Honor the space between no longer and not yet – Nancy Levin
This quote sums up my year. It resonates with me on a deep level because 2016 has been a year of personal in-between. I’ve made huge personal and professional strides but still have my sights set on a bright future. I vacillate between periods of feeling unworthy in the present and feeling overwhelmed when looking to the future. I can feel discomfort with past decisions I’ve made then swing to wild uncertainty and fear about what’s next.
I’ve always compartmentalized my life into chapters and phases. I think I’ve always had an affair with nostalgia and phases allow me to look at different periods of my life with rose colored glasses. Songs, movies, quotes pepper my memories and I return each phase when I’m reminded. I remember the high school phase, college phase, sorority phase, party phase, professional phase, healthy phase etc. These phases were my method of marking growth and also inciting it. Somehow, someway I always made it to the next phase though hindsight reveals it wasn’t always by my own choosing.
The problem with living in phases is that I want to control the evolution. Sometimes I try and stay too long in phase, resisting the growth and change required to move forward. Other times, I barge forward at full speed and my natural inclination seeks to dictate the terms, aesthetics, and the outcome of the phase change. I swing between holding on too tight to the past or wanting instantaneous change that fits within my idea of a perfect story.
Life doesn’t work this way. Life is messy. The phases aren’t so clearly delineated. I create suffering for myself when I resist the present and seek to force my own evolution. I think it is healthy and necessary to focus on the future and visualize goals but the danger sets in when I let the Type A part of my personality interweave ambition with control. The vision board goes from inspiring to impossible when I put timelines and expectations on how everything will unfold.
In 2016, I’ve learned to find balance by honoring the space between no longer and not yet. The gaps between who we’ve been and who we are becoming. I love the reverence of the word honor. It inspires me to be grounded and grateful for where I am on the path. I’m carving out and creating space for myself that didn’t exist six months or even a year ago. I’m learning the art of the receiving feminine energy and allowing life changes to come in due time as opposed to pushing and trying my hardest to force things.
I feel as driven + ambitious women we are always looking forward and focused on our next goal, accomplishment, or achievement. It’s healthy because focusing on the big picture brings clarity and motivation to work hard. But our drive is also a trap because we feel stagnant and unfulfilled if we aren’t electric, dynamite, and killing it 100% of the time. We feel the pressure to be always on. We look to other successful women as yardsticks to figure out where we are coming up short. We focus on getting to the next marker of success and feel deep discontent when we don’t make it there by our self-imposed deadlines.
Honor the space and honor the becoming. I think the way to find sustained fulfillment during this in-between chapter is to take the perspective ” What am I supposed to learn? What opportunities are opening up for me?”. Space in-between who you were and who you want to be is about learning to relax into the unfulfilled feeling and channel it into something productive. We have to learn to feel grateful for the journey happening now and relinquish some of the focus on what we’ve yet to accomplish. We grow into our shoes the same way we grow into the person we’re meant to be. I’m learning that these times of perceived unfulfillment are actually times when we need to get tight. It is a time to root down and commit to growth so we can grow into who we need to become for our next chapter. This space between is an opportunity for us to develop ourselves and build our character so we can evolve.
The space between no longer and not yet is where the magic happens. I’ve learned to approach this space as the impetus for creativity and new experiences + opportunities. I’ve come to understand we will make it to our next destination when we’re ready. The trick is to use this “space” to become ready. To shed what is no longer serving us. To step into who we’re meant to be. To acquire new skills. To expand our thoughts and perceptions of the world. Honor this space by slowing down, journaling, reading, taking care of your body, etc.
It’s difficult to give up the struggle of chasing an ever-changing endpoint of what our lives and success should look like. To let go requires faith in a plan and Power greater than our own. It asks us to humbly admit that we don’t always know what is best. We can all look at painful moments in our lives and see these closed doors, obstacles, and dodged bullets as blessings in hindsight. I’ve found peace in the deep knowing that I’m okay in this in-between space because God loves us so much so that everything is organized to work together for our good.
I find that this space for me is currently learning and understanding that less is more. Less stuff. Less environmental impact. Less consumption. Less judgment towards others. Less checking my phone. Nothing is perfect but in slowing down I’ve seen the beauty in becoming more conscious and more intentional. I’m not at the place where I want to be yet, but I’m headed in that direction. I can’t force new Danielle to appear, I can just create the habits that support her and give her the space to appear.
I know there is so much ahead of us, but I also know we will find joy in the journey. As 2016 winds down I hope you reflect on how far you’ve come. I hope you see your progress with new eyes. As we make resolutions and goals for the new year, I pray we can all find a little more balance. Cheers to all of us creating + designing the people we want to be and the lives we want to live. I hope we continue to meet ourselves with honor, with love, and with compassion. See you in 2017.