First Installment of 'In the Meantime'

Life is a series of thoughts and feelings and memories and experiences fused together with all our senses and connecting the dots so we can have a coherent way of understanding us and what is going on all around us. It is at once, a complex system and also very simple; yet complicated to put together. Life has the possibility of great joy and happiness and learning and growth. Getting it is not easy. We have to negotiate through so many situations and experiences; many of which are painful and difficult to get to the place of acceptance and joy and happiness. Such is the nature of life. I have often wondered about the times in life in which nothing is making sense and change is in the air and yet where things are going and what is opening up for us is not clear. We all have so many of these times. This can translate to the times when we can see a job or career is ending or about to change and we are about to be let go or fired, and nothing has shown up to take its place. Or when we are transitioning to a new career or job and don't know what that will be; just know what is driving us from the inside is changing. Or when we are about to retire from years at a job or career and the next steps just aren't clear. Or when we are about to move to a new city and look for a new job and don't know what that will be or how the new city will be for us. Or, getting ready to go to school, but it doesn't start for 6 months, so what do we do until... There are so many examples of these times in our lives, that I coined them the meantime. We often say things to ourselves like, what do we do In the Meantime. I think that phrase often, and have heard others say it too: what do I do In the Meantime?  This little book is about just that, the meantime. It is a connecting the dots time in our lives. What is the next dot?  One of the things I do in my life when I am in one of those states of being, is I write, and I write poems, or I go for a walk with my dog, or I talk to my god, or I meditate or I go off into dreamland.  I thought I would share with you some of my ways of working with and dealing with the meantime. Imagine you are waiting for a very important phone call. You have applied to 3 schools and you have heard from two from which you have been rejected. You were supposed to hear by yesterday from the last school you really want to go to and haven't heard anything. You are in a meantime state of being. First of all breathe deeply into both your desire and into your fear. Which of the two holds the most weight for you? Does the feeling of desire feel heavy with want and anticipation, or does the fear feel the heaviest and carry the most weight? Be with the one that is the heaviest. Just be with it. If it is fear, ask yourself to elaborate on your fear….go deeper into the fear. Are you afraid of being rejected, or are you afraid of failing in some way, or are you afraid because maybe even though you want to go to school, you aren't ready yet and going scares you, or what? The fear can have as many possibilities as is true for you. Let whatever is true for you to come to the surface. The purpose here is to just give your fears some air and some light so you can understand the fear and also understand yourself better. When you have pinpointed your fears to the best of your ability, ask yourself where this fear takes you. Is there an old memory associated with it, or a memory of a story you heard from your parents; your association can go anywhere, just follow the thread. Did someone in your family really want something and then fail at it, for example? We are just following the thread and noticing where it takes us. We are suspending any judgments or any shame for now. When you have gone as far as you can with this exercise, relax and breathe into the insights that came to you. If nothing came to you, then nothing came to you right now. You have opened a door inside of you for something to come up into your awareness when you are ready for it. I then like to write down what I learned so I can go back to it and read my process as I need. The next step is to come back to the present and see if you feel as scared as you did before, or if you feel a little less anxious about hearing the results because the strength of the need or fear is a little less, or not. In my experience, most of the time the pressing need to hear now lessens after taking the time to listen to yourself. If you followed the thread of the desire the same process holds true for you. Explore the desire and explore your fears or concerns if you don't get in. What would you do, where would you go, etc., and what is associated with those feelings becomes important? Just let them surface as we did in the previous paragraph. And throughout this whole experience, breathe.  I remember when I was 18 years old and I was looking at schools I wanted to go to, there was only 1 that really spoke to me. I foolishly applied to only that one school. I didn't get in, and I was thrown. I didn't have anyone in my life to guide me towards a more thorough process, and if I really explored my feelings back then, I wasn't really ready to go away to school, but I didn't consciously know that at the time. It wasn't until I was away at school and became very depressed that it became clear to me that I just wasn't ready to go away for school, nor did I have a clear idea as to what I really wanted to do. It took me going through a meantime process of going to a school, finding I fell into a deep hole and having to go back home for awhile in order to climb out of the whole,  for me to understand that truth about myself. One of my issues at the time was that I felt shame about my not being ready, so I couldn't see my fear until I took a step I wasn't ready for. My meantime process here took me a good year of being in the unknown until a good next step became clear to me. There is no hurrying our internal processes…. we have to let them guide us at their own speed. There was a time in my life when I knew dancing was not what I was going to do for my career anymore, but I didn't know what would take its place. I always loved to dance, and since the time I was  8 or 9 years old, I had dreamed and daydreamed of dancing. In my time, as a little girl, most girls didn't think of careers in dance in performing, they thought in terms of teaching dance or dancing as an avocation, not as a vocation. I loved to dance, and my time in dance class was the most important part of my day. I ate, drank and breathed dance. That was a time and place where my soul would fly. Looking back, I see how lucky I was to have had that experience of feeling my soul in my body and recognizing how it felt to be in tune with my essence, and that which made feel so alive.  