On the Edge of the Neutral Zone

I’m on the move again, packing up my belongings and relocating to a new home. This will be the 27th time I’ve moved in 44 years, which I’m guessing is more than the average person experiences in their lifetime. I suppose I should be an expert at it by now, but moving is always a challenge.5668170-brown-cardboard-moving-box-on-a-white-background-with-a-fragile-sticker

Experiencing change is simply part of being human. There are the changes that come with the natural rhythms of our lives, as well as the unexpected events that force us out of our familiar patterns. These transition times are an opportunity to deepen our understanding of who we fundamentally are.

This transitional, in-between state is like a neutral zone (well, Comic-Con is in town afterall). It’s a liminal state. What once was, is no more, and what is to come has not yet come into being. Half my stuff is at the new place; half of it is still being packed up at the old.

Living in this liminal state can produce anxiety, since all the old structures are breaking down, yet new structures have not yet been built to provide that vital sense of connectedness with life. It is during this transition state when it’s common to have feelings such as grief, loss, doubt, excitement, anxiety, and confusion.

Yet we are also most open to God’s ‘still small voice’ during this time. When you’re stripped away of those outer structures, you can look directly at who you are. You, without all your stuff or routines or habits, your personality quirks. Just your divine essence.

Moving and any change can be very stressful. It’s easy to just check out during the transition process, “killing” time, or waiting it out like a delayed flight. But these transition moments are present moments like any other. I found that I kind of liked my meditation room emptied out, and that a packing box makes a good yoga prop for a restful legs-up-the-box pose. I found that I could create my own sense of spaciousness amidst what feels like chaos on the outside, just by doing a simple sitting practice. The liminal time became a rich experience in itself.

imagesThink of all the transitions you make in your life: the simple act of breathing in and out; moving from one yoga pose to another; getting in and out of the car; work time to play time, sleeping to waking. And there are the larger transitions: growing older, marrying and divorcing, living and dying. Life is one long transition.

See if you can find some awareness of these liminal states as you move throughout your day. If you meditate, take a few moments after your formal practice to just notice what is, before moving into the next activity. When you first wake up simply be aware of your consciousness, before the monkey mind has his espresso and springs into action. Or take any mundane moment, like taking a sip of water, as a reminder to Be Here Now.

We can find continuity during change by claiming the present moment. Over and over and over again.


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