Transition time. Twilight time. In-between times.
That time in between. When you’ve just quit one job and not sure what’s next. When you’ve taken a break from work to look after your child and not sure what lies ahead. When the children grow up and you don’t know how life would be ahead. When your spouse passes on and your life needs to come together in a new way. When you’ve broken off with your girlfriend and you don’t know if you’ll ever have another relationship again. Transition time. Twilight time. In-between times.
I remember quitting my job as a journalist. Even though I liked writing, there was an unrest there. I didn’t quite understand what it was. Nothing seemed very clear as to if I quit then what. Very often we stay with this unease in a job, in a relationship, in a life situation for far too long, ignoring what it is calling us towards. Sometimes we respond. Responding often doesn’t seem like an easy task. The old is familiar. We get used to it.
Sometimes we get thrown or jolted into change. Usually, it is this way. We find everything familiar slipping away, like there is nothing to hold on to. We are filled with doubt, confusion, despair, fear.
Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun and a wonderful writer and teacher, describes this as the groundlessness. Such moments can be a great gateway, a great opening into a more spacious way in how we encounter ourselves and the world. These times are important ones, possibly transformative ones.
What makes it transformative? Or how can it become transformative? It is a natural opportunity, to let go of notions, our ideas and beliefs of how things need to be, how we imagined our lives to be or this relationship and the future of it. It gives us a chance to inquire who we are without these notions and how our life can be without these notions. It can be painful. It can be freeing. In some way, it is a death and a re-birth. The more strongly held are the notions, the more we struggle. What is important is to let go of the notions, to grieve how we thought things could be and embrace that we do not know as yet how things will shape up.
It is not always painful, when we consciously take a decision for change, when it is in response to an inner calling, that often from some sense of inner unrest and then a clarity. We find that it moves us somewhat closer to a more authentic way of living with ourselves and moving in the world.
When we are in this in-between stage, we can’t fathom how it might be. It’s like being on a voyage, leaving the shore and before we reach another shore, we lose sight of the land and need to be completely at sea and after a very long time, we begin to find some land appearing and the new land gets clearer as we get closer.
All we can do in these in-between times is to encounter our feelings, honestly and wholeheartedly. It surely helps if we have support during these times and fall back into a sense of trust as we navigate our way moment to moment, each day at a time. To know that we are ok no matter what.