Since most girls couldn't imagine a career as a dancer, being raised as I was by very patriarchal parents, my dreams were more in line with being married, having children, and dancing every day in dance class. I couldn't imagine a life without dance. Now, here I was, nearing 30, old for a dancer, and recognizing I couldn't continue teaching, dancing and choreographing the way I was for much longer without great consequence to my body, which was my livelihood. I saw an end in sight of this chapter of my life and had no idea what else I would do which would support me and also give me great satisfaction. I was In the Meantime between careers. I was in a never-never land I had never before imagined. I needed a job to support myself as I went through this crisis. What I did was to go to a short training to become a travel agent as I worked through my next steps. During that time I also had just recently broken up with a boyfriend of 7 years who had just become a chiropractor and was currently dating a young man who was in chiropractic school. I had been going to chiropractors for years for maintenance and to help with dance injuries through many years of hours a day of dance and practice. I didn't consciously think anything of this. In fact, I never considered being a doctor of any kind as I hadn't taken a science class in years, and didn't consider myself good at the sciences. Somehow I had the wherewithal to know that I had to let my unconscious unwind and work things out as I consciously worked and played a fun game of racquetball In the Meantime. I always knew I had wanted to be of service in some way in my career….never knew what that would mean. One night, after about two years of In the Meantime I had a dream in which a loud voice spoke to me in no uncertain terms and told me that they didn't know what my problem was; I was going to be a chiropractor. I woke up immediately, very excited. I went to a large park and took a long walk where I decided I would take a chemistry class at night and if I passed, I would go for it, and go to chiropractic school. That is exactly what I did. I passed chemistry, met my first husband in chemistry class, decided to take accelerated classes to complete my pre-requisites, and started chiropractic school about a year later. My meantime was a very powerful time of incubation while I birthed my next career.  In the meantime can be exactly that, a time of incubation while something new bubbles up out of the unconscious to take root in your life. In those cases, it is important to allow yourself the time and space to let something grow underground in the faith that something you have sewed will make itself known to you. It is very much like planting bulbs in the fall, and seeing what has taken root and comes up in the spring. And it is a great joy to see the new flowers that you had planted, and maybe even forgotten about, to bloom forth in the spring in their colorful beauty. This is the beauty of our souls when we allow them to flower into being.   Poem of Life I woke up this morning to a clear day The morning sunlight piercing through my early morning dreams Looking out through my window of time I witness the opening of the budding trees, as they gracefully and trustingly open to the gods of nature Each tree and bloom and unfolding is a  winking of their eyes at me and the world Their silent social network greets the day and smiles at each other Full of mischief and beauty they collude to their daily opening and gifts Each day a further revealing of their inner workings and beauty Until one day soon, they are fully unfurled Joyfully contributing their essence to the web of life itself And I just an active witness and contributor   In the meantime, times can be embedded in the small moments of each day as well as in the larger period of times in our lives. Think of the times we have a date later in the day and may not have much planned for us earlier. Or the times when we have to be at work at 1:00 p.m. and it is 9:00 a.m. and we don't know how best to use our time. Or when our children are finally all napping and what do we do with our time, not knowing how long this will last. There are so many little examples of daily In the Meantime. In these cases are we looking at how we can be useful or purposeful during those times, or are we just wanting time to pass quickly, or are we trying to quickly get our chores done... the choice is ours. As a child, I have so many memories of long, blank feeling days, and wondering what I could do before dinner. Mom fixes dinner, mom cleans the house, I have no plans with friends or activities, and what do I do? I remember those days as being so long and taking forever. In my house, as I was growing up, my mom had four children within 6 years of each other. She was overwhelmed and her time and energy were taken up with daily chores, feeling depressed, taking care of who needs her help or is in crisis so she wasn't available to me often in the way I needed or wanted. I felt at a loss, with little direction. I can remember doing things to fill up the time, and just helplessly waiting for dinner. This was a long In the Meantime. What do I do to fill out my day... Many children have experienced such as above. Time seems to take forever when we have little or no control over our days. What I would have given to had had an agenda, or some direction…..but I didn't. What I learned from those times is how to be creative and find things to do which keeps my mind and body active. I felt better when I was active, so I would take my family dog for a walk, or take a bike ride or read a book or play with my dolls.  I would also get lost in my imagination and imagine what I was going to do when I grew up and I would watch movies on television on occasion which often inspired me. The movies that were popular during my young years were the movies with Shirley Temple who sang and danced her way through the movies. Now as I look back on those times I think those old movies helped to give me the idea that I wanted to learn to dance. My parents grew up during the Great Depression and they didn't think about dance lessons, they grew up with outdoor sports as their proclivities. These long periods of time helped me to find on my own my budding love for dance. I didn't realize it at that time, but looking back, they certainly shaped my desire to dance and to be in the theatre in some sense. I find that those In the Meantime have the potential to help us to have the downtime to go inside of us and to find things we didn't know we had or were even capable of. They help us to grow and develop different parts of ourselves. And on the other hand, I have seen many people who use those times to just sit and watch television and develop the couch potato mentality. I have watched people just check out, yet the opportunity is there for us to use those times unconsciously and well as consciously to be inspired, to integrate parts of us, to get the courage to try something new, and so on.  