We all go through periods in life when things are a bit of a mess.
When I say “mess”, I don’t mean the mess you’d see on a typical reality show where people’s lives are totally out of control.
The mess I refer to is the time when we go through significant changes. When we lose what appears to be our “everything” and we don’t know what to do next.
For some it could be a loss of a job or a major client. For some it could be a loss of a relationship. Whatever the mess is, it is generally filled with fear of the unknown, self doubt and worry.
How you manage yourself inside this mess depends a lot on your inner strength and your ability to cope with the unknown. If you are not trained in how to handle anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, and welcome patience — you won’t be able to flee from this terrible “cloud of unknowing.”
This space is often referred to as a “liminal space”. The in-between space. Where you’ve left the tried and true and haven’t yet been able to replace it with anything else. When you are between your old comfort zone and the newness of what’s to come.
The liminal space is where transformation takes place.
When we learn to allow this space to exist, we can experience tremendous self growth.
But most of us are afraid of this space. We avoid it.
We compromise our lives, our relationships, and the things that really matter to us just so we don’t have to go through the pain of living in the unknown.
The liminal space is a waiting space. It can actually be the most important time in your life if you allow it to be. This space has power and gifts.
Our life can seem like a mess during this time, but if we simply say yes to this mess, if we allow ourselves to be just a bit out of control of needing to know how things will resolve, we can tap into deeper inner wisdom.
I suspect I’ve become an expert at living in this liminal space.
I’ve experienced it twice in my life. First, when I decided to sell my design firm ten years ago, not having any idea what I wanted to do next. And then more recently, a divorce that prompted a two year journey around the world where I went soul searching for who I wanted to become.
As romantic as traveling the world may sound to you, this space was not an easy place for me to live in. It was hard, dark, and often times, a lonely space. I had to allow myself to be drawn out of “business as usual” and remain patiently on the “threshold”.
I’m the kind of guy that is used to being in control of his life. The master of his own destiny. And here I was traveling from country to country, having to give up control of knowing what’s going to happen next. There were days where I had no idea where I would be sleeping next or how I would be getting to my next destination.
But as hard as some of those days and nights were, I had faith. I knew that being inside this space, allowing the mystery to unfold, would only lead me to where I am supposed to be.
I knew this because I know the value of deep inner work.
That’s why I kept saying yes to the mess.
I said yes to healing my grief, yes to facing my fixations, and yes to knowing my shadows, all of which I avoided for so many years.
And the results?
Miracles. My life is in the best place it has ever been and my work is feeling more powerful than ever.
A liminal space is unavoidable. And often times, we aren’t aware that we are in it. However, if you are willing to wait and not run away from facing your mess, I can promise you that the inner work you will do during this time will transform your life and lead you to a bigger, better place.
Photo: Santa Fe Sky © 2014 Peleg Top