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  • Writer's pictureDana Kent

How Rituals Helped Me Navigate a Major Life Transition and How They Can Help You Too

The funny thing about transitions, like today... a new month, is that we have always talked about them in the context that they need to be BIG. Yet... the small ones are just as important, and we experience them daily. Our entire lives are like a spectrum of events, all of which are the tiniest of transitions; some we feel and see, others pass by us like a gentle breeze on a spring day. Today's conversation is about how we can live our best lives, even through the most difficult of times.

Over the last year, I have had the opportunity to reinvent who I am. For 26 years, I started each day worrying about what operational challenges I was going to meet for the day. I would always describe resort operations as playing a game of pool. It all started when you heard that first radio call or stepped onto the property. Regardless of what happened overnight, you always had to play the table you received that day. The larger the challenge, the more I thrived. I absolutely LOVED it, and if I were to step out of my humble leader's space for a second... I was really, really good at it. It was that shot of adrenaline every single day that I craved... for a very, very long time, and just like any drug, it's not sustainable.

For a little over a year now, I have had to find new ways to start my day. No longer was I beholden to a company; I was now the CEO of my own life (and now quite literally a CEO of my own company, Dana Kent Coaching LLC). It was new territory to me, and I had no idea how to do this, but what became very rooted in was ritual. My days started, and continue to this day, with time for journaling, a cup of coffee outside with a few minutes of fresh air to take in the day, and always making my bed. Through time, the journaling has become fodder for my blogs or posts. In the beginning, it was simply the date, how I was feeling, and because during transitions, we tend to lose our focus, I would put pen to paper detailing what I was going to work on for about 15 minutes that day that serves the future self. Gratitude has always been the cornerstone of my daily practice because you really can't hold space for anxiety or worry while you are grateful for the abundance you already have. The coffee outside in the morning has always been something that I have enjoyed, and it absolutely sets the tone of my day. I noticed that because we can be so focused on our screens, news, social media, or what is immediately in front of us, for me spending at least 5 minutes just listening to the wind, the birds... and experiencing the mountain air reminds me that I am just a small piece in the bigger intention of the universe. This time outside roots me in my surroundings and my day. Lastly, making the bed, while I would like to say this is because I enjoy discipline... it truthfully just helped me feel like "ok... it's time to start your day". This was incredibly helpful during those first days and months of my "dumping" and my Season of Grief, which I shared in November 2023. This transition time for me was traumatic and shook me to the core, and while it was still a gift, I was grieving. I needed this ritual to keep me moving forward. This was important to keep me grounded in what was right for me.

This past year was and still has been one of the biggest transitions of my life. Despite this, each day is a transition opportunity for all of us. Each day presents an opportunity to try again. For those that practice yoga, your guide or instructor likely talks about the opportunity to "try again" when transitioning to a new pose with your body. Translate this to our lives; each morning we open our eyes, we also have given ourselves another chance to practice who we want to be. However we closed out yesterday, as the sun rises on today, we have yet another transition into what the new day will bring. We get to own how we respond to this opportunity. There will be days where we hit the hopefully made bed just happy; we made it the other side. There will be others where we simply need to focus on self-care. And that is ok. They will all be different. Rick Rubin, from his amazing book "The Creactive Act: A Way of Being", talks about the self as like a prism. We have different moods at different times dependent on varying environments. We are not meant to be static, so transition should only be welcomed as it is meant to help shape us. It is how we embrace and manage these transitions that can help us expand, grow, and find our truest selves. If we work towards knowing who we ARE, not what others want us to be, and find our own rituals, these moments in our lives instead of being shook "off-axis", they just become moments of growth and opportunity.

I still follow these same rituals, probably with even more devotion because it's now about me and how I care for and show up for my clients, my family, my partner, my friends, my loved ones. These days waking up worrying about an operation that was certainly out of my control may be gone, but the days of narrating my own story are just getting started. My new drug is about limitless expansion, abundance, and the knowledge that I am on a day-to-day journey of discovery. This transition for me is the one that will most certainly define what I want to be remembered for.

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