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September 19, 2021

Living in the “In-Between”: 5 Tips for Coping in the Present.

“You do not have to know where you are going to be headed in the right direction.”

 

Yesterday, while packing, I found this on an old slip of paper from a fortune cookie.

And I thought—if this isn’t past me trying to relay a message to present me by smacking me in the face, I don’t know what is.

In a weird way, I feel we are all currently being smacked in the face by our past selves. We’ve all been thrown into a state of deep limbo, collectively, and I don’t think anyone on this earth knows up from down, or where we’re going, or what we truly want, or even what the outcome will be.

It’s a really scary f*cking place to be.
In the middle.
In the “in-between.”

I don’t claim to be anyone who is qualified to write a how-to column.

What I do know for sure is that I am in the deepest “in-between” I have ever been in my whole life. Geographically, with a temporary move that is likely-maybe to become permanent; emotionally, with the passing of my mother from COVID-19 related complications and the birth of my second child all in a matter of months; physically, as I recover from childbirth and some related complications.

And on a more collective note, an election that has made history in the most notorious way, which is somehow also still stuck in the “in-between.” The global pandemic that is still ravaging our people even though they’ve seemed to have miraculously forgotten it, and a vaccine that seems to also be in a quasi-limbo.

Did I mention my pending results from a Covid test? Because it may or may not be a daycare cold like it used to be—way back in 2019.

Oh, and also, it’s that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas where we are all panicked anyway under normal circumstances—add that fuel to the fire.

All at the same time, none of us even know if it’s March or December or Wednesday—or just a nightmare.

The bumper sticker for 2020 should just read “what the f*ck.”

The passing of my mother through all this has made me question the impermanence and the unknown of it all. It has shed some blinding light on living in limbo, and as I reach into my bag of tricks full of yoga, magic, witchcraft, and quotes from “Schitt’s Creek,” I find clarity on how to live, really live, in, and through this “in-between” that we are all currently sharing, like a big cosmic carrot cake. Or mud pie.

Here is where my research has brought me so far:

1. Find the moments where the light shines in just right through your windows.

There is a brief moment in time in my current house when the sun is beginning to rise, and the light shines in through every single crack and crevice in the shutters and in between the door frames. The house looks like it’s glowing amber and I swear I don’t do mushrooms, not even in micro-doses.

It’s just the magic of timing and light and the universe providing the most beautiful moment of instant understanding of who and what we are on this earth. Fragments of light. Each one of us. I sit and breathe that moment in whenever I am lucky enough to catch it. I lose focus on what the outcome will be in my life. I just sit—in complete stillness where the earth stops spinning and I am engulfed by the present moment.

And the rest—the Covid, the money, the president, the life, the death, the “what the f*ck am I doing with my life”—it all dissipates. It’s what I imagine Buddhist monks to feel like all the time, minus the robe, and the silence. Lord knows I can’t be silent.

These moments are the ones that set our souls on fire. They light the spark. They make us realize that we are all floating around without a clue. Always—even way before the pandemic. These moments are life; everything else is just an illusion.

2. Make lists.

Once your soul gets set on fire, if you’re anything like me, it’s hard to organize thoughts when they’re still stuck inside your head. Manifesting looks different for everyone. For me, it looks like a list. And when I make a list, I become the fire. I’m not kidding when I say that, literally, everything I’ve ever put on a list has come true.

It doesn’t matter what it is. If it has a one, two, or three in front of it, I am no longer shocked when it presents itself as my reality. Lists cause us to release thoughts from our internal dialogue and allow us to lose ourselves even if for a moment. I like to make lists of everything. Things I’m passionate about. Things I would do if I knew I wouldn’t fail. Things I love. Things I want, even if they seem outrageous. Things I need to do. Things I’ve done.

Once things are written or spoken, they become tangible, in my mind. This becomes important during this “in-between” time when all we really know for sure is what has happened in the past. Lists provide us with the future we need to put a plan in motion. This goes without saying, that simply writing something down is not always enough. We need to put in the work. Energy for energy; it’s how the universe operates.

3. Take action. Keep moving.

Do you know all the lists you just made? Find the items that pull the hardest on your heartstrings and take action. Roll out a yoga mat, paint that painting of Frida Kahlo that may end up looking more like Michael Jackson, read that book, start a fundraiser for a cause near and dear to your heart, or keep it simple.

Be of service. Write a love letter. Call the girl—or boy. Do a face mask. Condition your hair. Just keep moving, shaking, breathing, stepping outside of that comfort zone. There is only one box we should stay in, and that’s for after our souls have departed. Souls are not meant to be contained.

If we continue to think outside the box, we become productive, even in the tiniest of ways. Teeny tiny bits of productivity fill the “in-between” in ways that lead us to the outcome we are all waiting for. It’s hard to detach from the result of the outcome, but once we truly realize that the present moment is all we have, the result of the outcome becomes irrelevant. That irrelevance comes from action, as ironic as that may seem.

In yoga, we like to refer to this as Aparigraha. It is the last Yama, or moral guidelines by which to live, with regard to our place in this world, in Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga. The most simple way to explain the meaning of Aparigraha is nonattachment. As easy as it may sound, it is the hardest task for humans to complete, in my opinion. The act of letting go is the most freeing, yet the most deceitfully difficult. Reward yourself and your teeny tiny bits of productivity by releasing the grip on the outcome.

4. Trust.

This one is pretty self-explanatory, yet also quite difficult. I don’t care if it’s written in lipstick on every mirror in the house, or tattoo it on your forehead. Trust that the universe always has your back, especially when it makes no sense to you at all. Some call it faith. Others call it divine intervention. Whatever you want to call it, just call it. Everything is placed in your path for a specific reason, and the outcome will be in your favor. Eventually. Trust me.

5. Turn off the news.

No explanation is needed at all for this one. Turn off the news. And watch Schitt’s Creek instead if you haven’t already.

Stay educated, research with sources you trust, but for the love of Ganesha, turn off the damn news.

All in all,
we are getting through this “in-between.”
Together.

We are almost to the other side.
And that’s pretty awesome.
So keep going.

At the very least, I invite you to at least try to live here for the moment, find the spark, become the fire.

If you look around, there really is a ton of magic here.
See if you can challenge yourself to see it and make the most of it.

“Like life, when you know that there’s an end to it. It makes the in-between feel meaningful and you feel like you’ve got to make the most of it.” ~ Noah Reid, on filming Schitt’s Creek.

~

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