An example of In the meantimes embedded in the mundane times throughout the day is this.  You have a date that evening you are looking forward to, and 3 or 4 hours until it is even time to get ready for your date. What do you do with yourself? Can you focus enough to get some things done that need to get done such as grocery shopping, house cleaning, and planning and organizing for work? If you can't, can you take a long walk or go for a workout to focus your mind on something else? And if you can't, what do you do? Can you make this time a meaningful time or not... just a wishing time would move fast kind of time?  This is another opportunity to learn how to just be or be with yourself. Imagine if in this type of instance you could feel fitful and restless, and yet still find a way to be with your mind and pay attention to where your mind goes and what you are thinking about as well as how you are thinking about the impending date. The person you are dating is relatively new to you and you are excited about him/her. Can you stay in the present and feel the excitement and anticipation as you go about your day? Do you find your mind wandering and going into the future to how it would be to be married to this person and how your name would sound if you are a woman? Along those lines, if you have children, imagining how he or she would be with your children? Do you find yourself feeling anxious because you carry scars from previous relationships, including the first primary one if your life, the one with your parents?  This period of In the Meantime could be a fantastic time to notice where your thoughts go and to be with them without judgment or shame. It is too common for us to experience feelings from early woundings of not being good enough, of feeling stupid, of feeling the need to be a shapeshifter and go along with another to please them because maybe we are afraid of being alone and being hurt; afraid there is something wrong with us in some fundamental way. Maybe we haven't learned yet that what good is it for us to please another if we lose ourselves in the process?  As we notice these thought patterns and feelings making their appearance it is a great time to welcome them in instead of shooing them away. Usually, as people, we tend to shoo away thoughts and feelings we don't like rather than to welcome them in to learn more about them and to learn from them.  We could notice our thoughts, welcome them, and hold all the thoughts we are having regarding our new relationship at the same time. We don't have to let only one thought in; the one we like, for example, or the one we are most afraid of. Instead, we could notice and hold all of them, because, at that moment of time, all are true for us. I find that when we can do that, hold all our thoughts that are circling our mind and body, and bring them closer to us, slowly something new can emerge. As we bring our thoughts closer together so all of them recognize each other, something new has an opportunity to begin to show itself. Maybe the most fearful one begins to ease and the thoughts regarding the possibilities come more to the surface. As we breathe into these thoughts and feelings they begin to find a new place within us and something changes, sometimes ever so slowly, and sometimes more quickly.  Here we have used the meantime as a way to get to know us better and we have more of our resources with us as we go into our date. It is like having a date with ourselves because we have a date with another.  Exercise: This exercise is one I use with myself and with my patients quite frequently. Take a moment and find a place where you won't be interrupted. Sit down and place your feet in front of you on the ground where you can feel the strength of the ground beneath you. Begin to breathe slowly and deeply. As you breathe, imagine yourself breathing into your center, wherever your center is within your body and self. Feel the air ebbing and flowing inside of you. Go to a place inside of you that might be asking for your attention. It could be feeling restless or uncomfortable or even a feeling of tight or tense muscles or areas. Just let it know that you see it. Now begin to imagine a situation coming up for you in your present life. This could involve anyone or anything that is true for you. In this scenario coming to your awareness, allow all the thoughts and feelings you have to be expressed.  If many are coming to the fore at one time, let them know you are here and will listen to them all; they all have a chance to be heard, even the ones you aren't comfortable with. Open your center to them all if you can. If you can't at this time, then just notice them, and notice it is hard for you to let them all have a voice in your center. Maybe then let them find wherever place in you they can feel safe enough to be heard. Listen to them all, or all that let themselves be known to you at this time. Tell them it is ok to have these thoughts and feelings and that you would like to get to know them better….even if it is a little at a time. Breathe into all your voices and feelings and just notice them as you breathe into them. Some may fade, some may get stronger, some stay the same, and here we are just noticing. Ask if there is something they would like you to know and if you can, just listen. You may not hear anything, and you feel something, or you see a color, anything is possible. Just take it in, and if you aren't aware of anything at this time, that is good too. Tell them you will be back to listen tomorrow or next Sunday, or whenever feels like you truly can come back to this exercise to visit them all. Begin to notice your breath and become aware of your body and slowly open your eyes.  I recommend taking 5 minutes or so and writing down anything meaningful that came to you or writing down your experience in general. Do this again when you had promised yourself that you would. In this exercise, there is no right and wrong, just an opportunity to listen.  