Embrace the ‘in-between spaces’

The in-between spaces are places of privilege. I have to keep reminding myself not to rush…

A fractured rib (don’t ask me how I got it, because I do not know for certain) became painfully apparent to me on the tennis court a few weeks ago, and as a result no more tennis. A lot of really simple things that I used to do like turning from one side to the other at night, now are a painful reminder that I am still healing. In the midst of all of this, I found my rhythm of morning walks again. On one of these walks, which allowed me time to reflect, a podcast I was listening to, reminded me about the beauty of liminal spaces. I was initially pushing myself hard to get back to the way things used to be, and suddenly it dawned on me, just to ease into the way things are right now.

Every phase or stage is like a new birth. It is to be celebrated with all the possibilities that a new life offers. The in-between space is a place where new possibilities are born. The emptiness that is often a bit uncomfortable, but allows for the new to emerge is to be enjoyed before being filled up. If I can embrace this way to approach the ‘in-between spaces’, then I get to choose what I want to open being filled by and with. A simple reminder that the morning hour of tennis that I am no longer able to enjoy can be filled with the pleasure of ‘me time’ and nature, with the wisdom of my podcast friends when I want some company.

The podcast I was listening to reminded me about this experience. Birth is often scary because it’s new. The child cries as it enters the world. From that warm comfy cosy womb, entering the world is hard. It seems to be a cold unfamiliar and unfriendly place. A place that is filled with opportunities and threats. This is often how I feel when I stand at the beginning of something new.

It is important to find a caregiver at this stage or be a caregiver to allow the new to emerge. This open and vulnerable place from where so much beauty often emerges is often a time where the baby needs to be nurtured and cared for. Sometimes the help of another or others supports growth and evolution. That may be in the form of a faith that holds the hand of discomfort or it could be a therapist or a coach or a mentor. It could be a teacher or a friend. It could just be me, being compassionate and understanding to myself. It can be really simple, for instance, not grumbling about the loss of my hour of tennis, but allowing myself to enjoy an hour of walking. Sometimes it’s a retreat into nature. Sometimes solitude. Sometimes a special place or a wisdom that holds me.

Different strokes for different folks. There are times I find this support within and others when I need the universe to hold me. To find a way to ace the liminal space needs so many cards to be dealt and played. The space between what was and what will be. Who will I become next? What will I devote my attention and energy to next?

Rilke urges us to enjoy the questions instead of rushing towards the answers. “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

He cautions that we may not be ready to receive the answers as yet. As a coach, the concept of powerful questions is a familiar one. They often hold the keys to insight. The time for actions will follow.

The fullness of being empty. The in-between is not incompleteness. I can and must remind myself that I am whole and complete in this liminal state too. Today is a perfect day, just as it is, in the journey of my being.

In PR I love the idea of being the custodian of image and the protector of reputation. To be this and do this requires a focus on multiple audiences and many priorities. Getting too caught up in one often is at the cost of another dimension of reputation. This is often what the liminal space makes space for in life. If brands and companies learn to pause and listen, a more holistic approach to reputation building emerges. It allows for that part, which now needs attention to come into focus.

I often allow my circumstances to define my happiness. When the world I know gets shaken or upset then I find myself shaken and upset. Navigating change requires me to have something within me that keeps me stable in the face of the unknown. To enjoy the beauty of the in-between spaces is something I am learning. My way of being is what I must cultivate and hold onto.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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