I have been participating in the Ride for the Breath of Life for more than 15 years. For the last 10 years, that’s involved getting myself back to Edmonton from my home base in Ontario. This year’s ride was theoretically easier, in that because of the pandemic it was once again virtual. In other ways, that makes it much harder.
Yes, you can design your new normal. You can also work towards realizing it. That doesn’t mean it is always going to be fun, easy or enjoyable. That is probably the most important thing to contemplate as you consider what you want your new normal to become. For whatever you are leaving behind and changing, what you move towards will have its own challenges. For all that you dream and aspire towards and envision your optimal, desired future, there are aspects that are going to suck. Going in with eyes wide open can help you get past the obstacles. Being prepared to do that is absolutely essential.
You can attempt to push through by sheer will alone. In fact, you can do so for a surprisingly long time. While it might work as a strategy in the short term, it is rarely sustainable in the long-term. What you think is in your circle of control is very often at best open to influence, and might be entirely dependent upon luck. Recognizing that is the first challenge. Knowing what to do about it comes next.
Immersing ourselves in a challenge is one of the great joys of work. Finding situations that engage and stretch our abilities, and completing them successfully, can be a huge source of joy and inspiration. Despite this, it is easy to fall into ruts and fall back on routines. The creative solution that we critically engaged ourselves to find yesterday becomes the default and unthinking response today. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are strategies available to find engagement and inspiration, even in the most familiar of circumstances.
We all work through change at some point in our lives. More to the point, we frequently experience change, and often several changes at the same time. As universal as the experience is, there is precious little guidance on how to make it through. This is not a rational, linear process. There is a starting point and an ending point, and what happens in between is anything but predictable and easy. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t structures that we can understand, and ways through that we can find. We just need to know where to look.
I’ve been exploring liminality and in-between spaces in a few posts. And while the structure is simple, and the ideas it offers are profound and meaningful, actual living in and transitioning through liminal spaces is often anything but clear, ordered or certain. There can be a great deal of fuzziness, frustration and even fear. I thought it would be helpful to explore what it’s like to actually live in the in-between spaces.