Life isn’t all about destinations, it’s also about the ‘in between’ — the space where we can be with our emotions and process experiences
I found myself crying in the shower the other day.
It was as if the warm water that cleansed my body was also allowing for healing water to fall from my eyes. Crying releases pent up pain and emotion — so why all the resistance?
Though a bit surprised by my feelings, I still let it out…and began to sink softly into relief.
It was like letting a closely held secret free. I allowed myself to utter the words, I think I’m a little depressed.
There are moments in life where we feel neither quite here nor there — having neither departed nor arrived. Some call it limbo, I simply call it the space of ‘in between’. I think I’ve taken up temporary residence there. Normally, I would push, resist and muscle my way out to the other side…but this time I’m not. I’m allowing it to unfold organically, which is not exactly, shall we say, my nature.
But I’m beginning to realize how critical these life junctures are — and how very much they have to gift us. It’s all there for the taking, but our world of busyness, productivity and instant gratification tells us to forge full-steam ahead. In other words: Get through it as fast as possible. Note: that doesn’t mean we get to circumnavigate the experiences we are meant to experience. In fact, it only means those emotions will find their way out some other way, some other time — possibly even sideways when we least desire it.
Sometimes we try to outsmart our feelings. For months prior to dropping my son at college (a theme that has occupied my writing of late), I told everyone, I’m fine. I’ve got a whole new chapter of unfolding to embrace in my career, my relationship and my own spiritual growth. I had been preparing myself (or at least I thought I had). And that is all true. I am FINE. Life is full. I am excited about all of it…but I’m also experiencing a feeling I didn’t quite expect. It’s something that is hard to describe and it plagues me most in the evening. The reality is that it’s probably with me 24/7, but feels like it descends most in the quiet of the wind down at the end of the day.
I feel a bit lost and as if I am standing in empty space…and I’m trying to make peace with it instead of implementing my go-to setting of rushing right on through it.
Why the evening? Well, that is when we had family dinners and when I often sat with my boy, watching Yankee baseball games during the summer or bad comedy films by the fireplace in the winter. (Speaking of which, who’s going to restock the firewood?) Our bodies hold memories. They remind us of our feelings even when we try to skip on by.
I’m still in that tender space of letting go and pushing forward. This comes in many forms, not just letting our kids go forth into the world — but also when we traverse any threshold with, for example, a new job, the ending or beginning of a new relationship, experiencing a health setback or any kind of emotional or financial hiccup. We all know that hindsight is 20/20, but could we give ourselves permission to simply sit in unknowingness until we arrive there?
There is great wisdom in allowing space for the ‘in between’ — for sitting with what is, what is no longer and what could be.
There’s no point rushing on through the limbo, the fertile soil where thoughts, ideas and inspirations are born. It’s not a comfy place at first; rather, it feels quite uncertain — dare I say, fear-inducing. It may even prod one to question themselves, Who am I? What am I doing? Where am I going? What is my place in the world?
Your job isn’t to have this ‘life thing’ all buttoned up and figured out. What fun would that be? No, we are all a work-in-progress, evolving into our deepest, best self versions of ourselves.
I’ll be honest, I’m not exactly enjoying this ‘in between’. Though I’m not a person who will ever be bored in life, I find myself lost at night — not quite connecting to anything in particular. Nothing really appeals to me or satisfies me. But I realize, the reason I’m not connecting is because I’m focused on forgetting and distracting myself. No Netflix series, social media perusal, book or event is going to help me reconnect to myself — the only way back is through nurturing the vulnerability. The only way back is through backpedaling and not being afraid to say that maybe I’m not OK…and to allow oneself to cry in the shower.
Another little dirty trick we play is shaming ourselves. Newsflash: You can’t shame yourself out of feeling. Yes, I have access to tremendous resources for self-empowerment and healing — but that doesn’t make me immune. I haven’t failed for feeling or falling…and neither have you. We are where we are.
It may sound contrite to say this, but nothing stays the same. I’m even beginning to feel the change of season ever-so-slightly in the air. Writing this, I can see a few leaves gently cascading to the ground like pioneers of autumn. I cringe and want to send them right back up to the branches on the trees. Nooo, I’m not letting go of summer yet. I never go easily from one season to the next, so why would this be any different? And in fact, I’m not even going to attempt to wrap this blog up in a pretty bow of solutions…because, well, I’m in limbo. And that’s OK. And I want you to know that it’s OK for you too. I am going to leave you with some words of encouragement for us all:
It’s OK not to know what’s next.
It’s OK to feel the uncertainty and the angst.
It’s OK to experience the gamut of emotions that arrive on your doorstep.
AND it’s also OK to trust that all is well, that this is a necessary part of your journey and personal expansion, that you are supported, loved and will land yet again on two grounded feet. Alas, there will be times that we must walk through the fires of limbo to get there.
For now, love yourself through your ‘in betweens’ — if you aren’t currently experiencing one, you’ve likely been through one or stand before one. Either way, we’ve got this with the knowingness that it’s all OK. It’s all a part of this journey through the human experience in all of its messiness and glory. So, for now, I sit (impatiently) in limbo allowing myself to unfold and feel.
Will you take my hand in trusting that there is light at the end of the limbo tunnel? I’ll meet you there (and so will your best self!).
We cannot resolve the issues in our physical world by only addressing the outer challenges. We must learn how to connect and nurture ourselves on the inside.
~ Ron Baker
As always, I love hearing from you and learning from your experiences — have you ever tried to outsmart your feelings and pretend them away? How do you handle those ‘in between’ moments of your emotional experience?