The world is collectively going through an “involuntary life quake,” according to Bruce Feiler, author of the new book Life Is in the Transitions: Mastering Change at Any Age. Here are some of the insights Feiler shared during a COVID-19 Military Support Initiative town hall Thursday.

At some points in our lives, we go through changes that are greater than others, which Feiler calls “life quakes.”

We live non-linear lives that have many ups and downs, and each of those ups and downs involves a life transition.… We spend half of our adult lives in transitions.”

There are three steps to living through transition, but they don’t have to happen in order.

“You’ve got the long goodbye. You’ve got the messy middle, and then you have the last phase, which is the new beginning, where you begin to unveil your new self…. Figure out which of these phases you’re good at. Start there. You’ll get some momentum, because it’s going to get harder, and you’re going to still have to get through the parts that you may not do naturally.

Research shows that children who know more about their family’s experiences more easily adapt to life transitions.

We have this idea now that we want to protect our children from pain. We want to deny them that we are struggling with something, because we think that they won’t be able to handle it or will upset them. That is a mistake…. In an age-appropriate way, you want to bring your children in to the fact that this is something that not only are they going through, but the entire family, the entire community, the entire military, the entire country, the entire planet is going through this.

Most people survive even the toughest transitions.

“Transitions do work. We can have small wins…. We can make these transitions go more effectively and more efficiently. There are tools out there. We can get through this together.”