Today I stopped by Starbucks to get a coffee and to do some work. I love to go to coffee shops and sit and relax and read or write and think. It is the intimate work surrounded by people whom I don't know that somehow feels like a good embrace from which to work. As I was there recently I noticed that this particular shop was going to offer curbside service and it is not a drive-through establishment. I wondered how they were going to do this well as it is a busy shop. I asked one of the baristas how this was going to work for them. Her answer was interesting. I bring this up here because it is a different take on the period of In the Meantime that I am so entranced by. She said that eventually, they would hire one person who just did the curbside service and the others would then be able to continue to do the work as usual without more stress on them. I asked her how busy it was now, and she indicated it was not utilized much as yet. So for now, they don't have an extra person to do that new function and they all have to pitch in and do the extra job. She said she couldn't wait for them to get busy enough to hire that extra help, and that for now, In the Meantime, they would all share the extra work together. As I thought about this, that meant for them, they would all have to get extremely busy to merit the extra help.  In the meantime, they would be stressed and hassled before the help could come and they could more easily offer this extra service. I thought about this and realized this meantime period of time was the opposite of many I write about and have previously thought of. This period of time was a more stressful time where they were all in a meantime of building the new business and getting very busy before help could come and ease their way. As I continued to think about this I realized that this is true of building anything new. It takes a lot of work, mental and physical effort and time to start anything new. There is a very busy and industrious period of time before things can begin to ease into a routine and kind of success which helps to make us all feel more secure. This is a meantime of building something where more extreme resources are needed before we feel secure enough to ease into a new way of working, or a successful business or getting a new venture off the ground. In the meantime, we will work very hard until... we can relax. In the Starbucks case, until they had enough new business to hire an extra person to help the collective.  I love these transitional periods of time. They are so interesting but rarely easy. It is these times that again, are about our growth. I listened to a 3-minute talk today given by a man describing very eloquently the process of being and feeling confused. Most of us think of feeling confused as a negative experience because it is a difficult one, and one where we can often feel kind of stupid. At least that is how our minds speak to us; calling us names like stupid. He described a beautiful reframe of confusion. Our brains can feel confused but what is really happening is they are beginning to understand something new. It is at this precise time of beginning an understanding that isn't quite there yet where we feel what we call confusion. In the reframe what we should really call this is in process of learning. We are in process of learning and putting together or integrating new concepts. I guess we could even call this period of processing another In the Meantime period of time. What we are doing in these time periods are beginning to process something new and unknown. I love going to sleep at night as much because I am tired and look forward to my rest as well as the fact that  I love dreams and dreaming. I look forward to my dreams. I experience them as my other life. They can be just as vibrant and alive as my waking life. Many of the dreams I don't remember but I do remember my feelings I experience in the morning when I wake up. As I was listening to a patient talk the other day I realized that dreams are also an example of In the Meantime. This patient was describing a dream she had had the other night. For this purpose, the content of the dream itself isn't as important as what is occurring behind the scenes.  As I was listening to her describe her dream I was also hearing how the dream itself described the inner process of her unconscious. Her unconscious was aware of an understanding deepening within her that her conscious-self was not. She did not know the growth that was happening to her and instead thought the dream was showing her the same old story all over again. In fact, her dream was showing her that a part of her she is not aware of as yet is beginning to lighten and soften. In her waking world, she does not know the changes taking place. Her actions in her waking world are beginning to show a change that she hadn't yet registered until I mentioned them to her. Then she was able to see a change taking place…..she is In the Meantime of consciousness, so to speak. As she is working on herself, she is experiencing her life consciously as another aspect of her is busy at work behind the scenes. In the meantime of her self-work, she is developing and growing new relationships to herself. I had not thought of this aspect of In the Meantime until the other day. As we are busy living our lives, other parts of us we aren't fully aware of are working on things we would really like for ourselves…until presto, they begin to manifest. For us, it can feel like suddenly we have a new awareness, or suddenly we find ourselves making different decisions or doing something we would not have done previously. This sudden feeling is a manifestation of an undercurrent of our inner work and soul work that actually has taken quite some time. What is swimming in the currents of our unconscious become manifest in a way we can't ignore when they are ready. It is a way of being in the stream of life and the meantime without us being aware it is going on.  Take a minute an imagine something you would really like for yourself. I am not referring to a new car or a new house, I am referring to something you are working on inside of you. This could be developing more courage, or changing parts of a people-pleasing tendency, or learning to be less judgmental or critical of yourself, and so on. Now before you go to sleep, say to yourself what you would like and that you would like to resolve something or have some insights into something or would like to understand something in you, etc. Then ask for assistance and begin breathing deeply until you get very relaxed or you go to sleep. Do this every night for two weeks. If you like, keep a notebook by your side to write down a dream when you awake. In the morning write down what you remember. If you don't remember anything, write down a feeling or a thought that comes up for you. It may not make sense at the time, and that is ok; that is your unconscious talking to you. This is a way you can use dreams to wake yourself up.

