Reaching out from the wobbly middle

Nico throwing rocks, Colorado

“Every positive change–every jump to a higher level of energy and awareness–involves a rite of passage. Each time to ascend to a higher rung on the ladder of personal evolution, we must go through a period of discomfort, of initiation. I have never found an exception.” - Dan Millman, author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior

I love this quote and the re-frame he offers: That even in the midst of the discomfort, you can know that this is initiation. This is you growing into something more — deeper, wiser, more awake + more compassionate. It’s a lovely big-picture way to hold whatever big shifts are going on in your life right now.

I spoke with a friend yesterday and when she asked me how I was, I found myself saying, “I don’t have words for it yet, but I know that I am experiencing a shift. I am moving towards a different way of being as a creative person + teacher. I am moving toward something more intimate and grounded, something that feeds me in deep ways and creates even more powerful connections to the people I serve.”

After I said it I was surprised by how true it felt. I didn’t even realize that I was in the midst of change until the words came out of my mouth! But there it was.

I would guess that if we are awake + conscious in our lives, that we are almost always in a state of becoming. Becoming more ourselves by honoring who we are in bigger and deeper ways.

But what I want to acknowledge today is that the awkward messy phase of an initiation is full of discomfort and doubt. We will question everything — if we are on the right path, if we are up to the task, or if we should just quit altogether. It’s tempting to judge ourselves especially, to say we are lost or broken. You’re a mess, get your shit together, why can’t you be like so and so… But I’m here to say this: that life is often that messy middle place and our capacity to find comfort (and perspective) there can make all the difference.

Reaching out

One of the best ways to do this is to reach out. Not to just anyone, but someone you trust to hold big things with you. Someone who can listen deeply + maybe get you out of the weeds to see something bigger. This might be a friend or family member. Or it might be a therapist or a coach. If we can reach out to one another from that space of uncertainty, we will feel less alone and we are more likely to move through with grace and courage.

What about you?

Are you in the midst of a shift? Are you moving toward a new version of yourself?

Complete the following sentence in the comments below:  As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more _____________.

Perhaps if we can all hold each other’s wobbly in-between space, we can find more strength to move through the fire.

 

32 Comments

  1. Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more sparkly, curious, and ready.

  2. Betsybeth
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches I feel myself becoming more grounded and honest

  3. Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more bold.

  4. Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    Oh yes I think a good teacher is always in the midst of a shift, and moving in and out of that wobbly place.

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more willing to stay in the wobbles without deciding what they mean, I find myself opening up to letting them teach me what they want to teach me.

  5. Posted December 5, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more free, (freedom turns out to be my guiding word, my theme for next year–it came as a complete surprise). At first glance, that might seem awesome, all good, “woo-hoo!,” but it’s also slippery, shaky, scary. Free means the ground isn’t exactly firm or even there, the center is shifting or maybe even gone, there are no rules, no map, no restrictions, no speed limit. I am unhinged, untethered, unsure, and raw. My heart is open.

  6. Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I am experiencing that there are no rungs to ascend, there is no ladder of personal evolution. There is nowhere to get to. This beautiful mystery is it. I am learning to speak the truth of my experience. Thank you for allowing me a space to do so.

  7. Posted December 5, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches I find myself becoming more nervous that I’ve set myself up for disappointment and failure BUT I want to turn that into trusting that everything will work out, even if it is nothing like what I expect or hope.

  8. Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I just came upon this post via Marianne Elliott and I’m grateful – It’s so appropriate for where I am today, I am writing and thinking heavily on this lately – I so agree that we are always in this state, your words ring true and feel so good to read. And that quote. Yes. A rite of passage.

    As the new year approaches I feel myself becoming more whole, undefended and open, more free (Jill – Freedom is a huge theme for me too!).

  9. Kimberley McGill
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I feel myself becoming more active and visible. Emphasis on the visible. Thank you for posting this. I knew that I could feel myself becoming more active creatively and relationally – but the word visible didn’t occur to me until I was typing this. And that is where the discomfort and wiggly feelings come in. But it helps, as you said, to know what we are in the midst of.

