Our Real Work: Jess Ryan, MS

Coaching and consulting. Something's calling. It's your life.

Well, I didn’t see that coming this year––living in limbo

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This summer I’ve been on the road for work and pleasure. I’ve been living out of suitcases. Scaling piles of laundry when I get back. Hustling to get things ready before I go again. I’m excited to go. It’s good to be home.

I’ve been packing. Buying a house. Getting ready to leave a house. Trying to figure out what I can let go of, what I want to keep. What I can do without right now. I’m sorting memories and planning where the table and bookcases and beds will go. Physically I’m still in one space, but emotionally, I’m starting to check out (and freak out).

I’ve been working two businesses. Collaborating. Doing my own thing. Working on a book and creating a new course. Sometimes it feels like neither will ever be done. Am I trying to do too much—or not pushing myself hard enough?

I’m on the verge of endings and beginnings. Clinging to what was/still is kinda . . . and jumping ahead to what will be. Slogging through the work to get to where I’m going. Nothing feels done. Nothing feels settled. I’m in the messy middle.

Yet, if nothing else, life has taught me change is inevitable and I might as well embrace the messy middle, because the messy middle, this in-between limbo, IS life. (You don’t have to love it or feel all puppies and kittens about it—but surrender to it. Because, believe you and me, trying to pick a fight with chaos and transition…well, good luck. I’ve gone that route before. Insert crazy-face emoticon.)

If you’ve been on the road literally or figuratively, it’s time to open your eyes on that journey. Accept that there will be some discomfort, a sense of uncertainty about what will happen next. For some people that uncertainty is a thrill, but for others it’s incredibly unsettling. How do we face the lack of familiar, the lack of routine?

Start by getting grounded. A regular yoga practice can help. “But I’m on the road, remember?” When life is feeling like it’s flying off the rails, we tend to abandon any grounding practices we have. We forget about yoga, stop exercising, eat whatever we can find at a rest stop. (I’m humbly suggesting you might want to pass on sushi being sold at gas stations. Trust me on this one.) But the more we weave in the things that keep us flowing smoothly, the better we feel, the more we are able to access our authentic knowing, and hear our inner voice in the swirling cosmos of chaos, no matter where we are.

Practice mindfulness and acceptance. Even if you’re stuck in traffic or on the side of the road with a flat. (So, yeah, both of those are really hard ones, so practice that mindfulness and acceptance while you’re cruising down the road on a gorgeous day first, OK?) And then when you see the brake lights up ahead, breathe into it. (You never know what you’ll see stopped on the highway . . . a moose stepping off into the trees by the roadside, some dude standing on the roof of his car to take a picture, a double rainbow.)

Finally, trust. Trust that your luggage will get there with you, that you’ll find the box you packed the sheets in, that you’ll someday feel less in limbo in your new space, that you will get done that big project you’ve been working on—that it will never really be smooth and easy sailing, but that you can live with that. Because “that” is movement, integration, relationship, growth, surrender and THAT is the beautiful thing called your sweet, sweet life.

In the comments below, let us know how you navigate internal or external transitions:

One Comment

  1. Love your examples of stopping on the highway!
    I’m about to set off on 5 weeks of travelling in Greece, and I feel very much in limbo, so this is a great reminder!
    Here’s to your and my lives once they get settled, and also to the in between time when we sit next to the pool and wait for the mud to settle.
    Who knows what we’ll see while we wait.

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