Life is a series of thoughts and feelings and memories and experiences fused together with all our senses and connecting the dots so we can have a coherent way of understanding us and what is going on all around us. It is at once, a complex system and also very simple; yet complicated to put together. Life has the possibility of great joy and happiness and learning and growth. Getting it is not easy. We have to negotiate through so many situations and experiences; many of which are painful and difficult to get to the place of acceptance and joy and happiness. Such is the nature of life.
I have often wondered about the times in life in which nothing is making sense and change is in the air and yet where things are going and what is opening up for us is not clear. We all have so many of these times. This can translate to the times when we can see a job or career is ending or about to change and we are about to be let go or fired, and nothing has shown up to take its place. Or when we are transitioning to a new career or job and don't know what that will be; just know what is driving us from the inside is changing. Or when we are about to retire from years at a job or career and the next steps just aren't clear. Or when we are about to move to a new city and look for a new job and don't know what that will be or how the new city will be for us. Or, getting ready to go to school, but it doesn't start for 6 months, so what do we do until...
There are so many examples of these times in our lives, that I coined them the meantime. We often say things to ourselves like, what do we do In the Meantime. I think that phrase often, and have heard others say it too: what do I do In the Meantime? 
This little book is about just that, the meantime. It is a connecting the dots time in our lives. What is the next dot? 
One of the things I do in my life when I am in one of those states of being, is I write, and I write poems, or I go for a walk with my dog, or I talk to my god, or I meditate or I go off into dreamland.  I thought I would share with you some of my ways of working with and dealing with the meantime.
Imagine you are waiting for a very important phone call. You have applied to 3 schools and you have heard from two from which you have been rejected. You were supposed to hear by yesterday from the last school you really want to go to and haven't heard anything. You are in a meantime state of being. First of all breathe deeply into both your desire and into your fear. Which of the two holds the most weight for you? Does the feeling of desire feel heavy with want and anticipation, or does the fear feel the heaviest and carry the most weight? Be with the one that is the heaviest. Just be with it. If it is fear, ask yourself to elaborate on your fear….go deeper into the fear. Are you afraid of being rejected, or are you afraid of failing in some way, or are you afraid because maybe even though you want to go to school, you aren't ready yet and going scares you, or what? The fear can have as many possibilities as is true for you. Let whatever is true for you to come to the surface. The purpose here is to just give your fears some air and some light so you can understand the fear and also understand yourself better. When you have pinpointed your fears to the best of your ability, ask yourself where this fear takes you. Is there an old memory associated with it, or a memory of a story you heard from your parents; your association can go anywhere, just follow the thread. Did someone in your family really want something and then fail at it, for example? We are just following the thread and noticing where it takes us. We are suspending any judgments or any shame for now. When you have gone as far as you can with this exercise, relax and breathe into the insights that came to you. If nothing came to you, then nothing came to you right now. You have opened a door inside of you for something to come up into your awareness when you are ready for it. I then like to write down what I learned so I can go back to it and read my process as I need. The next step is to come back to the present and see if you feel as scared as you did before, or if you feel a little less anxious about hearing the results because the strength of the need or fear is a little less, or not. In my experience, most of the time the pressing need to hear now lessens after taking the time to listen to yourself.
If you followed the thread of the desire the same process holds true for you. Explore the desire and explore your fears or concerns if you don't get in. What would you do, where would you go, etc., and what is associated with those feelings becomes important? Just let them surface as we did in the previous paragraph. And throughout this whole experience, breathe. 
I remember when I was 18 years old and I was looking at schools I wanted to go to, there was only 1 that really spoke to me. I foolishly applied to only that one school. I didn't get in, and I was thrown. I didn't have anyone in my life to guide me towards a more thorough process, and if I really explored my feelings back then, I wasn't really ready to go away to school, but I didn't consciously know that at the time. It wasn't until I was away at school and became very depressed that it became clear to me that I just wasn't ready to go away for school, nor did I have a clear idea as to what I really wanted to do. It took me going through a meantime process of going to a school, finding I fell into a deep hole and having to go back home for awhile in order to climb out of the whole,  for me to understand that truth about myself. One of my issues at the time was that I felt shame about my not being ready, so I couldn't see my fear until I took a step I wasn't ready for. My meantime process here took me a good year of being in the unknown until a good next step became clear to me. There is no hurrying our internal processes…. we have to let them guide us at their own speed.
There was a time in my life when I knew dancing was not what I was going to do for my career anymore, but I didn't know what would take its place. I always loved to dance, and since the time I was  8 or 9 years old, I had dreamed and daydreamed of dancing. In my time, as a little girl, most girls didn't think of careers in dance in performing, they thought in terms of teaching dance or dancing as an avocation, not as a vocation. I loved to dance, and my time in dance class was the most important part of my day. I ate, drank and breathed dance. That was a time and place where my soul would fly. Looking back, I see how lucky I was to have had that experience of feeling my soul in my body and recognizing how it felt to be in tune with my essence, and that which made feel so alive. 
