How you can actually end up loving that ‘in-between’ phase
Last week I opened up the floor and invited Juicy Tuesday readers to send in any questions, dilemmas, topics they wanted to see me pondering, answering, waxing lyrical about. Thank you to all of you who sent in questions. I could only pick one but if it wasn’t yours, your question will go back into the lucky dip for next week. Keep your questions coming, they spark off lots of ideas which I love. This one sparked off a whole 2-step guide to navigating your way through the ‘in-between’ phase. Check it out!
The question I’m answering this week:
“Hi Selina, at 33 I quit my nice stable teaching job because I was deeply unhappy, tired of having to fit in to a mould that was nothing to do with me, unappreciated and I would even go so far as to say abused by my managers. But most of all, my body and soul were crying out for me to break free. I, like you, lost a lot; status, a good income, my home, many friends as well as the image I had been trying so desperately to maintain “I’m fine, I’m strong, I’m happy, I can cope”. I fell into a deep depression / trauma.
I don’t regret my decision, not for one minute.
I guess, although I know I am on the right track, I’m not sure exactly where I’m headed and seem to oscillate between ideas, disregard initial ideas and have flashes of inspiration of what to do next.
Can you give me any advice about how to navigate this in between time? When the old has fallen away but the new has not yet transpired?” — Hannah
Hannah, you are not alone. I happily hold my hand up and say I used to SERIOUSLY FREAK OUT when I hit this in-between phase. That dark void of the unknown where there be dragons, that terrifying space of nothingness, that tumbling down the rabbit hole with no idea of where you’ll end up or if you’ll ever find your way home… it used to send my spinning. No matter how many times I made big bold-ass changes in my life, it just didn’t seem to get any better. I thought it was something you had to just grit your teeth and get through. Which meant that about 3 times a year I wasn’t enjoying life, I was surviving the ‘in-between’ phases.
BUT finally, finally I cracked it. Cracked through that crunchy layer of ‘meh’ and ‘arrrrrrrrrrgh!’ and found the sweet spot in the inbetween phase where there aren’t any dragons at all, there is no sense of being lost, instead there is a delicious space of peace, calm and possibility.
Now, when I hit that midway no-man’s land, I make myself comfortable, fix myself a drink and I enjoy it. I actually revel in it now.
Here is what I discovered and here is how I can show you the way into that sweet spot too.
My simple 2 step guide to navigating the in-between time and enjoying it!
#1: LET IT ALL OUT
Stepping into the unknown IS scary. It is a breeding ground for all your fears. Here there be dragons. Ones that know just which buttons of yours to press. No surprise then that this is where people really start to unravel, lose the plot, freak out, run for cover, think they may have gone ever so slightly crazy. This is when everyone and it doesn’t matter how many times you make big bold-ass life changes, this is where everyone has a mini flip out.
So when you do. And you will. All you need to do is allow all that fear to have its say. EXPRESS IT. Give it a voice. Give that crazy a stage to speak out from. Let the arrrrrrrrrgh! emotions tumble out.
ACTION: For a week take 5 minutes every morning to write, without thinking. For a full 5 minutes write down all your emotions, your fears, your anger, your worries, your freak outs. DON’T BOTTLE IT UP. If you’re in freak out mode right now as you’re reading this, take 5 mintues and do this exercise NOW. Don’t wait until tomorrow morning. Don’t wait a minute longer.
You need to let it all out.
These emotions are allowed.
Because this is scary, you are allowed to feel like you’re going nuts, you are allowed to feel angry, you’re expected to be a little scared.
Give those fears a voice, yes, but don’t let them shape your actions and next steps. They’ll come up with rubbish ideas like ‘go back to what you know, at least it’s safe’.
Bleugh. No. Rubbish idea. Doesn’t work.
Trust me, that doesn’t work.
Here is what to do instead. Step #2. It is simple, it is delicious, it is SO EASY:
# 2 FEED UP ON INSPIRATION.
Mix yourself a cocktail of all the things that get you buzzing, make your soul soar, make your heart glow, make you feel alive. And now spend the next few weeks drinking it all in.
This is what that in-between phase is there for. A space to fill with inspiration from which your dreams will start to grow effortlessly.
THE POWER OF INSPIRATION
Inspiration has a way of expanding our minds as to what is possible. It fuels the fire of our dreams, gives us the courage to bring them to the surface. Inspiration has a way of quietening the pessimist, the cynic, the critic within us, so that we can hear our hearts speak and say what it is that we truly, madly, deeply long for. Inspiration stretches us out of our boxes of limited thinking and for a moment at least we dream, think, believe with no limitations.
The more you surround yourself, plunge yourself deep into a world that excites, fascinates, entices you, the more you will sponge it up, soak it in, become part of that world until you’re a regular player in it.
So what gets you going? What inspires you?
For me it’s sassy, loud-mouthed, punchy lyrical prose that speaks from the soul and rallies us into action. It’s a wild windswept mountain top, a sea that soothes my soul. It’s speeding along a country road in a camper van with the sea in sight and music blaring, it’s pumping cumbia, Soul-wax at a festival, it’s Anthony and the Johnsons on a cold bleak night, it’s standing silently hand in hand with a person I love, it’s dancing with my friends until the sun comes up. It’s a TED talk that blows my mind, it’s a warm cup of coffee snuggled up in a café with my laptop and a soul that wants to speak. It’s a blue sky, laughter, birdsong that cuts through the traffic. It’s time spent with courageous people living lives they’ve created, to their own rules, from the heart, sharing our stories. It’s cheering people on as they start to live the lives they dreamed of.
It’s those SOUL peaks that we get from being fully inspired, that charge us all the way up, that connect us to our most powerful selves.
Coming up on that kind of inspiration makes me feel invincible, that anything is possible. That’s when the ideas come tumbling to the surface. From the big, to the ridiculous, to the down-right genius.
As ideas bubble to the surface, capture them. That dream or idea might stick around for no more than 5 minutes. It might stick around for 5 days. But if you start to lose interest in it, don’t panic. Let it go and it will very likely return in a slightly different form – stronger, clearer, but with that same core experience at the heart of it.
So now it’s your go.
ACTION: Write down all the things that inspire you, that get your heart racing and make you feel alive. Now, go fill your life up with it, lose yourself in it and just see what happens…
If you’re not regularly dosing up on inspiration, whether you’re in that ‘inbetween’ zone or not. Start doing it today.
And never stop.
Inspiration is the fuel that keeps us each fired up and feeds our dreams and visions. Fill that ‘in-between’ phase with inspiration binges and you’ll soon stop fearing them and start looking forward to them.
P.S. thanks for the great questions sent in last week. I’ll continue to answer questions from you guys for the rest of March, so keep them coming! Just leave a comment below and let me know what you’d like to hear me wax lyrical about.