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The Sassy Sandpiper: The Space Between . . .

By M.R. Wilson, TB Reporter

. . . and thoughts about navigating the intervals between your life’s chapters.

Some of us move seamlessly through life. Their paths are unveiled at a young age: Interest becomes passion; inclination becomes skill; vocation becomes career.

A few such individuals come to mind. One was a little boy whose fascination with tide-sculpted boulders grew into a love for science. Later on an internship in a hospital pediatric ward brought the commitment to work with young people. He became a highly respected science teacher. Another is a woman who forged her place in nursing, all the way to being an administrator for the largest provider of home health care, hospice, and related services in the United States. I know lifelong wordcrafters and civil servants. I applaud that kind of stability.

These types of people never seemed to experience what visionary author and journalist Charles Eisenstein calls “a space between stories” in his book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible. This space is an interval after a monumental or even subtle life change—or during revitalizing travel or debilitating sickness, or countless other manifestations of personal upheaval—when one story has ended and the next one has yet to begin. It can be a sinkhole, or a pile of rubble, or a flood that wipes the slate clean and feels like a void as wide and deep as the Grand Canyon.

The USA is in a space between stories, too. Politics brings out the meanness in people. They’re scared: The status quo isn’t working anymore, not in education, medicine, economics, or relationships. They feel personally unmoored. They feel powerless.

There’s a better way.

What to do next? Start by surrendering or at least scrutinizing the worldview that created the chasm. You may linger awhile in the space between stories, and according to Eisenstein, it’s good if you do. It’s less about deciding what to do next and more about feeling what to be next.

A semi-retired couple I know well is navigating that space. In fact, their lives have been more space than story. Yet they’ve persevered through too many varieties of human calamity than they care to discuss. Happily, they are moving into their new story after a time of comfort, refuge, and restoration in the wake of job loss, devastating illness, and short-term disability. Thus, their new story is emerging from a calm, quiet, rational place rather than a frantic pressure cooker of anger and resentment.

Maybe you haven’t encountered a space between stories. Perhaps you never will. If it happens, though, be not afraid. Take the time. Sit awhile. Gaze at a sun-sequined lake. Plant marigolds. Craft your next story with patience and love.

Move over, Greatest Generation, Baby Boomers, Beat Generation, Millennials, Generations X, Y, and Z. Enter the Spacers, their hearts leading the way!

Columns | The Sassy Sandpiper | TB Reporter

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The Sassy Sandpiper: The Space Between . . .
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The Sassy Sandpiper: The Space Between . . .
. . . and thoughts about navigating the intervals between your life's chapters.
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Tampa Bay Reporter
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