Coming to terms with change

On July 7, noted grief and transitions educator Ted Bowman offered a sobering but hopeful presentation on “Resilient coping: Facing life course realities plus a pandemic and community upheaval” for UMRA’s first Living Well workshop via Zoom.

Bowman argued that our responses to the current crises have much in common with responses to personal change and loss, and that principles for coping well with personal change also apply to coping with cultural change. 

Personal and community crises both involve loss and grief, which is the response to loss.  And both usually entail shattered dreams. 

You can find Ted Bowman’s slides posted under the Past Living Well Workshops page on this website, and you can watch a video recording of his presentation, with optional closed captioning, on UMRA’s YouTube channel. 

The pandemic has deprived us of vacations, reunions, funerals, and, for some, our livelihoods. It has also shattered our illusions about our country’s superiority and basic competence.  

The facts brought forth by the widespread protests following the killing of George Floyd have shattered illusions about our country’s and our community’s morality, history, and heroes.

New stories to replace the old

We are in a period of change, and change inevitably involves the loss of old stories and dreams and grief for those losses. The road to dealing constructively with change, Bowman said, begins with the understanding that our primary work is that of transition.

Transition is the creation of a new story to replace the old one, and people often fall short in this effort.

Successful and resilient transitions rest first on the acknowledgment of loss and the acceptance of grief. They do not try to shrink the grief or make it go away. Rather, they involve the expansion of one’s activities and stories so that the grief takes up less space in one’s life.  

Successful transitions are constructive, compassionate, and relational. We build our new stories by being active, being kind, and reaching out to others. These new stories are based on realistic hope that realistically acknowledges our losses and shortcomings, but also embeds them in a larger, proactive life.

—Ron Matross, chair, Workshop Committee

Publication date: 
July 9, 2020
At A Glance
Tuesday, October 13, 2020

9 a.m.

Mapping prejudice 

Kirsten Delegard, PhD

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 

Living Well Workshop
11 a.m.

UMRA health plan options for open enrollment

Representatives from the Office of Human Resources and plan vendors

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

UMRA Forum
12 noon

Crisis in youth mental health
Kaz Nelson, PhD 

The University of Minnesota Retirees Association’s response to COVID-19 developments is aligned with the University's Safe Campus guidelines. 

Accordingly, all these events will be held via Zoom.