Last spring I heard a woman named Cynthia Jurs speak. She said a lot of interesting and important things during her talk, but what stood out to me most was the way she spoke of “acting from the subtle” and how important it can be to stop and breathe in the midst of the chaos that seems to punctuate our world more than we want it to. She spoke of focusing on the space that is in between where we are and where we want to go. She said it’s that ‘in between’ space that allows new things to come into being. From that space we can learn to recognize our gifts, and once we’ve recognized them, we can offer those gifts out into our communities, our workplaces, and our families. She reminded us that it is from our gifts – those gifts that are unique to our own being — that we can affect our life situation in the deepest way and contribute to the healing of the world. She reminded us that due to the nature of “in between” space, we all have a different version of what’s true for us, but that we can still support each other despite being on differing paths.
Right, so why is this important to think about, you ask? Well, dear readers, it’s because everyone we interact with every day is in that in between space. Helen and John and Brittany and Charles are all experiencing their own version of “in between” no matter how successful [or not] they appear on the surface, and our role as a fellow human is to meet them there in that place. Maybe their ‘in between’ is punctuated by not knowing what to do to meet their next life goal..if they even have a goal. Maybe their in between is cloudy with stressful situations that would make even the highly motivated take pause. Maybe their in between is steeped in low motivation or lack of confidence or fear of failure. Maybe they don’t have a clear awareness of where they are at the moment. We all experience this phenomenon of ‘wanting something different’ in this human life, even if we are usually quite satisfied with how things are. (and really, is anyone REALLY 100% satisfied?! Call me a cynic, but I have my doubts.) We all have the opportunity to weave in and out of these in between spaces and catch people succeeding, even those who feel like they are not, even on the good days. We have the opportunity to call out the good and acknowledge what strengths – what gifts – helped that good happen. We have the opportunity to be privy to the joy that can rise up from figuring out a trigger that might get the dominoes to fall in the right direction this time. We have the opportunity to reinforce another’s way of being in a positive way and observe the power that can come from noticing opportunities and sharing what we see. And we have the honor of validating what each person feels — whatever it may be, and offer them our judgment-free presence.
So, we witness others’ subtle spaces, their “in betweens” day in and day out. And by bearing witness and calling out what we see, we are helping one person at a time see value where perhaps they didn’t see it before. When we can continually show up for people looking through the question, “What is it like to be you?”, we build the alliance that can help one person at a time act in ways that invite them to root into the story that they want for themselves.
Those in between spaces? They don’t go away, at least not while we are alive and kicking on this planet. We never “arrive” as it were. We just are where we are. But we can learn to use those in betweens in the subtle ways that make a difference.