Be Present in the Midst of Transitions
Emily Nilsen, Peace Corps Volunteer, Nicaragua
The Spirit of the One you follow is the spirit of love and peace. That Spirit seeks to abide in the hearts of those who would embrace its call and live its message. The path will not always be easy, the choices will not always be clear, but the cause is sure and the Spirit will bear witness to the truth, and those who live the truth will know the hope and the joy of discipleship in the community of Christ. Amen. -Doctrine and Covenants 161:7
(The following reflection by Emily Nilsen includes insights she and her husband, Andrew, gained as Peace Corps volunteers in Nicaragua.)
We’ve had a lot of transitions. We left our jobs, our homes, our friends, our families. We moved to a foreign place, where I didn’t speak the language (and Andrew was a little rusty). It felt as if we were in a place of constant transition.
So how do you “be present” through all of that? To me, to live more in the present means to focus on where I am in this moment, and spend a little less time worrying about the future or ruminating on the past. It is wonderful to think of countless memories we have with friends and family back in the States, but those same memories can also make us miss home and loved ones. It can be exciting to think about our future career paths, grad school, and family, but it can also bring up anxiety about still not knowing what we want to be when we “grow up.”
This struggle between reminiscing about the “good ol’ days” and being terrified of a yet unknown and undefined future is very common for Peace Corps volunteers. It is also very real for most 20-somethings. We are in the phase of life researchers call “emerging adulthood.”
Andrew and I have narrowed insights about this time in life to a few simple guidelines:
Acknowledge whatever we’re feeling in the moment. Maybe we’re feeling awesome after one of our fantastic Community of Practice experiences, or maybe we’re feeling homesick because we’re away from home. Pretending the feeling isn’t there doesn’t help. We start with acknowledging it, naming it, and just feeling it.
Realize that whatever we’re feeling is just that-a feeling. It will pass, as the moments and circumstances do. Our lives are full of ups and downs. There are good days and hard days. Sick days and awesome I’m-in-love-with-my-life-here days.
Strive to practice gratitude for the things we’re so incredibly blessed to have.
Try to engage with people as much as we can, especially when our down moments hit. We feel most alive and at home when we connect with the people here. This is especially important during times of transition and sadness.
“Light dawns on a weary world.” CCS 240
The Light of God
Epiphany invites us to focus on the light of God. Close your eyes and draw your attention to your breath. As you breathe gently in and out, reflect on the statement, “The light of God is in all things.” The light has a bright, soft beauty and radiates God’s healing love. The light of God reaches you and permeates you with a deep sense of peace. Rest in the light as it surrounds and fills you. Thank God that you live in God’s light and it lives in you.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.