The Space Between
"I don't know where I'm going, but I sure know where I've been..."
- Whitesnake 1982
It’s been a long, short summer. It has me thinking back to when my kids were babies and the days, mostly spent alone with the monotony of infinite laundry loads and sterilizing bottles, felt endless and lonely but those weeks, those months, those years? They sped by! Time is odd like that, right? Somehow the years disappeared so quickly but the days lasted forever and none of those daily mom-tasks seemed important or productive or interesting. It felt like tedium. Like nothing was being accomplished. This summer has felt like that for me, too. Endless, lonely, tedious. The only difference is that, this time, I chose it. This summer is disappearing while I lie still, cradled in the very uncomfortable hammock of the space between a life I left behind and a whole new, mostly unknown, life that I am moving toward in our brand new home in a new city. And you know what? I kinda like it.
Back in the spring, I did some very intentional journaling and tapping on what I wanted our big move to look and feel like and, despite my desire to have my kids adjust easily and quickly, I promised myself that I would allow some stillness for us this summer. After almost two years of running the marathon of grief and diving deep into my personal and spiritual growth, I knew it was time for a rest. I also knew that to slow down my pace during this critical phase of our journey was counterintuitive to who I am and it wasn’t going to be easy. Relaxing into a new life was not going to be very...ummmmm…relaxing.
At 49 years old, I know myself quite well. One of my top strengths is that of an Activator which just means that I like to get things done. I like to create lists and reap that dopamine rush of accomplishing shit and ticking things OFF the list, so as the kids and I transitioned to our new home, I knew I was at risk of not being able to slow down. I knew I would be naturally inclined to do ALL the things, right away.
For example, I knew I might try to meet ALL the new neighbours quickly, invite them all over for happy hour and a tour of our home, force myself to engage in small talk with anyone and everyone. I knew I would likely start investigating ALL the possible activities for the kids and start enrolling them in gymnastics and golf, art and taekwondo just to keep things on the move. I knew I would feel called to join in new online courses and communities and continue my healing journey by reading the 27 new non-fiction books that are recommended to me almost every week. I knew I would feel eager to join a boot-camp and start meeting people and get our family out in the community fast, so that me and my kids would feel instantly connected. Activity is my comfort zone and it makes me feel in control. Staying ahead the game and on top of the proverbial list feels GOOD to me (even though my higher self knows that it is just a totally fear-driven attempt to maintain that control) so I knew I would feel compelled to accept any and every invitation to ensure that we productively rolled from one life into the next with no gaps in our activities, our continued-education or our social lives.
"Go, go, go" = my comfort zone... but not my happy place.
But I know better now.
I have learned that the problem with not allowing the gaps is that the gaps are where the magic lives. If we don’t allow the gaps, we miss all the magic. The gaps are ripe with pure possibility. The gaps might feel like the tedium of those long, drawn out baby-days…saturated in dirty diapers, boring bottle-washing duties and the recommended tummy-times where the baby just seemed to lay there on the floor doing almost nothing…but somehow those uneventful days turned into magical milestones being met, didn’t they?! Integration was occurring in that stillness and miracles were coming to fruition in the boredom of it all! Baby was finding her voice. Learning her words! Baby was recognizing his physical strength. Cruising the coffee table and wobbly-walking! Baby was figuring out who they were in this exciting new world and guess what…so was Mama. All the value and growth happened within that seemingly unproductive tedium.
One of my favourite courses to take (and to teach!) is a true masterpiece called ‘Mastering the BrainGAME’. It was channelled and created several years ago by one of the many integral mentors I have worked with in the past couple years, Joy Kingsborough. One of the most important ideas we explore in that course is that energy is always in motion – it is always moving and changing and shifting shapes but it never completely disappears. There is no end to energy…it flows from place to place, person to person like a never-ending invisible ribbon of vibrations, thoughts, emotions . We describe it to be like a game of Whack-A-Mole at the carnival! When one mole disappears with the physical act of our forcing it out of sight (in this case, smashing it with a foamy-hammer!) it will always pop up somewhere else! Energy is like that. It will move around and feel different to us at different times. Sometimes we force it down or move it through or out of us but it never disappears. We just let it go and we never know where or how it will reinvent itself - and in those split-second moments while we wait and anticipate where it will pop up again, there is a moment of infinite possibility! It could resurface anywhere and look or feel like anything! Fear can cause pain that spreads a hurt that might turn into curiosity which can lead to connection and healing which might eventually bloom into love. This is the fluidity of energy. No one will know what's going to happen until it happens and these unseen moments of stillness are actually pure limitless potential. This is the magic of the gap. The miracle of the spaces in between any two events, lives, people, souls, places, objects.
I couldn't find a graphic of a "Whack-a-Mole" game but
I DO love me a good carnival reference and this ride feels a little like what it is to be me right now....suspended between lives.
Because I know this to be true, despite my natural inclination to leap from one busy life to the next, I shut it all down this summer. My miraculous body even contributed to my plan and “supported” me in my quest for stillness by manifesting a fairly severe foot injury that has made most activity impossible. Besides swimming with the kids in the refreshing water at my moms lake home, resting my foot on my new outdoor chaise while reading novels (I have read FOUR full fiction books this summer and there is a stack waiting!), digging my toes into warm sand and wading in the chilly Pacific, there isn’t much I have been physically able to do. It feels frustrating at times but I also know it’s temporary and a gift from the universe to help me achieve the integration that was my goal for this season.
For the kids, my commitment to discovering the magic in the gaps has made summertime feel pretty different than in years past, too. It has looked like later nights and slower mornings, hours of trampoline jumping and endless splashing in the lake. Movies nights and iPads and snuggling together in my big new delicious bed with the puppy too! (And if you know me well, then you will understand that letting a dog in my bed truly IS a miracle!!!) Rushed trips on the ferry between cities has been replaced by short jaunts between the familiar homes of their grammas, grandpas, uncles, aunties and cousins! Most importantly for all three of us, it has looked like a calm Mama, not desperately trying to keep everything reigned in and controlled, rather surrendering a little more to the unknown future with excitement and appreciation and, as a result, living a little more happily in the present.
Truly ridiculous. Wherever Darcy is, he is laughing hysterically
at my unexpected transition into a dog-mom.
So, despite the discomfort of these uneventful months, it has actually been very quietly productive and I am starting to feel pretty good. I’m “cruising the coffee table” now and “wobbly-walking”, I guess. As we approach the end of summer, I realize that I have allowed myself to integrate a lot of the new ideas and values that I have explored over the last couple years and I know that is why I felt ready to write a blog post this morning for the first time in many weeks. I am coming together. Feeling calmer and more present with the kids is the greatest gift and was truly our motivation for moving in the first place… so that is a pretty cool product of all this nothingness. As we head toward autumn I am starting to feel like I know who I am in this new life, just a little bit. It is more clear to me what I want to bring forward with me and what I am really ready to leave behind and I am starting to get excited to see what’s next… but there’s no rush.
Hot tubbin!!! Those SMILES, though. Am I right?!
One more gratuitous shot of a handsome guy and a summer well-spent.
If you are looking for me you’ll find me swaying in the hammock, just a little longer, and watching the magic continue to unfold here in the space between.
Til Next Time,
Heal & Be Healed.