Navigating Change With An Open Heart

Written by Maggie Gentry / Photo by Creating Light Studio

These past four weeks have undoubtedly been some of my hardest. My life has quite spectacularly been turned upside down with the separation from my husband, so I’ve been exploring how to mindfully uncouple from someone who has been in my life for almost a decade, while also juggling the demands of real life. It’s been a whirlwind of coordinating logistics, maintaining a full client load, and trying to find time to take care of myself so that I may work through these very intense emotions.

There’s no denying it; there has been a lot of fear and uncertainty rise to the surface of my consciousness. I still have moments of severe doubt, intense frustration, and paralyzing fear. Some of the frequent visitors:

Was this the right decision?

Could I have done more to keep our relationship intact?

How is he managing this transition?

Am I certain I can support myself?

What if I fail?

What I’m realizing is that these big, scary questions that continue to pop up are often calling out areas in which I have habituated patterns and beliefs. This massive life change has caused a perspective shift which is allowing me to look at everything in a new light. I’m questioning it all. When these thoughts, questions, fears, and uncertainties arise, I’ve been gifting myself the space to dissect them, break them down to the sinew and bone to explore what lies beneath the fear—to define new truths for myself.

Here’s what I’ve been contemplating this far:

  • Was this the right decision? I have this historical need to be “right”, but I’m realizing more and more that in life, especially in love and relationships, there is no black and white, right and wrong. I could spend hours debating my decisions of the past and agonizing over every misstep, but that’s not doing much to help me in this moment. I’ve had to practice so much grace and self-compassion for past me, knowing that she did what she thought was best in each moment, just as I am doing now.

  • Could I have done more to keep our relationship intact? This one has been a doozy. I can see how it is perpetuating a belief I once held dear that if some is good, then more is better. It’s a similar notion that forcing things to happen will eventually make it so, and I simply don’t believe that anymore. What I am finding to be true is that if I shake things up, if I give myself a change of scenery, if I choose to rest rather than power through, I find myself getting to where I want to go more joyfully and easily than if I had continued to do the same thing, expecting a different result.

  • How is he managing this transition? This one is so hard. As an empath, I can’t help but think about him. And, this is also a great lesson for me whereby I have to practice letting go. I cannot be responsible for his emotions and reactions, yet I can see how I have assumed that it was my responsibility to do so for years. I have taken on his pain as my own, as I often do for others. This is a massive lesson for me in creating energetic boundaries and reminding myself that other people’s reactions are not my responsibility.

  • Am I certain I can support myself? HA! This one now almost makes me LOL. I have always had this fiercely independent streak and a belief that I am doing this all on my own. (“This” being Life with a capital L.) In this transition, I can so clearly see just how divinely supported I am. These past few weeks have proved to me that community and the Universe will come in to lend a hand in the most beautiful ways. So, can I support myself on my own? No way. But am I certain that I can do this knowing that I am a part of a cosmic community? Most certainly—YES. I may not be partnered, but I am never alone.

  • What if I fail? This one can continuously knock me down to my knees, but if I unpack it more, I can see the silliness of it. Fail at what? I’m the only one that’s standing in the way of me believing that anything is right vs. wrong or a success vs. failure. So let me re-write those rules. Instead of using my former success metrics of safety, security, and certainty, I’m reframing success to be defined by joy, compassion, kindness, and sovereignty.

Don’t get me wrong—traveling through this change is still immensely difficult. Fear is most certainly still here in the room. In fact, it’s a constant presence. But instead of ignoring it, which never really works, or allowing it to consume me completely, which is tiresome and unproductive, I’m inviting it in for an intimate conversation. In acknowledging its presence and allowing it to speak, I’m learning to listen compassionately, while also not internalizing or believing what it says to be true. This practice of acknowledgement, compassionate listening, and inquiry is expanding my capacity to operate in all aspects of my life with an understanding heart.

Slowly, but surely, I’m finding my way out of those habituated patterns of behavior and beliefs. Past me would have donned the crown of Master Worrier with aplomb. Current me is trading in that crown for the microscope of Chief Investigator, thoroughly examining each fearful thought to find the lesson, cosmic guidance, or nugget of truth hidden within it.

In opening up to allow everything in as an inquiry, I can see my state of being shifting from one of fear, to one of curiosity. The act of simply opening up to question is creating enough space for a gentle pause so that I can hear the truth bubble up from my heart, rather than allowing my mind to run free with all of the wild fantasies fear makes up for me.

Going through any transition is unsettling, but I have been actively trying to approach this shift by doing something differently. So far, allowing my heart to take the lead has yielded more beautiful lessons and an incredible sense of freedom and peace than I previously could have never thought possible. So here’s to opening up to inquiry and allowing curiosity to take the lead! What new truths might you discover if you were to examine some of your own fears?

If you’re feeling like you could use someone to connect with to talk about how fear shows up for you and how you might operate from more of a heart-centered space, please know that I am here! Sign up for a free, 30-minute chat with me during my Virtual Office Hours. I’d love to connect and hold that gentle space for you.

Maggie believes in changing the way we do business and dismantling the idea that success has to look a certain way. As the owner of and founder of the Own Your Why®: Community, she is committed to creating a safe space for entrepreneurs to make meaningful shifts in their life and business with their eyes, mind, and heart open. Her unique approach blends business coaching, marketing consulting, and loads of compassion so that you walk away with the certainty of how to grow your business in a way that feels perfectly tailored to you. With Maggie’s philosophy, there are no frameworks, formulas, or fixing—rather, we embrace your inherent wisdom, and give it the room to speak up. She is also the co-founder of Mindful Moments ATX, a self-care event series for self-identifying women and non-binary folks working to establish their own wellness rituals. Maggie enjoys yoga, hiking and deep conversations. She often has a few books from the Austin Public Library on her bookstand, is currently a student in a 200-hr meditation teacher training, and will most often opt for a night in for snuggles with her cat Waffles.  

Chelsea Francis