I have always been fascinated by “gaps” the in-between states of something ending and the new beginning not yet starting. The Gap is the space between an ending and a new beginning.
Waiting for babies to be born and the fun of dreaming about who they might be. Finishing a job and the excitement of getting ready to start the new one. Trying out for something and anxiously waiting to hear if I’ll be doing one thing or another. Waiting for tests results, knowing that one way or another, life will change. The ups and downs while looking for the “till death do us part” relationship.
Most of us want to jump into new beginnings as quickly as possible, like we’re getting off hot coals, keeping The Gap between endings and beginnings as narrow as possible. As a modern culture, we dislike waiting. We want to move on as fast as we can. We dislike messiness. We tell ourselves “you can’t change the past” (which of course we can’t) and fail to mine the lessons of the past, dooming us to repeat the same mistakes over again.
There is tremendous potential and richness in The Gap. But this gap, this in-between space, is also full of ambiguity and uncertainty, feelings that we often try to avoid. We often fear time in The Gap and resist the discomfort of uncertainty and ambiguity; we try to get rid of what makes us uncomfortable – all of which, ironically, adds to our discomfort and can lead to avoidance and addiction.
Why would anyone want to widen “The Gap” and spend even more time here?
The Gap is where we search our souls and question our hearts. It is where we dare to ask ourselves the big questions like “Why am I here?”, “What is my purpose?”, “What happens in death?”
It is here, in The Gap, where the full range of human emotions from peace to excruciating pain is accessible. It is in The Gap, where we question our sanity, experience our madness, and go to the dark night of the soul.
It is in The Gap, that we learn and grow, more so than any other stage of transition, like the butterfly in the chrysalis. Creativity and courage are found in The Gap. And, it is here in The Gap, that we put up the mirror of who we are and release our masks. It is in The Gap where we whole ourselves and heal.
When in The Gap, we shift from the state of doing to the states of being, allowing and receiving.
We don’t need big life events to reap the benefits of The Gap because we can visit The Gap through intention.
When you find, yourself needing “time to think”, you are searching for The Gap. When you feel overwhelmed by life, The Gap is the place to unravel. The Gap is a private inner sanctuary where you can retreat, rest, restore and create.
How do you enter The Gap? And, how can you widen the space of The Gap to experience the depth to which your soul wants to go?
- Meditation is one of the most effective tools we have for entering The Gap. Most of the time, our mind is caught up in thoughts, emotions, and memories. Meditation takes you beyond the noise and into the stillness of consciousness. There are so many tools available today to help you quiet your busy mind and enter The Gap.
- Journaling allows us to enter The Gap by noticing and disrupting negative thoughts. Because habitual negative thinking can spiral our emotional state progressively downward, journaling opens The Gap not as a form of denial - but as a way of cherishing the preciousness of life, even when we feel rough. It seems we all have an inner quota of emotional pain to process in our lifetime. At certain times of life, it may be more realistic to consider developing the ability to function through difficult emotions - learning how to celebrate the poignancy of our pain, and the beauty of life at the same time.
- Yin yoga is unique in that you are asked to relax in the posture, soften the muscle, and move closer to the bone. Yin offers a much deeper access to the body and is much like time spent in meditation. Yin postures are held for three to five minutes, and some even 20 minutes at a time.
- Living with Questions is simple and has become a powerful gateway for me over the past year. We simply keep asking ourselves the question over and over. We widen The Gap as we meditate and journal about the question and as we take the question into our dreams and ask our dreams to reveal clues to help us understand the question more deeply.
- Reconnecting with Nature will open the portal to The Gap as it helps you quiet your mind. In nature, we experience the living connection to all of life and the connection to something bigger than ourselves. Widen The Gap by walking barefoot in nature and in the words of Tich Nhat Hanh “Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet”.
- Expressive Arts like painting, drawing, storytelling, intuitive writing, collaging, and art journaling allows us direct access to The Gap. Here we can widen the gap as we work with symbols and imagery, our first and primary means of inner communication. I have been art journaling this past year and talk about this work in The Feminine Shadow Project.
As you enter this New Year, I encourage you to take the next two weeks, and resist the impulse to jump right in and quickly create goals and resolutions. Rather, step into your own Gap, widen it, and see what new perspectives and visions unfold for you about the year ahead.