Between letting go of your past and realizing your future…lies the messy middle. That space where we explore, learn, and grow. It’s also the space many of us like to avoid as it can be uncomfortable, unsettling, and disorienting…it can feel like we are untethered. But in this messy middle space, we gain insight and validate who we are and how we want to show up in the world.
Many past cultures and a few current ones, have rituals for the messy middle to support life’s transitions. Sweat lodges. Silent retreats. Solo wilderness trips. In our modern lives, taking time for self-reflect may come in smaller portions or less grand acts, but offer extraordinary value. A walk in the woods. Creating art and crafts. Running or other exercise. Restorative yoga practice. Daily meditation.
The objective during these rituals is to disconnect from what happened in the past and your efforts to plan for the future and simply be. Be with yourself in the moment, right now. The past is available to teach us. The future is unknown and open to opportunities. This moment, right now, is where you find clarity of who you are, how you choose to show up, and how you offer your strengths and greatness to the world.
About a year ago, I was entrenched in my own messy middle. Uncertain, unstable, and confused as to what my next step in my life could be. A trip to Arizona to visit my parents was my opportunity to reflect and simply be with myself. I took many solo walks in the desert and allowed myself to open my heart and take a deep look inside. (I should note, I do not recommend hugging cactus! The goal is to connect with nature and find tranquility and clarity, not become a human pincushion!)
I evaluated where I have been and the amazing lessons I learned from my experiences. I looked at the parts of my current life which brought me happiness, and which were sucking the life out of me!
It was during this time of reflection when I began to hold myself accountable for my recent actions and interactions in various situations. I realized these situations were not doing anything to me. It was my response to the situations and my interpretation or the story I was telling myself that was sucky.
By taking time to identify what truly brought joy and energy to my life, I learned where I want to go and how I want to show up every day. Here are my insights from my messy middle…
I have the power to choose the activities I want to engaged in.
I have the power to choose how I want to show up authentically.
I have the power to choose AND the courage to create positive changes in my life and take steps forward to focus on the work I love.
Realizing I had not been showing up authentically and playing the role of victim in my own story was humbling. I knew in those moments walking under the hot desert sun that the respect I so desperately wanted had to start with me. I had to know myself, love myself, and stand up for myself.
As unsettling as the messy middle is…take the time to get in there and get a bit messy. Remember, it is a space to turn inward, to recharge, to reflect, to realign, and reengage. Open yourself to your unlived potential and greatness.
Contact me at KnilansCoaching.com if you are interested in exploring these ideas or how to design your unique path to live fully. Schedule 30 minutes with me!