Are You in The Phase Between “Never Again” and “Not Yet”?

 Are You in The Phase Between Never Again and Not Yet?I recently heard a presentation by the wonderful Dr. Joan Borysenko who spoke about the dark night of the soul and that transition period she refers to as “between ‘never again’ and ‘not yet'”.   This is the awful time we experience when something in our lives has changed forever and will be ‘never again’, but the new change replacing it has ‘not yet’ materialized.

This transition is classically human.  We have all experienced it before and will again.  It ushers in the new chapters of our lives and while it always brings opportunities and blessings, it is extremely uncomfortable because we feel like we are careening in free fall with no idea when it will end.

Let’s face it…humans don’t like free fall.  We like control and order and great roads with excellent signage.

We like to know where we’re going and to feel safe along the way.  And then life has its way and all bets are off.

Joan says the first thing we need to know is that there is a real purpose to this state of seeming-chaos.  It is the very nature of life to change – whatever is green grows, whatever is ripe rots –  and this stage ushers in the next stage of growth as the old has outlived its purpose.  Nature conserves energy and likes to recycle what no longer serves.  Humans instinctively hold on.  Learning to negotiate this transition requires patience and patience can be excrutiatingly hard to learn in our culture of everything-all-the-time.

When we are in the phase between “never again” and “not yet”, we often run to safety, grabbing any solution or person who we think will restore our normalcy.  This is why rebound relationships usually don’t work.  When one relationship ends, we need a reordering period in order to recalibrate before starting a new one, for we have certainly changed inside.

When our child is in the run-up to applying for college, well into their adolescence, we can see glimpses of the life that is now over – their childhood and our control over their choices – but we can’t yet see where we are going to land.  This period of transition is long enough and uncomfortable enough that we can act out in silly ways to try to control our sense of growing panic.  We can try to control our teens or disconnect completely or anything in between.  We feel fear and often despair as our kids grow away from us and give greater importance to the World than to our presence.  Make no mistake – this is a very painful period of big internal disruption.

The wiser ones among us, like Joan Borysenko, remind us that every cycle and pattern has a beginning, a middle and an end.  This transition period between “never again” and “not yet” may last quite a long time until things change again and we adjust to the New Normal.  The important thing is to see it for what it is – a critical transition, a force of Nature – and to surrender, holding faith that this is the labor part of the rebirthing process.  Labor stops when the baby is born.

Be compassionate to yourself as you experience this period.  No one and nothing is against you.  It’s just a major growth cycle that is long overdue and it will unfold with or without your cooperation.  It’s best to cooperate.  It’s best to offer love and acceptance to everyone and everything around you and let this transition, like a huge wave, lift you into the next stage of being.


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