The Howells Group Blog



Crossing overThe Italians have such a beautiful way with language. If two Italians were walking on one side of the road and saw something appealing on the other side one would say “attraversiamo” which literally means “let’s cross over”. It is a very lyrical way to speak of movement or transition and the symbolism is as powerful as the word is fun to say.

Elizabeth Gilbert speaks of this word in her bestselling book “Eat Pray Love”, which she wrote during a time of great personal transition. She moves from standing in one place- stuck; then opening up, transitions into a new perception of herself. This “crossing over” into the newness of the next phase moves her towards understanding and an entirely new way of being.

When one of my sons was entering third grade we transitioned him to a new school. After two years in 100% Spanish immersion school, he was nervous about this change.  But the district had placed a beautiful new school in our neighborhood, and I tried to help him understand it as an opportunity. Filled with regret and missing last year’s teacher, he put on a brave face and moved forward. When I met him after his first day of school his first words were “Mom did you know you can speak ENGLISH all the time at my new school and the playground has basketball!” He was so relieved and enthusiastic! It hadn’t occurred to me to clue him in that his new school would have Spanish classes but the bulk of the day would be in English!  He was hesitant – but moved forward. As a result he found himself in a brand new situation far better than he could have imagined.

Change can mean risk; there is always the possibility we could be disappointed by the outcome of a transition or pleasantly surprised. And transition can be daunting. We may find ourselves with the divine discontent of possibility – of something new and wonderful ahead but held back by the desire to cling to the comfort of what is known. We may feel the discomfort of needing to move on, to renew a spark or change the life story we are telling.

I love the Anais Nin quote that says “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”. Transitions that create growth often require courage. Stepping off the curb to cross over to something lesser known can require both bravery and resilience. But the possibilities on the other side can leave you marveling at why you ever waited.


-by Tanya Young Stump, Senior Consultant

One Comment

  1. Posted March 22, 2016 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    Great article, Tanya. Reminds me of the udea that the journey of discovery is not about going to new places, but having new eyes.

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