I’ve been focusing heavily lately on what I put out to the world professionally. My website has never been a good indicator of what I actually do, so I rebuilt it. In conversations I’ve tended to talk more about what my work is not, so I am being intentional about talking only about what it is that I do. Even friends have been surprised sometimes when I have talked about a professional goal that they never even realized was on my radar. So I’ve been amping up the intentions, getting clear within myself, and putting a much bolder statement out to the world. And as a consequence I find that I am in the midst of transition: Movement away from what I’ve always done a lot of and toward what I have always wanted to do more of.
As with any transition process I now find myself deep in what has been called, the Neutral Zone. I know it well for I’ve been here many times. I even wrote my dissertation about others’ experiences of it. Defined by some as the “dark night of the soul,” the neutral zone is best characterized as that empty sort of place that comes upon us following a major change in our lives and before there is much clarity about what comes next.
In my case the professional work I am leaving behind is crumbling faster than I am comfortable with, set in process by my shift in energy towards something new through my intention of making a change, while what I am building still feels elusive. It’s a dark place for sure — visually in my mind as well as in how it feels. Others can’t really be here with me; most would even have a hard time understanding where I am. There’s not much that I can do but hold the faith and keep on going, knowing that whether I can see what is ahead is of no consequence. I know where I am, and this moment and the experience it brings forth to me is all that there is. The gifts are in that experience, whether it feels that way or not.
No doubt you have been in the neutral zone many times. It alway begins with an ending; usually the ending of something that in and of itself is life-changing: The loss of a job, the death of a loved one, a major move, or a career shift. And it always ends with a new beginning: A new job, new relationships, settling in to a new place, or a new career. The ending might be something you plan, as is my case this time around, but oftentimes the ending is thrust upon you. No matter. The process, and the end result, is always the same.
Rather than being a place filled with fear and uncertainty, the neutral zone is–often deceptively–a place of great learning. It is rich with opportunities to confront and work through inner “stuff”, the getting through of which takes you closer and closer to who you are. It is a place of transformation the likes of which can happen in no other way. Despite the pain and doubt and impulse to run back to the way things were before–and people do often circumvent the process and run back–the neutral zone is a place that holds the key to what living in to your life is all about.
Keep on keepin’ on, and you will be transformed! Let it flow. Let it flow through you, rather than you trying to get through it. Read the signposts you find. Do what they inspire you to do.
What transitions are you in? Are you contemplating making one? What will keep you moving through your transition (or, as I prefer to say, what will keep you allowing it to move through you)? Can you have faith that no matter how alone you feel or how dark it gets that if you “keep on keepin’ on,” transformation of the deepest kind is the only possible outcome?
With Blessings and Gratitude,
from Santa Fe, New Mexico