Guest Post: How To Manage Life In Transition

I hope you will enjoy this guest post from Women on Fire member Dyana Robenalt of Stockbridge, MA. I found it inspiring and uplifting and I thought you might, too. I’ll be back next week! xo Debbie

Switching Hands: How to Manage Life in Transition
By Dyana Robenalt

When I was 13, my mother died.

Within days, I was plucked from her and my stepfather’s loving home. This began a lifetime of planned and unplanned transitions.

Resiliency became my invisible middle name.

Being in a transition can feel scary. Imagine switching hands from your dominant side to your other one. Being open to this adaptation created a huge awareness for me.

My ex-husband and I used to periodically switch sides of the bed just to keep ourselves open to the concept of change.

Fear ruled many of my transitions and often took the form of crises. Witnessing 9/11 created a string of devastating transitions and luckily, many earth angels and soul guides helped me to overcome my serious pain.

I am currently in one of the more radical shifts I’ve experienced in years. While I tried to plan it, there are still many unknown elements creating the mystique and excitement I crave after years of knowing that virtuous “rewards” often come at the end of seemingly difficult times.

This one has BIG potential and I’m ready! Learning to trust the process and flow like the rising and falling of tides, no matter what, has taken years of practice.

Letting go and letting God run the show is still challenging. I keep my favorite saying from Wayne Dyer handy to help with this:

Over time my thinking shifted from:



For the past ten years, I’ve focused on taking responsibility for mistakes I made. I adjusted the sails and redesigned my outlook. This translated to patience and understanding that I am always where I am supposed to be at the time – an ongoing reminder.

Humility has become the new badge of honor I seek, and living with a strong moral compass as my foundation has helped me to navigate even the most turbulent waters. We’re all connected and we never know the pain someone else is in or has endured.

It makes sense to always be kind and realize that we’re all just trying to make it through the day. Last year, keeping a gratitude jar did wonders for me. The act of writing down one thing I was grateful for every day created a revolutionary shift in my positivity!

Here are a few other practices and reminders I try to do daily for smooth transitions:

  • Believe something great is about to happen
  • Pick “winners”
  • Be open yet expect nothing
  • Seek higher guidance
  • Always be the first to say hello
  • Keep favorite books handy. Read new inspiring ones
  • Listen more than talk (My hardest!)
  • Catch and “flick” negative thoughts away with my hand
  • Be willing to try new things
  • Keep 3-4 months of savings on hand!
  • Do random acts of kindness, volunteer or help someone
  • Meditate, be in nature, be still
  • Do the WORK

Transitions allow me to reflect and plan how I will react differently next time. Every minute and every day provide opportunities to start over. Learning to “switch hands” in transitions no matter when they come, or how long they last, has given me more peace, freedom and happiness!

More about Dyana Robenalt~

Dyana is a Western Massachusetts Master Gardener (recently transferred from Rutgers) with over 40 years of experience and a major foodie and spititual being. She provides garden coaching and estate management services. She has served on the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Advisory Council for the Backyard Wildlife Habitat program and is a NJ Learns Fellow graduate from the Cloud Institute for Sustainability.

Her experience also includes former careers in hospitality and teaching in private independent schools. She recently relocated to the Berkshires and can be reached at dyana(at)dyanarobenalt(dot)com. You can follow her on Twitter @greengardenlady.

When baby girls fly…

As the path toward your dreams unfolds, there are so many twists and turns. Transitions.  Sometimes expected and planned for. Other times a complete surprise or shock.

Today I’m sitting here smack dab in the middle of a transition.  One of our “baby girls” is about to leave the nest…and I’m feeling rather unsettled.

As many of you know, Rob and I do not have children of our own. But we are blessed with many children sharing our lives, some related by birth; others by heart.  We treasure them all.

Julia’s birth on September 12, 1993 is the only one I’ve ever witnessed. Her gracious parents invited me to become her godmother and I was elated.

I called her “Baby Girl” and she called me her “Fairy Godmother.”  And because I never corrected her, it took other kids teasing her in the 2nd grade for her to learn I possessed only earthly powers. She was not pleased! (And I felt terribly guilty not to have told her the truth sooner.)

When she was 7, Julia began to live with us on Martha’s Vineyard during the summers.  One year she even brought a baby kitty with her.

The summer Julia, 10, arrived with a gift for us — Wilber!

Our summers were filled with theater camp, beach days and rainbow sprinkles for dessert.  (Sugar quantities provide one of the main distinctions between parents and godparents!)

Year around, our guest room is always “Julia’s room.” And, in the drawers and closet there no one disturbs her drawings, journals, earring backs, ProActiv toner, books and sizes-too-small flip flops.

Today, she is 17. And our summer life, as we lived it, is no longer.  Julia is soon to leave for college.  And while I’m not even her mother, I’ve realized I’m going through the transition many Moms (and Dads) go through when their children leave home. I wonder:

*  Was I a good enough godmother? (We established early that I was NOT to talk to her about religion or Sunday School as other “real” godmothers do 😉

* Did I teach her well enough?  Was I a good enough role model for how to cope when the chips are down or celebrate for work done well?

* Is she going to be OK on her own thousands of miles away?

* Did I disappoint her in ways I cannot ever change?

In this transition, I also feel exhilarated for her launch into the world. 

Julia is strong and competent, brave, loving and resourceful.  She is a talented baker and extraordinary cook. She worked hard this summer in a retail store and saved her money.

Yesterday she met Rob and me for breakfast. As we each drove away in our own car, alone I sobbed all the way home over several transitions in my life right now.

I pulled into the driveway and glanced in my rearview mirror.  Julia was behind me!

She had sensed my sadness and followed me home — to give me an extra hug.  This godmother is so lucky to have a Fairy Godchild.

Look out, world. Here comes wise and wonderful Juiia!

If you are anticipating, or going through any kind of transition — a move, a new baby, marriage, divorce, grief, empty nest, job loss, new job — please join me this Tuesday, July 26 where I will be discussing Strategies To Ease Your Way Through Any Transition.

It will be a LIVE video chat, the first from Women On Fire Studios. I would love to have you on the call or share your thoughts about your own transitions in the comments section below.