There is one important stage in a change process, and in life process, which is less talked about. I call this the the messy middle.
The point where everything is in the air (again), where one dream is about to end but another has yet to announce its arrival. A stage when we are face to face with the fact that life is unpredictable, it’s messy and completely uncontrollable. We have plans, but there is life, and for a moment we end up breathing into a paper bag trying not to burst into full blown panic.
Messy middle is the spot with all the painful, open questions: What should I do with my life? Is this the right path for me? What will happen to me next? Will I be OK with the pain if I let go now? Will I be financially OK if I take a leap of faith?
Fortunately, when the mind knows nothing but questions, the heart knows nothing but answers.
The right path is not always easy
I’m in the messy middle right now. I’m ending something that once was my dream, and I don’t know yet what is coming. I have goals, dreams and the open sea, and the hope that at one point I will see solid land ahead.
We often think that chasing your dream is a path paved with roses, because we see people “just doing it.” But what we see is the end result, the result which came from slow starts and advanced through the messy middles into something concrete. It’s the result when someone did not give up, no matter how messy it all got.
Because it is easy to give up and choose the easy road. The messy middle is the point when your insecurities are at the surface, your fears and wounds are raw and way too close to the heart. It’s a point when you have to measure which way to go – the convenient way which may not excite you much, but it feels safe. Or the inconvenient way which feels exciting, but also hard and demanding.
Why I stumble in the middle
I’ve gone through more major life changes than I care to count, and yet I stumble here. I know how good it gets on the other side, but that doesn’t stop my fears and insecurities from rising. I trust life and my intuition, but the undefined emptiness still scares me every time. It excites me more, but it still scares me.
I have no idea where I will be in 6 months time. In fact none of us ever do, but let’s not get into that existential question right now. On one hand I live for these free moments of ‘anything can happen‘ but they also take a toll on me. At least on the sensitive side of me. While the Sensation seeker in me is kite-surfing in the wild wind, my sensitive side would prefer things to be a little bit more predictable. But I know in my heart that by steering into the fear and into the inconvenience of my next dream, I allow something unimaginable to come into existence.
The other day I took an online yoga class where the teacher was swirling us from one end of the mat to the other, and again coming back to the center, encouraging us to find our own center in the moving world. I suppose that’s all we can do, at least that we can (try to) control. To find our center, and to stay in our center no matter what happens outside.
A good goal for me this year.
Or for this life.