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The Gift of In-Between

Updated: Nov 14, 2021

John Lennon once said that life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. This might seem like an idealistic luxury only available to those who can afford the time or even a passive cop-out. Quite the contrary. This is about living fully and living fully requires us to dedicate our full attention to the here and now. Receptivity should not be confused with passivity. Creative people know about this. Mothers too.

Morning pages is something I do that inspires my creativity. The part of me that wants to be productive resists the process as taking up time that could be used with whatever else is on my day’s agenda. There is no selective agenda to the stream of consciousness process of writing morning pages. The focus is not on composing an eloquent, entertaining or useful presentation. It is a bit like practicing voice exercises before singing or instrumental music exercises before playing or writing a song. It might seem tedious or boring from the outside but experience has taught me that it provides a fertile ground for cultivating the creative process. A farmer knows that patient preparation of the soil is an important part of growing a successful crop. Rushing the process will not pay off. Also, once the seeds are planted, you need to wait for the plants to grow. There is nothing you can do to make that happen.

Upon rising this morning, as I often do, I chose to write about my dreams in my morning pages which is a bit of a deviation from the intended focus of morning pages of simply expressing what pops up in my mind at the moment. I do this because both recording one’s dreams and morning pages need to be done soon after waking before the habitual grooves of our mind pull us into their trajectories. Also, the information that comes through both recalling and interpreting dreams and stream of consciousness writing come from the same subconscious mind deep below the surface-level thinking mind. I didn’t remember the details of my dream but I still felt the emotional impressions. So instead of starting with recollecting the details of the story I allowed myself to start with the impressions I was left with.

I recalled that part of my dream had to do with accomplishing a task and that I was aware of a critical voice from a feminine energy. There was an older man (my age but I was younger in the dream) accomplishing a task of unclogging a machine. I remembered that I had been shown that earlier but had not bothered to think back and apply that knowledge to the situation in which that information was useful. I was also aware that this information came from the feminine voices in my dream. Then I recalled that in my waking life over the past few weeks of exploring various places in four different countries in Europe, I had been allowing myself to rely on my daughter’s navigation skills. I was aware of my passivity in that regard but I was appreciative of how this afforded me the opportunity to connect more with my immediate surroundings.

I was grateful to be able to be present with myself, notice my feelings and their impressions on me. It often felt like being high and noticing all the synaptic events of everyday experience. Thank you morning pages for reminding me of the preciousness of the feminine energy, the mother in me that pays attention to all the details my experience and responds proactively to guide me in the appropriate direction, without judgement.

Judgement is so reductive and limiting. The masculine part of me focuses on results at the expense of fully experiencing the process - the journey rather than the destination. Then I became aware of the familiar anxious feeling of wanting to wrap up my writing and get on with my day. That part of me is uncomfortable with hanging out in the process of unpredictable discovery. It resists the subtle space of listening and feeling and seeks a firm ground of known experience. Yet listening is not passive in any stagnant sense. It is active and requires our full attention. It is constantly in flux and that is scary and unsettling to the masculine part of me that seeks to counteract that by directing me to conclusive destinations.

My dream reveals to me how the masculine fixer or problem-solver can benefit from surrendering to the imperative of an open mind which allows the mind to emerge from its box of habit by taking the time to stop, look and listen. When I slow down and trust that taking the time to tune in to the knowledge within, bingo! I am guided in the direction of appropriate action. So when I arrive at the moment of blankness and the anxious voice shouts, “It’s time wrap up and move on,” wait! This is my opportunity to surrender to the un-knowing. Rushing to the next familiar and comfortable activity may temporarily relieve the anxiety but it will also perpetuate the cycle of enslavement to the dictatorship of time that projects us into our projects rather than fully living this moment.

Ironically, when being receptive to the experience of the moment presents me with an inspiring insight, the materialistic voice in me says: “Let’s move on to capture this wisdom and encapsulate it in an article to share it with others while it is still fresh, to conclude with this pearl of wisdom!” Whoah, who is this all for? What is more selfish or small-minded? to want to save the knowledge or to hold on to the intimacy of immediate connection? It’s all Me. What is important is to be there to honour the gift of life.

Embracing the dance that happens between the push and pull of the masculine and feminine is where the gift of the in-between can be found.

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