A close friend of mine used an analogy the other day that’s stuck with me. She said her higher power has closed a door in her life and hasn’t opened another one yet. So for now she’s stuck in the hallway, waiting for another door to open. Yesssssss. That’s so my life right now. I’m in limbo, in the hallway, waiting for something new, for a door to open, but it hasn’t yet and it’s uncomfortable.
I hate this phase. I think most people do. And at the same time I recognize this is a part of life — it’s filled with speed and then pause. Even when breathing we inhale, pause slightly, and then exhale with another slight pause. When we walk, we put one foot on the ground or we can’t move forward. The left foot makes the next step only if the right foot prepares by being placed on the ground.
My spiritual teacher says, “This is crucial for successful movement. Thus if we wish to say something about speed, or the characteristics of movement, we will have to acknowledge the necessity of the state of pause otherwise it will not be possible to move into the next stage. … This speed and pause will continue. Pause means gathering momentum for speed in the subsequent phase. If one closely watches the effect of speed on a particular community or the entire humanity, one sees that generally people eulogize the period of speed. However, we cannot afford to ignore the state of pause, because by judging what the previous state of pause was like, we can discern the speed of the next phase.”
A couple of things jump out at me from that quote. First of all, the pause is temporary. It feels like I’m going to be stuck in this hallway forever but I won’t be. Worse comes to worst I’ll get a job at an ice cream parlor or a grocery store or something. Things will change, they absolutely will, even if a part of me doesn’t believe that. I’m reminded just because I may not believe something doesn’t make it any less true. For instance, some people still believe the Earth is flat, but regardless, the Earth is round.
The other point that jumps out at me from the quote is the last bit, about how the state of pause can help discern the speed of the next phase. What I’m taking that to mean is my life is going to go off like a rocket. All of this momentum, this angst, is going to catapult me into the next phase and my life will move at warp speed. I cannot express how much I’m looking forward to it. And at the same time, I’m recognizing the necessity for this state of pause, this place where I’m spinning my wheels, revving my engine, and getting ready to zoom ahead. Pretty soon a door will open and I’m going to bolt through it. But for now I’m here, in the hallway.
I dream of a world where we recognize the importance of limbo periods. A world where we understand in order to move ahead we also have to pause, to gather momentum. A world where we recognize even when it seems like we’re standing still it’s all in service of what’s next.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.