Fall is a time of transition—we say goodbye to summer, leaves begin turning, and children head back to school. Change is in the air.

When I was growing up, every year in early September, my mother would don her fancy white gloves and take me on the big trip into “the city” (San Francisco) for our annual back-to-school shopping adventure. I remember feeling equally excited and nervous about the start of a new school year.

Beginnings are often that way—a mixed bag of fear and excitement.

Three years ago, the roles were reversed. In September 2009, my family and I helped our then eighty-seven-year-old mother embark on her new beginning. After fifty-seven years of living in the same beloved house, she moved to an assisted living facility for seniors. Though I’m sure it was a little scary for Mom, she handled it with remarkable openness, ease, and optimism for what lay ahead. She loved her new home immediately. She met wonderful people and got involved in the daily activities. This was the perfect place for what turned out to be her last year of life, as she passed away a year later.

I was deeply inspired by her grace in letting go of the past and greeting change with open arms and a willing heart. I thought of her wonderful attitude as I navigated my own big move just a few months ago. I sold my beautiful home, where I had lived for the past eight years, not knowing exactly where I would end up living after the sale. But, I’ve been practicing letting go with grace and trust, and I’m now living in a more beautiful home than the one I left.

I’ve come to see that I have two choices in how I approach change: I can either resist change or be open to what’s ahead and feel the peace that “all is well in the universe.” When I lean into the latter, I feel excited about the future.

During the process of interviewing unconditionally happy people for my book Happy for No Reason, I saw how the ability to let go and open to the new was a trait they all shared.

It seems as though everyone I know is going through some significant change in life right now.

Are there new beginnings in your life, too? Is your child going off to kindergarten, or are you a recent empty nester? Are you starting a new relationship or ending a relationship and facing life on your own again? Is there a change in your job status or a shift in your health?

Or maybe you wish you could make a change but are feeling a little stuck. What new beginning would you embark on to bring more happiness into your life if only you could make the leap?

As You Face Your New Beginnings, Consider this Helpful Three-Step Process:

1. Clear and Cleanse

Shift out old energy. Reorganize your home or office space and give away things you no longer need. On a physical level, do a healthy body cleanse. On a mental/emotional level, examine and release any limiting beliefs. Letting go of the old creates a feeling of spaciousness, allowing room for something new to enter.

2. Embrace the New

Whatever change is before you, when you open to the unknown (even the discomfort), you welcome in growth, revelation, and miracles. Imagine what is possible from this place.

3. Be Open to Support

During times of transition, you may feel like retreating within, hiding your inner work from the outer world. However, seeking support from a friend, family member, or support group is one of the keys to graceful change. It’ll help promote a smooth ride to your new reality.

Of course, a great role model always helps! Let’s follow my Mom’s example and embrace what is unfolding before us with open arms.

Please share with me below your experiences with how you’re opening to embracing what’s new in your life.

Marci Shimoff is a #1 New York Times best-selling author and world-renowned transformational teacher. Her books include the international bestsellers Love for No Reason and Happy for No Reason. She is also the woman’s face of the biggest self-help book phenomenon in history as co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul series. With book sales of more than fifteen million copies worldwide in thirty-three languages, Marci is one of the best-selling female non-fiction authors of all time. She is also a featured teacher in the film and book sensation The Secret. Marci is dedicated to helping people live more empowered and joy-filled lives. You can also follow Marci on Facebook and Twitter.

*Photo by Rich Anderson.