March 11, 2016

Free Falling: the Limbo of Not Knowing.

water flow float kayak boat

The last tiny bit of perceivable stable ground fades into the horizon as I loosen my grip.

Suddenly my line of tether disappears. Night falls quickly. The wind dances with the waves as they crash relentlessly against the flimsy edges of my only sense of security.

I am carried farther and farther out into uncharted waters…

I look back, in hopes of securing my need for something tangible—something to grasp on to. There is no life jacket aboard. I am entirely alone. I have severed all ties with Point A, the past 28 years of my married life, to embark on an expedition toward Point B, an unfamiliar destination.

I feel my heart breathing a mixture of fear and loss. Tears of black mascara run down my cheeks. My mind slips into the foreground and takes control. I stoically wipe my tears away. There must be a map hidden somewhere on this tiny vessel!

My heart sinks in hopelessness. In all the busyness of planning my departure, I carelessly forgot that one important item—the map that would offer me a ‘’what’s next?’’ plan and guide me safely to another shore.

Without a map or game-plan at hand, I find myself here—with myself, right here, right now—with nowhere to go, just thrown about in the waters of raw uncomfortableness. It is raw because there is no knowing of what, where, when or how.

I am dead center in no man’s land, and it is a seriously vulnerable place to be.

In the past, I have eagerly welcomed risk and change. Jumping has always been easy because my ”what’s next?” plan hid safely in the bottom of my shirt pocket. Maybe you will tell me that having a plan isn’t such a sure thing after all, and that it offers no more than a false sense of security. Still, we like our plans and rarely leave home without them.

Back to the present moment…

This time is different—very different. Why? Because my life before had become my security blanket—my identity.

If I jump—if I sail out to high seas without a plan—who will I be? Who will I become? The only given is that I no longer want to return to Point A, even if there is a risk of never encountering Point B.

I hear fear and doubt calling my name, and we take the risk together. We free fall into nothingness, eyes wide open. In mid-air, everything appears to slow down. I watch. I feel. My senses are prickly. I feel alive.

Being in limbo is being in transition, and transition is always present—always happening—we just don’t realize it. With fascination and a closer look, we notice that there is always a beginning, a middle and an end to all. At any given moment, we are always between two things, whether it be two holidays, two jobs, two relationships or something as simple as the inhale and exhale.

It is painful to cut ties with the past when we can’t secure the future. This is transition. This is life. This is authentically living. Things come and go, and yet—we seem to have a painfully difficult time accepting the truth of impermanence.

We refuge in the erroneous idea that things will last forever if we cling to them with all our might, and we surprisingly suffer when they inevitably dissolve. Whether it be an experience, a taste, a relationship or grandma’s crystal vase—nothing is permanent.

When we come to the harsh realization that clinging doesn’t secure the life span of what we desire, we resolve in making things solid with our minds. This is the mind’s way of struggling for security. But if we take a deeper look and wake up, it becomes apparent that everything is in perpetual movement. Our relationships evolve and sometimes dissolve. Food perishes, plants wilt, and no matter how many pictures we take to capture pleasurable moments, those too will fade into memory, and memory will soon fade into loss.

Ironically, knowing exactly where we are going and where we will land might offer us a sense of direction and security, but it’s a misguided one. The ”etched in stone plan” equally provides us a boxed-in, limited viewpoint with only one possibility. Being nakedly available to the unfolding of not knowing seems scary for the mind, but in turn, it opens an ocean of endless opportunities for the heart and soul.

From that place of knowing and accepting that nothing lasts, we can develop faith—faith in the evolution of life. When things aren’t going the way you fancy, know that this too will pass and blossom into something else.

In the same breath, when you love the present moment, love it thoroughly and remember this will pass too and expand into something else. We don’t need to hold on to it. Let it go and trust in the process of life.

We can dance with the flow with humble faith and surrender to the blossoming of every new second. We just have to keep reminding ourselves that everything is constantly shifting, changing and growing—and without transformation, nothing can survive.

The golden sun peaks above the hazy horizon like a lotus flower surfacing from its muddy origins. I turn to catch one last glimpse of what was. I can no longer see Point A—it is a thing of the past.

Before me lays an open sea of unchartered waters of an untold story with infinite possibilities. With faith, I open my eyes wide open and flow in the current of transition—the limbo of not knowing.


Author: Jessica Magnin

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Unsplash/Noah Rosenfield

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