Greetings From The Messy Middle

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Writing is hard right now. At first it was just making videos, but now writing is hard too.

The words just don’t flow like they used to. Ideas are few and far between. Topics that I would normally talk about feel foreign -- like I have nothing to add, nothing to say. And I don’t have any solid sparks of inspiration for new content either.

It’s really annoying.

One piece of this puzzle is that I’ve been in a state of “perpetual harvest” for the past five years since I started my business. I’ve easily created an endless stream of videos, blog posts, emails, podcasts, all the online goodies. Sharing felt so easy for so long.

But now my creative well has run rather dry, which means sharing feels haaaaard.

So instead of pushing, I’m pausing and re-stocking the well. Taking time off. Focusing on other things, knowing my creative juices will get flowing when the time is right and I have more to share.

The other reason creating content feels hard right now is that I’m going through a season of massive change, both externally and internally.

When I was in LA a couple weeks ago I got to sit down and chat with Caleb Campbell, and we talked about the disorientation of “liminal space”.

Anthropologically speaking, when someone is moving through a rite of passage and having to  let go of old ways of thinking, being, doing - their old identity, really - in order to transition into their next evolution, that space of “in-between”, where they haven’t fully let go of their old self but still haven’t stepped into the new self? That’s liminal space.

You are not who you’ve always been. But you still haven’t become who you’re becoming. 

That’s my zip code right now.

It all started with a health scare/pain flare in May. And it’s been ongoing and unraveling ever since.

I’m sure I’ll share more details on what all went down eventually, but for now just know that from a health perspective I’m okay and fine — but I’m currently married to the “in-between”.

Just call me Mrs. Liminal. I’m in the messy middle, where my old self is getting stripped away, but my new self still feels unknown. I walk around feeling like I don’t recognize much of myself…which sounds awfully dramatic, but feels very true.

Stuff that used to appeal to me just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. Long-held and strong-held beliefs I’ve carried with me for my 30+ years are being shed and rearranged. I’m letting go of piles of fear I didn’t even know I had. It’s bizarre.

And my relationships are changing. My work is changing. My message and mission are changing. I’m feeling called to new ways of being, brand new places, new adventures, lots of things that don’t make much logical sense but my intuition is screaming at me to go for it.

And I’m tired a lot of the time. Because growth can be exhausting.

It’s quite disorienting and strange, this “liminal space” thing. This “Dark Night of the Soul” stuff.

But it’s also exhilarating. My coach keeps telling me to get excited -- there’s gold on the other side of all of this. But right now it feels like a bit of a shitshow.

But that’s by design. This is the in-between. It’s supposed to feel a little shitshow-y.

This might seem like a strange thing for me to admit -- especially because I’m continuing to work and coach through all of this.

While I’ve majorly cut back on my workload, I’m still showing up and living my life and serving other people. Isn’t it a little weird for me to admit that I’m going through a bit of personal upheaval at the moment?

Not really. I’ve always been very clear that I’m not the, “I have it all together here come follow me I can show you the way because I know everything!” coach. Because ew.

From the very beginning of building my business, transparency and authenticity have been HUGE McHUGE for me in terms of values.

And when I don’t just name what’s going on in my life, or simply acknowledge, “HEY SOME STUFF IS VERY WEIRD RIGHT NOW!” I feel like I’m lying and pretending, which feels awful.

And I don’t think lying or pretending actually serves anyone…

Sometimes, even though I know better, I look at the people I follow on the web, teachers and coaches whose work I love or look up to and think, “Wow -- they’ve really figured it out. She seems like she just has it together and knows what she’s doing and I bet if she has an ‘off day’ it only lasts for like an hour and then she bounces back and never has to sit in moments of darkness or doubt or dread or full-on weeks where her whole life feels like it doesn’t make sense…”

But, um, that’s never true.

No one’s life is like that.

And I don’t ever want to contribute to that idea or perpetuate that stereotype. I think it’s dangerous. And kind of stupid. Everyones goes through their stuff, and no one has it all figured out. And when we pretend that there’s some upper echelon of human beings who just know what to do all the time, who only have squeaky-clean feelings and zero problems, it creates all this icky distance between us and our own messy lives. We feel “less than” for having issues. It just feeds and breeds shame and self-judgment.

But I promise you, Tony Robbins and Brene Brown go through their shit just like everyone else. And I am definitely no Tony/Brene, so I can fully admit that certain aspects of my life don’t seem to make any sense at the moment! That’s okay. I’m making my way through it, bit-by-bit, one step at a time.

And I know that you are making your way through your own nonsensical stuff, too. And as much as I know you will get through it, that you will make sense of it all, honey-baby it’s going to be GOLD, please don’t worry --

I also understand completely if right now it feels like a little bit of a shitshow.

Sometimes life just gets shitshow-y. Sometimes life has to, so she can wake us up and shake us up to get us going in a new, better direction.

So please don’t ever feel alone in your space of in-between. Don’t buy into the idea that you’re the only one going through something hard, or that you’re never going to find your way out of the mess.

Maybe it’s supposed to feel messy right now. Maybe you’re just cleaning house. I remember when I Marie Kondo’d half my apartment in the Spring (remember when we were all Marie Kond-ing?), there was a point in the middle where I looked around at my many piles of stuff, thinking, “THIS ISN’T WORKING -- I’m just making a bigger mess! I should’ve just left it the way it was. Fuck you Marie Kondo! Nothing sparks joy!”

But it was working.

There were just tons of random papers and un-opened mail and old sweaters and junky shoes and ancient nail polish that I had to sift through and sort out before I could make sense of it all and see (and feel!) the difference.

And it was better, after the fact.

Life, and liminal space, is a lot like that too.

There’s all of this deep stuff to sift through and sort out. Beliefs, fears, old ways of being, relationships, ideas about who you are/were, big choices to make, things to let go of…sometimes it feels like you’re drowning in all of it. Or just barely treading water. I get it. (Even all these mixed metaphors are overwhelming, right?)

But you can’t roll over and die in overwhelm when you’re the in middle. I couldn’t just live with all those piles of random shit taking up space in my studio apartment; that would have been silly.

Because you can’t stop when you’re in the middle. You have to keep going.

And even though we all do it, it doesn’t work to judge being in the middle, either. To think you shouldn’t be there, or you’ll never get out of it, or it will always be like this forever and ever.

Lies. All of it.

Listen, you don’t have to like or love the middle, but maybe you (and I) just need to be here right now.

So can we soften into it, for just a minute? Want to hang out here and get sorta cozy in the middle with me? I mean if we have to be here, why not?

The messy middle is just as good a place to be as anywhere else. And it’s okay for things not to make sense. And we don’t always have to know exactly what’s gong on, or have it all together, or be all fake and squeaky-clean-like.

It’s funny — I don’t even know how to end this post, which is so lovely and fitting, because I don’t have any kind of ending just yet.

I have yet to acquire any sort of metaphorical bow that will neatly wrap up this in-between phase of my life, or this rambling post, so I can finally make sense of it all.

It’s the divine wink — “Oh, you want a nice, neat ending? You’re waiting for a bow? Okay. Just keep going.”

So I’m keeping going. And surrendering like a motherfucker. And letting go.

And allowing things to be unfinished for now.

Sometimes, that’s all we can do.

xo Amy

Amy Young13 Comments