  10. mia
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    as the new year approaches, i feel myself becoming more expansive. yesterday, when thinking about my word for 2013, i felt repelled by ‘active’ words — words that required me to DO or to WORK HARD. the past year was all about WORKING HARD (leaving an 18-year abusive marriage) and in 2013 i want to SAVOR (yep, that’s my word!) who i am and what i’ve created. this year, i will expand enough to savor all of the wonderful things in my life. thanks for the opportunity to reflect and to get even more clear about what i want.

  11. Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    as always, grateful for your wise words. for the permission to be ok with this messy middle. thank you, andrea. and yes, absolutely in the midst of what feels like a major shift. your invitation…as the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more honest.

  12. gisele
    Posted December 5, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more calm. And, good lord, this feels good.
    I believe you are right, we are always shifting, morphing, it’s just sometimes we notice it and sometimes we don’t.

  13. Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Oh! You read my heart with this one! The timing is impeccable!!!! I am stepping into the next version of my self and it is Messy and Scary!!! I feel as awkward as a middle schooler wearing my first bra and braces! It’s hard! But all my lucky stars (such as you!), and all the signs I trust tell me this is the path to take right now.
    To be my highest me right now: must speak my truth boldly and not care so much what people will think of me. The wobbly part is that it seems like I must offend pretty much everyone around me in the process!! Trial by fire!!! The grace in this seems to be owning up to it.

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming MORE FREE! (she shouted.)

  14. Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Oh wow – just noticed Jill S’s sentence, above! :-)
    Here’s to “more free”!!

  15. Posted December 5, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more real. More me.
    Like you, I am sinking into the gifts of the messy middle.
    Thank you for this beautiful post, Andrea. It was exactly what I needed to read today.
    xxx

  16. Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches I feel myself becoming more open, brave and bold.

  17. Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more focused and adventurous.

  18. Posted December 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    I am becoming more available. I am so pleased to realize this. Thank you for asking.

  19. Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:33 am | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more willing to take the bull by the horns and enjoy my life, even if that means taking some scary risks!

    It’s empowering and I LOVE it!

  20. Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more actively pursuing my goal of being a serious kick ass freelance designer with jobs coming in on a regular basis. Oops. That was definitely more than a word. Thank you!

  21. Anneli
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:47 am | Permalink

    Thank you. I just sat down at the computer after shedding a few tears over being frustrated with my job and feeling like I may need to look for something new and I read your post. Amen, to the messy and uncomfortable confusing place – I look forward to the evetual shift at the other end.Thanks for the reminder of the rain before the rainbow.

  22. Michie
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:26 am | Permalink

    As the new year approaches I look forward to letting go of this past “Scary/Messy Year” and embracing a new calmer and more grounded year as I continue to adjust to caring for 50 something year old husband with dementia.

  23. Jenny
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:47 am | Permalink

    …Grounded, and open to exploring a different version of me. Great post, the timing is fortuitous (maybe more than fortuitous? :)) because I realized that I have become aware of this now place now too. Powerful connections, all.

  24. Shosh
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel more confused, hopeful, stuck and grateful.

  25. Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Thank you for this, Andrea. As always, you have that special knack for sharing something truly meaningful that resonates at just the right time! Thank you!

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming (gradually, steadily) more the best version of myself I can be.

  26. Posted December 6, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more vulnerable and open to the world. It is a scary and exciting time facing fear with a smile and tears. I hope that by being more open and recognizing the *strength* of vulnerability I can realign my relationship with the present, tempering expectations into a welcoming of whatever comes next.

  27. Arden
    Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    It often amazes me how your words are exactly what I need to hear. As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more scared and, paradoxically, more powerful.

  28. Posted December 8, 2012 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more free. Comfortable. Luminous.
    Yup, those are my words 2013… How I want to feel.
    Thanks Andrea
    Tracyxo

  29. Heather
    Posted December 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches I find myself becoming more anxious, because I know I need to make change, but am unsure what the “right” path of change is and currently feel as afraid to change as I am to stay the same.

  30. Posted December 12, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself become more courageous and hopeful. Thanks Andrea!

  31. Teresa R
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    As the new year approaches, I feel myself becoming more creative, more grateful, and more caring

  32. Posted January 3, 2013 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    love how this looks like he’s reaching toward a handful of flying birds :)

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