It delights me to no end when I see our dog Gigi sense an upcoming transition. She has become so accustomed to my husband Dan and my habits, behaviors, and routines, that she knows with the tiniest dip in our tone of voice or slightest leg movement that change is coming. She perks up, ready, anticipating. Her recognition of the coming break is so noticeable that we have taken to announcing, "It's transition time, Gigi!" almost any time we leave a room or change activity.
This is not the first time that I have taken a major life lesson from my dog (animals have so much to teach us, don't they?). and I doubt that it will be the last. As I have watched Gigi prepare to transition over the years, I increasingly appreciate the value and wisdom in her alert posture. She allows for a break in activity as we move from one thing to the next and--whether consciously or not--models that we cannot necessarily will ourselves to drift seamlessly through our agenda. Often as we move through our days and priorities we abruptly switch gears. We should not pretend that it is natural or easy.
When I remember--which is not often--I take a moment. I jolt to attention, probably not as pronouncedly as Gigi, and I register that I am moving from A to B or from A to X. There is a setting apart and leaving behind of what was and a preparation to engage what lies ahead. This means sloughing off conversations that I replay in my head over and over, wishing I had spoken more eloquently or articulately, letting go of ideas that I might have expressed differently at work, and making peace with arguments that I would like to have had over again (or avoid entirely). The next thing deserves not to be clouded over by what preceded it. When I leave work to join Dan and Gigi, I want to be present with them and not intermittently checking my email or dwelling on staff meeting. When I begin a prayer service, I do not want to take the rude horrible driver that tailed me on my drive to the chapel with me. In short: When I am somewhere, I actually want to be there and not elsewhere.
I do not pretend that we do not carry our experiences with us--we absolutely do. We are not computers that can simply close a file and be done--period. Dot. End of sentence. But we can note where we are, where we were, and where we are going.
We can note the transitions, and instead of trying to ignore or overcome them, celebrate them as the sometimes bumps, sometimes jerks, and sometimes pauses that demarcate the rhythms of our lives.