Since most girls couldn't imagine a career as a dancer, being raised as I was by very patriarchal parents, my dreams were more in line with being married, having children, and dancing every day in dance class. I couldn't imagine a life without dance. Now, here I was, nearing 30, old for a dancer, and recognizing I couldn't continue teaching, dancing and choreographing the way I was for much longer without great consequence to my body, which was my livelihood. I saw an end in sight of this chapter of my life and had no idea what else I would do which would support me and also give me great satisfaction. I was In the Meantime between careers. I was in a never-never land I had never before imagined. I needed a job to support myself as I went through this crisis. What I did was to go to a short training to become a travel agent as I worked through my next steps. During that time I also had just recently broken up with a boyfriend of 7 years who had just become a chiropractor and was currently dating a young man who was in chiropractic school. I had been going to chiropractors for years for maintenance and to help with dance injuries through many years of hours a day of dance and practice. I didn't consciously think anything of this. In fact, I never considered being a doctor of any kind as I hadn't taken a science class in years, and didn't consider myself good at the sciences.
Somehow I had the wherewithal to know that I had to let my unconscious unwind and work things out as I consciously worked and played a fun game of racquetball In the Meantime. I always knew I had wanted to be of service in some way in my career….never knew what that would mean. One night, after about two years of In the Meantime I had a dream in which a loud voice spoke to me in no uncertain terms and told me that they didn't know what my problem was; I was going to be a chiropractor. I woke up immediately, very excited. I went to a large park and took a long walk where I decided I would take a chemistry class at night and if I passed, I would go for it, and go to chiropractic school. That is exactly what I did. I passed chemistry, met my first husband in chemistry class, decided to take accelerated classes to complete my pre-requisites, and started chiropractic school about a year later. My meantime was a very powerful time of incubation while I birthed my next career. 
In the meantime can be exactly that, a time of incubation while something new bubbles up out of the unconscious to take root in your life. In those cases, it is important to allow yourself the time and space to let something grow underground in the faith that something you have sewed will make itself known to you. It is very much like planting bulbs in the fall, and seeing what has taken root and comes up in the spring. And it is a great joy to see the new flowers that you had planted, and maybe even forgotten about, to bloom forth in the spring in their colorful beauty. This is the beauty of our souls when we allow them to flower into being. 

Poem of Life
I woke up this morning to a clear day
The morning sunlight piercing through my early morning dreams
Looking out through my window of time I witness the opening of the budding trees, as they gracefully and trustingly open to the gods of nature
Each tree and bloom and unfolding is a  winking of their eyes at me and the world
Their silent social network greets the day and smiles at each other
Full of mischief and beauty they collude to their daily opening and gifts
Each day a further revealing of their inner workings and beauty
Until one day soon, they are fully unfurled
Joyfully contributing their essence to the web of life itself
And I just an active witness and contributor 

In the meantime, times can be embedded in the small moments of each day as well as in the larger period of times in our lives. Think of the times we have a date later in the day and may not have much planned for us earlier. Or the times when we have to be at work at 1:00 p.m. and it is 9:00 a.m. and we don't know how best to use our time. Or when our children are finally all napping and what do we do with our time, not knowing how long this will last. There are so many little examples of daily In the Meantime. In these cases are we looking at how we can be useful or purposeful during those times, or are we just wanting time to pass quickly, or are we trying to quickly get our chores done... the choice is ours.
As a child, I have so many memories of long, blank feeling days, and wondering what I could do before dinner. Mom fixes dinner, mom cleans the house, I have no plans with friends or activities, and what do I do? I remember those days as being so long and taking forever. In my house, as I was growing up, my mom had four children within 6 years of each other. She was overwhelmed and her time and energy were taken up with daily chores, feeling depressed, taking care of who needs her help or is in crisis so she wasn't available to me often in the way I needed or wanted. I felt at a loss, with little direction. I can remember doing things to fill up the time, and just helplessly waiting for dinner. This was a long In the Meantime. What do I do to fill out my day...
Many children have experienced such as above. Time seems to take forever when we have little or no control over our days. What I would have given to had had an agenda, or some direction…..but I didn't. What I learned from those times is how to be creative and find things to do which keeps my mind and body active. I felt better when I was active, so I would take my family dog for a walk, or take a bike ride or read a book or play with my dolls.  I would also get lost in my imagination and imagine what I was going to do when I grew up and I would watch movies on television on occasion which often inspired me. The movies that were popular during my young years were the movies with Shirley Temple who sang and danced her way through the movies. Now as I look back on those times I think those old movies helped to give me the idea that I wanted to learn to dance. My parents grew up during the Great Depression and they didn't think about dance lessons, they grew up with outdoor sports as their proclivities. These long periods of time helped me to find on my own my budding love for dance. I didn't realize it at that time, but looking back, they certainly shaped my desire to dance and to be in the theatre in some sense.
