Have you ever found yourself in that ‘in-between’ place? That place where you are moving toward some place and away from another, but are not quite there yet? We take steps and move forward, but as we do, we are often mindfully aware of the doors we are closing behind. The holding pen between Heaven and Hell, some call this place purgatory. In tennis, they call it no-man’s land. It’s the place where you can neither play your best offense nor your best defense. Stay there too long, and you’re sure to lose. From no-man’s land, the only real way to win is to wait for your opening and then come into the net. You move out of ambiguity and away from the illusory ‘safety’ of a defensive game. You play to win. But if you’ve ever played competitive tennis, you know that sometimes, you have to wait. You learn that just as in chess, the best moves are planned several steps out. A winning game requires good strategy, a solid set up, continued focus on the desired outcome, and above all, patience.
These days I find myself in such a place. Doors beginning to crack open, just as others are beginning to close…not necessarily dictated by circumstances outside of myself, but because my heart has made a decision. Because I have a vision for my life. Because I refuse to go back to sleep or to play it safe or to stay stuck. There is movement all around me, a foot crossing over the threshold…waiting, watching, and wondering how it all will unfold. No longer wavering on where I am headed, I am moving again, in transit, though I’ve not yet arrived at my next stop along the way.
This is the part of the journey that requires Faith. It requires patience. It is the part of the journey where we learn to let go…to trust…in our dreams, in our heart, in ourselves. From my perspective, it is the hardest part. It’s that awkward pause of silence in a conversation. It’s that moment when we want to fill the space in between with noise and distraction, yet know that what we need most is to learn to simply be still. Playing to win isn’t always about movement. Sometimes it’s about timing. It’s about knowing the difference between pushing blindly forward and waiting for the right move. It’s about training, focus, vision and strategy; it’s about patience in execution.
Have you ever found yourself caught in-between? How do you practice patience on the way to a dream? When you step out in Faith…when you walk towards one door and watch the other one begin to close, how do you steady yourself? How do you execute the vision for your life when part of the strategy calls for standing still?
7 thoughts on “No-Man’s Land”
Very thought-provoking post, Sharon. I think we enter “in-between” places when we – our hearts & minds – become dissatisfied with what “is.” So, though the transition may be difficult and complex, we’re moving with clarity to a better, more heart-aligned place. Patience is a HUGE virtue in the midst of this change.
LOVE that you are clearer about what is heart-aligned for you!
Thanks, Chris! I told someone the other day, “I can be patient when I have to be.” And while I’m busy praticing patience, I continue to stay focused on the long-term vision, while learning lessons in the moments of the present, ever mindful, as David points out in his reply, of the openings along the way.
Two thoughts struck me as I read the questions at the end of your post (which was very well written, by the way).
First, life is not a guaranteed proposition. The only real guarantee we have is that we won’t get out of it alive. 🙂 In fact, life can sometimes seem downright terrifying, which is why many people simply “go to sleep” and never try to pursue their true dreams.
You ask how do you steady yourself. My thought is that you must come to believe in a benevolent Universe that rewards thoughtful action, even if that action is to wait temporarily while looking for your right opportunity.
Which brings up my second thought. When the strategy requires that you wait, you must commit to wait with awareness. Just like your tennis illustration, when you’re in the “no-man’s land” you must wait for an opening. This requires that you be aware of what is taking place in your game. When you are required to wait, you cannot afford to lose site of what is happening around you or you might miss your opening.
So it is with life. When you are waiting, you must do so with intentional awareness, constantly seeking the opening that will advance you to your next stage.
Just a few thoughts that struck me as I read the wisdom you’ve shared in this post.
Intentional awareness. Absolutely the perfect thought, David, and oh so critical as we balance long-term vision with the everyday moments of our present lives. From my perspective, the waiting requires a certain amount of intentional awareness plus fluidity, too…a willingness to stay open to the lessons and opportunities on path before us as we journey towards our dreams.
Thanks, as always, for sharing your thoughts on this forum. 🙂 Collectively, we all have much to teach and learn from one another!
The “in between” space is so critical in life. Being patient is challenging and, sometimes, being patient is not the right answer. In these times, it is essential to take that deep breath and think clearly about the next move, the next play. A vital fact about “in between” times? It is the time in which you learn and grow the most. Having faith, and leveraging that faith, will get you to the next move and beyond.
Great post. Thanks!
Thanks for chiming in. I like the phrase you used, ‘leveraging faith’, and
agree completely with your assessment that it is in these ‘in-between’ times that we grow the most. I believe that even as we learn to wait intentionally for the right next move, it is important that we continue to assess what baby we can take each day that will keep us moving forward.
Love your site/blog, by the way!