready to deal with. And then waiting even more as we process uncomfortable emotions and truths that we can now accept.

Waiting . Evaluating. Clarifying. Resolving.

This is the profound work taking place internally while hanging out in the transition lounge. Even as nothing significant seems to be happening externally.

Until suddenly…..something does.

We have all heard the adage: First take care of the inside, then the outside will fall in place. It is actually true. The correlation between internal shifts and external changes is a fascinating process to observe. Both in myself, my clients and my friends.

In the same way that you never really know that you have fallen asleep until you actually wake up, so too we often don’t realise the extent of our internal changes until our external actions start reflecting them back to us: Leaving the job we thought we never could. .. Getting married. …Asking for a divorce…. Realising with surprise that we are now actually enjoying the very life we wanted to escape from for so long. …Migrating…..Deciding to start a family…. Suddenly losing the weight we thought we never could.

One never really knows what will happen after our helicopter moments .

And that’s okay.

Because the decisions we end up making while in the transition lounge are perhaps not nearly as important as who we allow ourselves to become while hanging out in there.

Who we are, ultimately determines what we do.

And so any significant changes we make externally will simply reflect who we have allowed ourselves to become internally.Try not to be too impatient with your own helicopter moments. Trust the process that is unfolding. And above all Be Mindful and Treat Yourself Kindly whenever you find yourself stuck for a while in any of life’s transition lounges.If reading this moves you in any way to make a comment or share an experience of your own hovering experiences…please do….As always I would love to hear from you.



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