Monthly Archives: July 2020


By Leslie Wolf Baker

Transition is change…

Transition is change. Change is a constant. It is life’s way of inviting us to reflect and reexamine our present way of being urging us to develop and grow as individuals.

Transitions are all around us. The seasons seamlessly bring endings and new beginnings. Each day transitions from light to dark. The phases of the moon grow from new to full each month, all in constant movement. 

      Just because transitions are a part of life and nature, doesn’t mean they can’t feel uncomfortable and unwanted. They can be expected and unexpected, such as a sudden loss.  

Transitions can bring uncertainty…

Even an expected, desired change, such as a dream job can cause resistance to moving into a new way of being because transitions bring uncertainty. Some examples include marriage, becoming a new parent, aging, a new home, questioning one’s faith or spirituality. It is normal to feel the challenge of these times and to feel a sense of loss. 

 There are some things you can do to alleviate resistance to this change. Taking time to feel the grief of loss can be helpful and healing. Reaching out to your support system can also be beneficial.

Using Ceremony

Ceremonies have been part of every culture for as long as we have known. Marking transitions with the process of a ceremony is a way of both honoring your past self while making space for the new.

Ceremonies can be simple such as a few words of gratitude. They can also be more in-depth and include important people you want to share the space with. Perhaps, you might select an item, create a special song, or hold a fire ceremony. Another idea is to imbue a small object such as a stone, a shell, or something meaningful with a thought or intention. 

What Works for Me

     Personally, I celebrate the transitions into each of the four seasons with an invitation to friends and family to join me around a fire. We create a circle and whoever feels like it can drum, rattle, sing or dance in honor of all that is alive. We offer gratitude for our connection to nature and for the wisdom that nature brings to our awareness.

Each person quietly holds an intention they wish to manifest in the new season while leaving behind what no longer serves their higher self, just as a robustly colored autumn leaf knows when it is time to fall away from its branch at winter’s doorstep.

Often, we write in pencil on a small piece of paper, what we wish to manifest or release. We toss the paper into the fire and let the smoke carry our message away through the universe who is always listening and conspires to meet us where we are at.

Taking the time to recognize transitions can help to make it a special time of reflection where the old and the new, grief, and joy and personal growth can all be honored and celebrated. 

I would like to welcome Leslie Wolf Baker to the Cleveland Emotional Health Family. Leslie’s private practice is located at 95 Allens Creek Road in Brighton (Rochester NY). If you would like to work with Leslie, please contact her directly to schedule your counseling appointment: 585-210-2635

The Difference Between Wanting & Willing

As a flawed human being, I consider myself a work in progress no matter how old I become. Over a lifetime of gaining wisdom in human behaviors, including my own, I have found great value in gaining an understanding of the important differences between “wanting” and “willing” and I share with you, my philosophy.

“The concepts of both wanting to… and willing to… have completely different outcomes.”

To Want

Wanting, is a cognitive process where one is actually “wishing” they could have something or do something. For, example, I really want to lose weight; or, I really want to change jobs; or, I really want to leave this relationship, or _________________________(put yours here).

To Have the Will

Willing takes on the forward-thriving ability of, “I am going to make real changes in my life,” or “I will do what it takes to become healthy,” or “I am really driven to reach this goal.” When you are willing to do something, you have embraced your emotional and passionate powers no matter the hurdles to achieving the task.

What holds you back?

You have probably noticed, that in some parts of your life, you are very good at having the will of productivity, accomplishment, and self-care. But in other parts of your life, not so much. 

What prevents you from moving from wanting to willing? Most likely, it is avoiding your emotions. For instance, fear (avoiding the fear that holds us back rather than working within your fears); social anxiety (worried sick about what others think or how they will react); being addicted to your (unconscious) deficits thinking, letting shame and guilt run your life and drive your behaviors, and addiction to creating drama.

Nonetheless, having an honorable sense of loyalty to the ones you love, and do not want to hurt, can also prevent you from executing any type of personal will.

Signs that you or someone is not willing

Good intentions make us feel connected, but they can also put barriers up to having the fulfillment and the joy you desire. “I really want to lose weight” or “I really want to change to make you happy” remember, these are just thoughts and wishes. And these thoughts are a façade to the true emotions (what we are avoiding) that are preventing you from taking action to change or reach your goals.

Another important sign that someone is not willing to do something is when you ask them a question and they never give a complete or definitive answer.

Here are some examples: 1) Would you like to go out Friday night? Sure, if you want. 2) Are you going to stick to your diet? I’m gonna try. 3) Are you going to finish your project? Well, I’ve got a lot of stuff going on; or, that is the plan.


There are so many consequences of not being willing. However, the consequences may not outweigh the strength of your fear, anxiety, and behavioral addictions. For instance, if you are not willing to change your unhealthy diet, the consequences will be a heart attack, a stroke, chronic aches and pains (inflammation), and a poor quality of life.

So, do the logical consequences of not taking action (for change or goals) outweigh the strength of your emotions (fear & anxiety) and addictive behaviors? Not usually, and especially not without the support of someone you trust. 

So, how do you move forward to make real change?

  1. First, admit to yourself and commit to what is holding you back (fear, anxiety) – this is not easy. You must be honest and open with yourself.
  2. Pay attention to the excuses that you are making to stay where you are at. Are they helping you?
  3. Confide in someone you trust that will not judge you and will hold a caring and loving space for you. This is called vulnerability and being vulnerable (with the right people) takes strength; vulnerability is not a weakness.
  4. Give (or ask for) definitive answers – yes, I will; or no, I will not. Not only should you require definitive answers from others, but you definitely need to say them to yourself (eg. I am willing to do what it takes including reaching out for help).
  5. Know that being willing is a process. It requires action-taking where insecurities (fear of failure and low self-worth) and emotions (fear, anxiety) can become overpowering. When this happens, start over from no. 1
  6. As always, take small steps. Sudden and grand changes can be overwhelming and trigger intolerable levels of anxiety and fears (and the feeling of being alone in your journey) When this happens, start over from no. 1

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Contact Me

For more information or the schedule a counseling appointment with the author, Catherine Cleveland, please call/text (585) 432-0313