Over the last week or so, my blog articles have become more sporadic.  I’ve been making excuses for myself — all the other things I had to do that prevented me from writing.  Yet I spent half the month of June in Europe and maintained a schedule of routine blog postings by pre-writing content.  My lack of time excuses don’t really hold water.

So what else could it be?  My mind says maybe I’m in some sort of transition state.  I have crossed some major milestones in my life recently.  These thresholds represent both endings (having accomplished my intentions) as well as opening the space for new beginnings.  Although we all have a tendency at these points in our lives to jump with full force into new roles and goals, I am well aware of the importance of allowing myself the opportunity to spend time in the space of the transition.

William Bridges in his wonderful book “Transitions” calls this space the neutral zone or the void.  He calls us to realize how important it is for us to hang out in this juicy place where we honor and acknowledge the completion of our recent life accomplishment and assimilate its lessons.  Such absorption is important preparatory work necessary to ready us for life’s next step.  He calls us not follow our tendency to jump into some new goal immediately, but rather to wait until we know intuitively what our next step must be.

This brings me to the concept of horizontal and vertical growth.   Imagine two lines forming a cross — one moving upward, one moving sideways.  We tend to believe we are only growing when we are moving upward in life.  Completions and new beginnings give us a sense of moving upward.  Yet sometimes in life we are moving on the horizontal line.  We don’t feel like we are growing.  We may be in this neutral zone and it makes us antsy.  We tend to think our life has stalled out.

Yet the truth is, we are always growing and evolving even when we are in the void.  Horizontal growth is just as valuable as vertical growth.  We may wish to live on the vertical line ever continuously moving upward but that’s just not realistic.  We always need the space to have a foothold to support us moving upward further.  This growth is like moving up a set of stairs.  Yes, we sense the growth upward as we move to the higher step but we need the horizontal step to support us to take the next step up.  Our growth and path require both the vertical and horizontal parts of the steps.

So has my sporadic writing been caused by being in the space of the transition?  Maybe, maybe not.  In the end it really doesn’t matter.  What’s important is to contemplate the question.  Doing so allows us to sense the value in those moments when it appears we are not progressing.  It allows us to see the time’s gift — to honor the experience — and to let go of the impatience to continue moving upward immediately.  You’ll know when you’re ready to take the next step.

So where in your life are you growing horizontally?  Cartoonist R Crumb was right when he told us to keep on truckin’.  In the end we always are, even when we think we aren’t.

Mark Gilbert


Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!