Today, I am in discussion with a friend who, to put it simply, is “in-between” that which he no longer is and that which he has yet to become. Years ago, William Bridges called this transitional space the Void. Others have called it the Ditch of Doubt. Needless to say, when transitioning from one way of being to another, we all experience a time or breathing space between shedding old behavioural patterns (physical-mental-emotional-spiritual) and adopting new ones that better suit who we are now.
Interestingly, during this transitional void, we do not know what to do to quell the uneasiness of being uncertain. Typically, we just want to do something, maybe anything, to get rid of it. What if the solution is to do nothing? What if we actually just relaxed and leaned into or accepted the uncertainty?
I think we can all agree that life is essentially an adventure. We do not know what the next moment or tomorrow will bring, This has catapulted many into changing their behaviours and beliefs. Instead of regretting the past or worrying about the future, neither of which we can change, our best option appears to be to live each moment as it presents itself.
In each moment, we can choose to be who we want. The only control we have is over our present thoughts, words and deeds. Accepting that we are not in control of life, only our choices, is a major change of belief; a transition space. Here is where we get to experiment with and discover what truly brings us a sense of joy and authenticity. Here is also where we internalize the new behaviours and beliefs of the familiar-but-yet-unfamiliar new being we are becoming. This internalization takes time because we have entered a new learning curve on our way to a new sense of identity.
As the Transformation Cycle illustrates below, our initial inspiration for fine-tuning our integrity led us to change some behaviours. When doing so, we became more self-aware about what direction we truly wanted to pursue. This led to healing some old ways of thinking and acting that wounded us rather than nurtured us. Healing old wounds always creates the space needed for clarity and intuitive wisdom to enter in.
Once our intuitive truths begin to reveal themselves to us, it gets darn hard to ignore them. Or, we do so at the peril of our physical-mental-emotional-spiritual health. So, here we sit in the uncomfortable gap between inspiration and integration. It is even more uncomfortable for those of us educated to believe that competence brings greater control over the unexpected or unplanned for events in life. It doesn’t! Competent people still lose their jobs, their spouses, their friends, their money, their lives. Trying to control or ignore life does not improve life.
More importantly, why would we want to control life? If life really is an adventure and all adventure is filled with uncertainty, then accepting uncertainty is the best choice we can make in this moment.
Here is another choice. What if we are meant to enjoy uncertainty and adventure? Wouldn’t that mean we are meant to enjoy life? Isn’t “not knowing” what triggers the excitement and joy of learning something new? Isn’t living every day with a “not knowing” attitude going to lead to discovery?
When we transition between inspiration and internalization, instead of seeing ourselves as in the Ditch of Doubt, aren’t we really in the Depths of Discovery? As my poem below indicates, new discoveries need breathing space for us to grow into them.
A mystery unfolds within.
One I cannot yet see or touch in familiar ways.
Tho’ I sound my presence in the world with words,
sound escapes me. Like a newborn without language,
only my senses can alert.
Sensations fill me with reasons why.
Why this? Why me? Why now?
Solid earthly wonder now nudges into communion
with ancient visceral wisdom.
Unplugged, I pass off the need-to-know banner, and
my senses openly receive each moment’s wisdom.
Breathing in space breeds freedom from having to know,
from desiring, from ambition.