According to a book by an expert on transitions (his name is Bridges, believe it or not!) a transition begins with an ending, which is followed by a neutral zone or void, and ends with a beginning. In the “ending” phase you have to say goodbye to what has gone before, to grieve the losses, and to a certain extent detach yourself from that old self…not easy! But the really hard part comes in the “neutral zone / void,” while you float free and wonder who you are and what your new self will be like. Other unemployed people can probably resonate with one or both of these phases.

When I got ready to open myself to a new beginning, I sat down and tried to imagine my next “Great Work.” There’s a song that goes, “My Great Work is where my great joy intersects with Earth’s great need.” Earth has so many great needs that I decided it might be easier to begin by focusing on what gives me great joy. It’s strange, we don’t always ask ourselves what gives us great joy–we often just plod along, doing what we have always done or what we need to do just to survive. I read somethere that an estimated 80% of people don’t enjoy their jobs! Can you do a job really well if you don’t have at least some liking or passion for it?

Hmmmm, so it should be something that gives me great joy…and I also wanted to take into account a ministerial focus of my religious community,”freeing and nurturing women and children.” What’s a former biology teacher to do? I’m too young to retire, but am I too old to hire?