Change is the nature of the human experience. It’s happening all of the time. Time passes, and we’re not exactly the same person from one day to the next. There are lots of little, constant changes: it’s cloudy one day and sunny the next, our weight goes up and down. We add to our experience of life, one day at a time, as a result of the little new things that are a constant part of our daily lives
There seem to be levels to these things. I just sold a car a couple of weeks ago, one that had been a great car for me, that I was constantly very grateful for having. I was surprised at how attached I had become to that dang car. I mean, it’s just a car, right? But I realized that I had a relationship with that car. I related to it. It was part of a lot of stories, a lot of history – almost nine years.
Sometimes I envy people that seem to just be able to let go effortlessly of what has been – cars, jobs, homes, relationships – and slide joyously into the next thing without a flinch. For me, sometimes, it can be a bit more of a process to make these changes. For me, sometimes, it can be a bit disorienting, being in-between.
And then here are times in our lives when change happens in a more significant way. Big changes. They seem to come cyclically – every now and then. Everyone experiences them. We shouldn’t be at all surprised when they happen, though we often seem to be. We need to relocate, geographically. A job ends or a new vocational opportunity presents itself. A partner or parent or sibling or even a child leaves, or gets sick, or dies. And we find ourselves in-between what has been, and what is yet to be.
Familiar points of reference get wobbly, begin to shift or even to fall away completely. Again, this shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s been happening since the beginning of time. I have come to realize that we can even see this stuff coming. Sometimes we know it long before we are willing, ready, or capable of admitting it, much less starting to deal with it. But, ready or not, here it comes. What then?
One of two things – or perhaps more accurately, a combination of two things – happens. We get scared, and freak out, whatever our individual version of that might be. And we begin to grasp for a new context, a mental model that will allow us to navigate this new, unknown season with some degree of gracefulness. We do the best we can.
This is where our relationship with the unknown, with the unseen, with the mysterious, metaphysical aspect of life is put to the test. Do we trust it, or do we not? Can I remember that there is a nature to life that only wants to live Itself in the most fabulous way possible through and as me, even when I am right in the middle of what can feel like a train-wreck, a tragedy?
This is where my work is, when I am in-between. I understand that fear is just doing its job, trying to keep me safe. And I know fear well enough to know that, unrestrained, it can become all encompassing, paralyzing. There are times when my fear would have me crawl in a hole and stay there. Forever.
But I know that that is not where life is – my life, any life. I can and do give myself a little time, to step back, pause, consider and reconsider. That can serve me quite well. And, I know I can’t stay there too long. It’s too… quiet. Too seductive. Too safe.
And life is not about safety. It’s about living. It’s not about the no – no I won’t, no I can’t. It’s about the yes – yes I will, yes I am, yes I will try, I will learn. I will risk. I will live.
So if you find yourself in-between, first, breathe. A lot. We can forget simple things like breathing when we’re in between. “He held his breath, and waited.” Bad idea. Because life is in the flow, in the breath, in the beat of our hearts and the wants and needs and desires that are in between those heartbeats. Life is not in the hole that fear wants us to climb into. It’s in the yes, in the trying, in the showing up and engaging and connecting with people, with ourselves, with the planet, and with our spirituality.
It’s in the ache too, surely, but if we listen closely enough, beneath the ache, beneath the fear, there is a still, small voice that is oh so patiently calling us back out. We’re accompanied by that voice, that Presence, that intelligence and that love, all of the time. And It knows what we cannot yet see. It knows and reminds us that around the bend the river is just being a river. Life has already gone before us, and is creating what is next – more life.
It reminds us that regardless of what kind of life transition we might be experiencing, there is still, in this and every moment, an infinite supply of love and kindness, of beauty and good of all sorts, within us and all around us.
Life is in a constant state of change. Sometimes the big changes of life can knock us on our backsides, temporarily. And when they do, we pause, and we learn, we ache and we cry and we mourn. And then the day comes when we take a deep breath, and dust ourselves off, say thank you to the hole that we have been in and step back into life.
Only you can know when that day is. But if you do know, in that place of deep inner knowing, that it’s time, then, well, there is no other choice than to take a deep breath, reengage, reconnect, and begin to walk your path once again, remembering that you don’t walk alone. Life Itslf accompanies you, with every breath and every beat of your heart, every step of the way.