I find that those In the Meantime have the potential to help us to have the downtime to go inside of us and to find things we didn't know we had or were even capable of. They help us to grow and develop different parts of ourselves. And on the other hand, I have seen many people who use those times to just sit and watch television and develop the couch potato mentality. I have watched people just check out, yet the opportunity is there for us to use those times unconsciously and well as consciously to be inspired, to integrate parts of us, to get the courage to try something new, and so on. 
An example of In the meantimes embedded in the mundane times throughout the day is this.  You have a date that evening you are looking forward to, and 3 or 4 hours until it is even time to get ready for your date. What do you do with yourself? Can you focus enough to get some things done that need to get done such as grocery shopping, house cleaning, and planning and organizing for work? If you can't, can you take a long walk or go for a workout to focus your mind on something else? And if you can't, what do you do? Can you make this time a meaningful time or not... just a wishing time would move fast kind of time? 
This is another opportunity to learn how to just be or be with yourself. Imagine if in this type of instance you could feel fitful and restless, and yet still find a way to be with your mind and pay attention to where your mind goes and what you are thinking about as well as how you are thinking about the impending date. The person you are dating is relatively new to you and you are excited about him/her. Can you stay in the present and feel the excitement and anticipation as you go about your day? Do you find your mind wandering and going into the future to how it would be to be married to this person and how your name would sound if you are a woman? Along those lines, if you have children, imagining how he or she would be with your children? Do you find yourself feeling anxious because you carry scars from previous relationships, including the first primary one if your life, the one with your parents? 
This period of In the Meantime could be a fantastic time to notice where your thoughts go and to be with them without judgment or shame. It is too common for us to experience feelings from early woundings of not being good enough, of feeling stupid, of feeling the need to be a shapeshifter and go along with another to please them because maybe we are afraid of being alone and being hurt; afraid there is something wrong with us in some fundamental way. Maybe we haven't learned yet that what good is it for us to please another if we lose ourselves in the process?  As we notice these thought patterns and feelings making their appearance it is a great time to welcome them in instead of shooing them away. Usually, as people, we tend to shoo away thoughts and feelings we don't like rather than to welcome them in to learn more about them and to learn from them. 
We could notice our thoughts, welcome them, and hold all the thoughts we are having regarding our new relationship at the same time. We don't have to let only one thought in; the one we like, for example, or the one we are most afraid of. Instead, we could notice and hold all of them, because, at that moment of time, all are true for us. I find that when we can do that, hold all our thoughts that are circling our mind and body, and bring them closer to us, slowly something new can emerge. As we bring our thoughts closer together so all of them recognize each other, something new has an opportunity to begin to show itself. Maybe the most fearful one begins to ease and the thoughts regarding the possibilities come more to the surface. As we breathe into these thoughts and feelings they begin to find a new place within us and something changes, sometimes ever so slowly, and sometimes more quickly. 
Here we have used the meantime as a way to get to know us better and we have more of our resources with us as we go into our date. It is like having a date with ourselves because we have a date with another. 
Exercise:
This exercise is one I use with myself and with my patients quite frequently. Take a moment and find a place where you won't be interrupted. Sit down and place your feet in front of you on the ground where you can feel the strength of the ground beneath you. Begin to breathe slowly and deeply. As you breathe, imagine yourself breathing into your center, wherever your center is within your body and self. Feel the air ebbing and flowing inside of you. Go to a place inside of you that might be asking for your attention. It could be feeling restless or uncomfortable or even a feeling of tight or tense muscles or areas. Just let it know that you see it. Now begin to imagine a situation coming up for you in your present life. This could involve anyone or anything that is true for you. In this scenario coming to your awareness, allow all the thoughts and feelings you have to be expressed.  If many are coming to the fore at one time, let them know you are here and will listen to them all; they all have a chance to be heard, even the ones you aren't comfortable with. Open your center to them all if you can. If you can't at this time, then just notice them, and notice it is hard for you to let them all have a voice in your center. Maybe then let them find wherever place in you they can feel safe enough to be heard. Listen to them all, or all that let themselves be known to you at this time. Tell them it is ok to have these thoughts and feelings and that you would like to get to know them better….even if it is a little at a time. Breathe into all your voices and feelings and just notice them as you breathe into them. Some may fade, some may get stronger, some stay the same, and here we are just noticing. Ask if there is something they would like you to know and if you can, just listen. You may not hear anything, and you feel something, or you see a color, anything is possible. Just take it in, and if you aren't aware of anything at this time, that is good too. Tell them you will be back to listen tomorrow or next Sunday, or whenever feels like you truly can come back to this exercise to visit them all. Begin to notice your breath and become aware of your body and slowly open your eyes. 
I recommend taking 5 minutes or so and writing down anything meaningful that came to you or writing down your experience in general. Do this again when you had promised yourself that you would. In this exercise, there is no right and wrong, just an opportunity to listen. 
