The Still Point In-Between
I spent a lot of time as a teen and into my early twenties not knowing what I was supposed to do with my life. I would dread the repeated question every adult seemed compelled to ask: “What are you going to do?” I had no answer. It was an early lesson on living in the “in-between.”
Unlike many writers, I didn’t know I was going to be a writer. I wasn’t in love with writing, books, or the whole “writer’s life” so glorified by others.
I attempted to pen a romance novel when I was around 14 or so, hand-written on yellow tablet paper. (This was before computers.) I didn’t finish it. For the longest time as a child I wanted to be a geologist. I grew up in the woods, surrounded by nature spirits and to this day, collect rocks that I’m drawn to. Geology fascinated my 8-year-old mind. The idea that you could spend your life doing something you loved – that there was even a name for people who loved rocks – that was amazing. (My parents were wise enough not to bring the “money” issue into my early career aspirations or any of those “wise words of adult fear” that steer children away from their first callings.)
I grew up deeply spiritual and contentedly quiet. An observer. A listener. I kept my first diary at age of 7 or so. Returned to it at age 16 and have never abandoned the practice.
But the idea of being a writer? It never occurred to me. I come from a long list of ministers, physicians, educators, musicians and artists. The elements of all of these professions have played into my life and continue to do so. And what is even more mystical to me is the fact that I never knew the generations of family who held these professions – never had anyone pointing me in these directions. I knew of them, but there was no direct influence. Yet, these interests have culminated in me. Delivered by physical and spiritual DNA.
No, writing came to me quite suddenly one day. When I realized that as a writer I would have the power to give people a voice. Writing was a tool to do good in this world. To make a difference. And that is how it began. First in journalism. Now as I write for clients and my own projects. It is my natural calling, the culmination of ministering, healing, educating, art – all pulsating through the Stories that present themselves to me and the characters who entrust me with their vulnerabilities. It remains a means to an end – a vehicle for blessing and liberating the human spirit.
But there is still, at times, that in-between. And it’s still just as hard not knowing.
“What’s next for you?” I can answer that in a broad way. But there comes a point, between projects, between phases of life, between the ebb and flow of the creative tides where you have to embrace the in-between.
You have to accept not knowing.
And it’s hard as hell. Because in all of our effort to create the lives of our dreams, and in owning our power to do so, we forget that it’s not always all about us. The Universe needs time to weave its magic, make preparations, work in other people’s hearts and minds. It needs time and sometimes it requires us to wait.
And not know.
You have to be willing to be blind at times. You have to be willing to surrender to the process. Let go. Trust. Keep your faith.
So what can you do when you’re in-between?
- Breathe. The Universe hasn’t brought you this far just to drop you now.
- Take a look around. What haven’t you been seeing because you were so focused?
- Come home to yourself. We’re used to being fragmented and multi-focused. Bring yourself back to your center.
- Let go. Surrender. Stop fighting the process.
- Listen. Get still. Just listen. Don’t “hear.” Listen.
What doesn’t work when you’re in-between?
Pacing. Struggling. Fighting. Demanding. Striving for answers. Taking every little thing as “a sign.” Ignoring your body’s need for rest. Losing faith. Giving up. Falling back into unsupportive practices or habits. Complaining. Guilting yourself out. Trying to jump-start the next project when it’s not ready. Arguing with characters or your loved ones. Thinking there’s something wrong with you. Beating yourself up emotionally for “being blind.”
The creative life takes faith.
All lives take faith. You don’t have to be religious. But you do have to be spiritual, because you are spirit. And there are spiritual realities as real as physical ones – your spirit needs rest, down-time, quiet, nurturance, attention, love and acceptance – just as much as your body does.
In-between can be just the break your spirit and body needs to prepare for what’s next. Because as the Universe prepares for the next step, it also prepares you.
Trust the process. Bless the in-between.