The Roman Stoic Philosophers, Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger (4. BCE – 65 ACE), made this observation about human planning gone awry:
Our plans miscarry because they have no aim. When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.
Not knowing what harbor you are making for is what transition feels like. It is that in-between place where you cannot go back to a season in your life where the door has closed, and the new door has yet to open.
We often get stuck in-between the chapters of our lives when one chapter ends and the new one hasn’t begun yet. We tend to look for immediate and quick fixes to alleviate the dis-ease of uncertainty we feel when we are in what William Bridges calls “the neutral zone, the nowhere between two somewheres” in his classic book “Transitions”. Know this, that dis-ease is a form of anxiety. Also realize that you have crossed a threshold, and the anxiety is the sign that you have. You can turn your anxiety into anticipation (because it’s the same chemical reaction in your brain), however the former is fear-based “what if” thinking, whereas if you can shift to thinking and acting “as if” your future is determining your present, you will find new motivation to move forward!
In the space of the neutral zone, the “nowhere” zone, you have to learn to be with your anxiety and not attempt to fight it. Fighting it only gives it power. Being with it allows you to embrace the uncertainty and release your creative energies by learning how to ask new questions that free you from the limitations of the former chapter that came to an end precisely because it took you as far as was possible. You outgrew it! Yet you still have a future, and it is waiting for you! Continue reading