Today I stopped by Starbucks to get a coffee and to do some work. I love to go to coffee shops and sit and relax and read or write and think. It is the intimate work surrounded by people whom I don't know that somehow feels like a good embrace from which to work. As I was there recently I noticed that this particular shop was going to offer curbside service and it is not a drive-through establishment. I wondered how they were going to do this well as it is a busy shop. I asked one of the baristas how this was going to work for them. Her answer was interesting. I bring this up here because it is a different take on the period of In the Meantime that I am so entranced by.
She said that eventually, they would hire one person who just did the curbside service and the others would then be able to continue to do the work as usual without more stress on them. I asked her how busy it was now, and she indicated it was not utilized much as yet. So for now, they don't have an extra person to do that new function and they all have to pitch in and do the extra job. She said she couldn't wait for them to get busy enough to hire that extra help, and that for now, In the Meantime, they would all share the extra work together. As I thought about this, that meant for them, they would all have to get extremely busy to merit the extra help. 
In the meantime, they would be stressed and hassled before the help could come and they could more easily offer this extra service. I thought about this and realized this meantime period of time was the opposite of many I write about and have previously thought of. This period of time was a more stressful time where they were all in a meantime of building the new business and getting very busy before help could come and ease their way. As I continued to think about this I realized that this is true of building anything new. It takes a lot of work, mental and physical effort and time to start anything new. There is a very busy and industrious period of time before things can begin to ease into a routine and kind of success which helps to make us all feel more secure. This is a meantime of building something where more extreme resources are needed before we feel secure enough to ease into a new way of working, or a successful business or getting a new venture off the ground. In the meantime, we will work very hard until... we can relax. In the Starbucks case, until they had enough new business to hire an extra person to help the collective. 
I love these transitional periods of time. They are so interesting but rarely easy. It is these times that again, are about our growth.
I listened to a 3-minute talk today given by a man describing very eloquently the process of being and feeling confused. Most of us think of feeling confused as a negative experience because it is a difficult one, and one where we can often feel kind of stupid. At least that is how our minds speak to us; calling us names like stupid. He described a beautiful reframe of confusion. Our brains can feel confused but what is really happening is they are beginning to understand something new. It is at this precise time of beginning an understanding that isn't quite there yet where we feel what we call confusion. In the reframe what we should really call this is in process of learning. We are in process of learning and putting together or integrating new concepts. I guess we could even call this period of processing another In the Meantime period of time. What we are doing in these time periods are beginning to process something new and unknown.
I love going to sleep at night as much because I am tired and look forward to my rest as well as the fact that  I love dreams and dreaming. I look forward to my dreams. I experience them as my other life. They can be just as vibrant and alive as my waking life. Many of the dreams I don't remember but I do remember my feelings I experience in the morning when I wake up. As I was listening to a patient talk the other day I realized that dreams are also an example of In the Meantime.
This patient was describing a dream she had had the other night. For this purpose, the content of the dream itself isn't as important as what is occurring behind the scenes.  As I was listening to her describe her dream I was also hearing how the dream itself described the inner process of her unconscious. Her unconscious was aware of an understanding deepening within her that her conscious-self was not. She did not know the growth that was happening to her and instead thought the dream was showing her the same old story all over again. In fact, her dream was showing her that a part of her she is not aware of as yet is beginning to lighten and soften. In her waking world, she does not know the changes taking place. Her actions in her waking world are beginning to show a change that she hadn't yet registered until I mentioned them to her. Then she was able to see a change taking place…..she is In the Meantime of consciousness, so to speak. As she is working on herself, she is experiencing her life consciously as another aspect of her is busy at work behind the scenes. In the meantime of her self-work, she is developing and growing new relationships to herself.
I had not thought of this aspect of In the Meantime until the other day. As we are busy living our lives, other parts of us we aren't fully aware of are working on things we would really like for ourselves…until presto, they begin to manifest. For us, it can feel like suddenly we have a new awareness, or suddenly we find ourselves making different decisions or doing something we would not have done previously. This sudden feeling is a manifestation of an undercurrent of our inner work and soul work that actually has taken quite some time. What is swimming in the currents of our unconscious become manifest in a way we can't ignore when they are ready. It is a way of being in the stream of life and the meantime without us being aware it is going on. 
Take a minute an imagine something you would really like for yourself. I am not referring to a new car or a new house, I am referring to something you are working on inside of you. This could be developing more courage, or changing parts of a people-pleasing tendency, or learning to be less judgmental or critical of yourself, and so on. Now before you go to sleep, say to yourself what you would like and that you would like to resolve something or have some insights into something or would like to understand something in you, etc. Then ask for assistance and begin breathing deeply until you get very relaxed or you go to sleep. Do this every night for two weeks. If you like, keep a notebook by your side to write down a dream when you awake. In the morning write down what you remember. If you don't remember anything, write down a feeling or a thought that comes up for you. It may not make sense at the time, and that is ok; that is your unconscious talking to you. This is a way you can use dreams to wake yourself up. 


My soothing words of wisdom for the week is about not losing yourself in someone else's feelings:

SaveSaveSaveSave

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Feeling v Reacting

A Window In Time

The Midnight Times