Where we find ourselves in the metaphorical wave of 2020 and 2021...
Are you feeling in between in your life? That sense that you’re not where you were, but you’re not yet where you want to be?
Gosh if 2020 was the year of uncertainty and not knowing what is next and having to surrender to the stand still…the stillness…the utter: “just stop”! Then, I asked myself, what is this time of a sort of “extended pause” I’m feeling???
To back up a step, for me the “stop” came in the late summer of 2020 when I was feeling inspired—well if I’m being honest, dragged to take a weekend away by myself to do nothing. See “doing nothing” sounds nice—but in actual practice it’s quite hard and feels VERY uncomfortable. BUT I did it- and it has come to be known to me as a time of “transformational rest”. It was a life changing experience.
Allowing that time of rest ultimately prepared me for a period of productivity, active creativity and new learning, that I experienced in the first half of 2021. And man, it felt good! I was on a roll; I felt inspired and full of purpose. I was actively getting all of my metaphorical, ducks in a row. I was readying myself for a very productive fall and looking forward to it! Yes!
So the end of summer 2021 came, my kids were back in school- yay! But, and then, three weeks later we got a puppy, and one month later my son had major reconstructive foot surgery. And the thing is, this happened around the same time that it felt like things in the world just weren’t feeling right---again. I questioned my inclination to complain and feel tired because they were both things I hadn’t planned on necessarily, but I had chosen- unlike the countless tragedies people were facing.
The news was always highlighting “real” problems like health issues, violence, climate change stuff. And here I was feeling bad for myself because I had a puppy and son that got surgery that will positively impact his well-being. But after many weeks, in a quiet moment I heard: “even heart work is still work…” And so I felt a sense of validation of what I had been experiencing the first couple of months in the fall.
And then I started to remember that both the puppy and my son’s surgery were definitely spiritually aligned. It wasn’t so much that I had “chosen” this, but that I had surrendered to the inspiration to do this for my family. As I sat in my own acceptance and resolve, and also watched and felt the discomfort and grief of what others were going through during this time, I started to notice something else. I realized that this time of slowing down for me personally to have energy and to be available for my son and new puppy, was really an opportunity the Divine was giving me to integrate the changes I was making in my work/home-life balance I had started earlier that year--developing into what I feel God is calling me to be more of.
First, though, I lamented with friends asking: “what happened, I thought I was being called to do more ‘work’ and less ‘home’- and now here I am doing all ‘home’ again?!” It’s been a very confusing few months for sure. But little by little I have come to “chill out” and not resist the disappointment as much. Part of that surrender came when I reflected: “if I thought I was supposed to do something else, what is the purpose of this frustrating, unexpected turn of events?” I remembered a few conversations I had heard over the year, about the “crazy” time that we are all experiencing.
One conversation was about the meaning of #5 or 2021, our current year. The number 5, represents “change”. In talking over what this felt like in real time, a friend and I came up with the metaphor of the pandemic being like a wave—with COVID and 2020 being the actual wave that came crashing down on the planet. We then rationalized that 2021 has also been a year of navigating change—or dealing with the effects of COVID, or the metaphorical sand that gets thrown up and caught in the water when the wave crashes on the shore.
Interesting though, for a time at the beginning of the year, 2021, we all felt some relief with the vaccine becoming available and COVID cases and deaths decreasing. I even clearly remember the feeling of being excited for spring and summer. It felt like such a great opening was on the horizon! I was definitely filled with hope and optimism.
And so when the middle/end of the summer came with COVID closures again, mixed with social unrest; and now in the midst of a fall that doesn’t seem to want to end, it shocked us all. “What happened? COVID was supposed to be getting better!” “Political and social issues were supposed to not feel so overwhelming and upsetting!” “What is going on?!!”
Here we are rounding the bend of 2021 the year of change as it were, and from my experience, and what I have recognized in many communities I’m in, it has felt very uncomfortable again. It seems that in addition to the stuff around us, many are in a “pause” or “liminal space”—navigating the discomfort of being in that middle space of transition—not where we were, but also not yet where we want to be.
Have you felt it? Have you felt frustrated that things seem like they aren’t moving faster? Are you wanting to just “get on with it” in your business or personal life, or both?!
Well, I have some good news. The good news is that this liminal space has purpose! Whatever spiritual background or practice you have, there is purpose to this discomfort. I don’t believe that “everything happens for a reason”. But I do believe that with introspection and asking your Greater Source for insight, that meaning can come from anything and everything we experience.
It’s definitely been a frustrating time for me as I explained earlier. And as I took a moment to think about it, blending a few conversations together, I realized that the time coming up for us in the next year is something to look forward to.
Remember how I mentioned that 2021 is, has been a time for “change”. Well 2022 is also the number 6 which represents “harmony”. And what do we need before harmony? We need integration of “change” and the effects of it. We need that time in between, where the old and the new mix- forming something different from what we were used to. Here’s another analogy to that might help: if you think of an acapella group—right before you get to that perfect harmony that can be so impactful you feel it physically as your hair stands on end---there is that moment where it’s not quite as delightful. The leader pulls out his harmonica to get everyone’s voices aligned. And then---wow—the voices, the pitches, the notes come together---in harmony. But without that even sometimes cacophony right before, there just wouldn’t be the blending that it needed for that harmony.
Now, this isn’t to generalize for everyone’s experience. We are all on our own unique journey- with an individual relationship with the Divine and/or spiritual practice/s. But for those of you who resonate with what I’ve written: if 2021 has been a year of change, and 2022 is the year of harmony---what is needed, IS the in-between! That time of the uncomfortable and uncertain time of integration. We are feeling the effects of the shifting, the practice, all of the rearranging of what was to what will be. But your notes ARE coming together even if right now it sounds and feels totally array. But you’ve got to let those sounds find their way to harmony. We’ve got to just let it be cacophonous for now.
And so, as we go into the holidays and an upcoming season of stress layered on top of this uncomfortable liminal space, puleeeze take it slower than you normally would. Please feel validated that it is okay if you are feeling inclined to take even more things off your plate and to say no to a list of other things. If you can relate to what I’ve written then you might just be in a time of integration. Please know that you are in good company, take it slower than usual, and know that good things are on the horizon. If you need some extra help navigating this time, I’m here to help: firstname.lastname@example.org Bestest of wishes to you in the mean time!