Could you embrace emptiness? It contains your next step.

emptinessYou know that wrenching feeling when something has ended that you didn’t want to see go?

Life changes

It does. Always. Continuously. Somewhere in the kaleidoscope of life, change arrives often accompanied by a feeling of emptiness. The change may start in your outer circumstances, like a physical move or the end of a relationship. Or it may be something bewildering showing up in your interior landscape that you haven’t even identified as “change”.

You may feel uncomfortable in your own skin. So your tendency might be to fill the empty space with concern, fear or confusion.

After all, you are in new territory and it feels unfamiliar. You cannot find the usual markers that give form. Instead it feels like you’ve entered a black hole that has sucked up anything you could normally count on to define yourself.

What now?

When I’m in the midst of great change I often feel like crying. There’s no emotional content attached to it. It’s simply the experience of this vast “empty” space.

What do you do with the feeling of emptiness? Do you attach meaning to it with an explanation for what you are experiencing? As if your words of definition could settle the feeling of spinning untethered in space?

There is another way to be with this.

What if you surrendered to the open place without creating the boundaries of explanation?

Emptiness Before the Beginning

I’ve become good at hanging out in the in-between. It has taken time: repeated experiences of  being in the void. I’ve learned that I have to give physical time to this emptiness. Because there is necessary space between ending and beginning.

As something completes in life, there is a void, a creative pause, before something new begins.

Why is this so important? In this void are all the possibilities of the next moment in time.

The tendency is to create an explanation for your experience. However, that does not give you any space. The need to define what you are feeling closes the door to the birth of something brand new. You cannot define what has not yet formed.

If you give yourself the space to simply be in the void, without control or expectation, you will indeed emerge.

Keep returning to the breath and it will carry you through the void, allowing whatever is to begin. After all, the beginning is what comes next. There’s no need to rush it.

“Were it only that some enchantment would step in for us all, to change what we have into what we wish for. To bridge the awkward gap between all of our many befores and afters. Because, for every after found, a before must be lost. And loss is, by nature, an unbalancing thing. More unbalancing, however, is to discover your before gone without an after having taken its place. Leaving you merely to wait and to wonder if there is to be an after at all. Or if, perhaps, waiting and wondering are your after in themselves.”   ~ Spoken by Lotti, in Matthew Barber’s  Enchanted April, 2003, a play adapted from Elizabeth von Arnim’s 1922 novel, The Enchanted April.

 Reflection Time

Take a breath. Release it. Take another. Devote some dedicated time of concentration/meditation. It doesn’t need to be hours of quiet, perhaps only 15 minutes. Then allow the question to simmer within you. Let responses bubble up into your awareness. Notice new ways of thinking, of images or ideas that arise spontaneously. Pay attention to your dreams. Let it happen. Be aware. See where it leads you next. Let yourself savor this process of receiving from yourself. Don’t judge whatever comes up, just receive it. Make notes.

You may want to share something from this process. Sharing is an important way to anchor an insight in your body. It leads you to deeper insight. It stimulates action.

Share what moves you!

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24 Responses

  1. This one hit me between the eyes… 🙂 Very powerful: the nothing between the end of something and the beginning of something. My husband and I are moving to Vermont, and with the purchase of the house and other major changes in store it a lot of new to process. I am pretty good at change (oh my, done it a LOT) but not defining it is the challenge. Allowing it to be ALL it can be by NOT defining it.

    1. My changes are internal, unformed and I am definitely in the void! You will be moving. Leon is moving. Some of our other members of the TBJ team are in the void! I am good at change, too, but it seems that never matters. When I feel myself ready to burst into tears I know that’s the void. As long as I don’t try and attach the tears to something (searching for the why—my old life that I was so good at doing!), I’m okay. “Oh, right, I’m in change! I’m in the void.” That recognition seems to allow me to go through it more easily.
      Thanks for writing, Diane,


  2. OH YES, that helps. The tears, the feeling of tears, and then say to yourself, ” Oh, right, I am in change mode… it’s OK.” I just want to EXPLAIN it, double check that this feeling might mean I am making a mistake, is this an intuitive warning? tremble, wonder, second guess, panic a little.

    Sheesh. The best things in my life (bar none) are when I have leapt, following my heart, and fear be damned. That is really LIVING! (I mean within reason of course…. I have never longed to Bungee jump, or that kind of thing! lol)

    So interesting. And i think there is a huge step on the path to be gained by realizing this emptiness is powerful, nothing to be afraid of… That in that vacuum, something huge and new can be attracted.

  3. Me, too. But I am still working on letting that go. I still struggle with wanting to explain it. Thanks so much for this FF – very timely… it helps me let go the need to figure it out…

    Thanks, Laurie.


  4. I am in the middle of a life void, and it is familiar because it happened to me several months ago. This time, I feel different and ready to be with the feelings of the unknown and even embrace that uneasiness of the unknown. One thing I do is play with numbers, budgets, schedules, etc. and I feel more at ease with my current situation.

    1. Roy–Thanks for your comments. How does playing with numbers, budgets, etc. help you feel more at ease? Are you able to stay open to whatever new may develop, maybe something entirely unrelated to what you may have known before? Laurie

  5. Laurie, good question. The work with numbers helps me to understand the situation I am in better and that frees me up to look outside where I am able to realize other possibilities. I am more able to be able to accept input that is unrelated to what I know now. And more accepting of new, to me, ideas.

  6. IN this septenary universe of the word of god,or the big-bang ,THERE CAN BE NO EMPTINESS.!for,within universe is all being,of soul mind consciousness for the very premise emptiness-(4)!of father(4) in(5) heaven(1)=10,OF whole all being,

    1. George–in the metaphysical, indeed, yes. On the personal level, in one’s experience, there is something that we can identify as “feeling empty”. That is the void. This is the conundrum: how can we feel empty when there is no emptiness? Laurie

  7. Hi Laurie

    Oh my goodness, am I in one of those! I so relate to all of what you said … in fact I woke in the throes of feeling the VOID like never before (seems like it anyway (lol) and was asking for guidance to not feel so caught in it (as in attaching meaning to it based upon the past, etc.). This brought me to checking my emails and voila, to follow-up on yours about the newsletter. I feel better already! I think when you take the alone feeling out of the experience, it somehow makes something so serious almost laughable. Like the feeling that comes when you move through the intensity of the changes in life to the next comfortable spot, and then can hardly remember what all the fuss was about, so thank you!

    1. Susan–I love this: “taking the alone feeling out of the experience”. We so often try and “explain” our way to getting out of the void, attaching meaning that has no real truth. it ends up being at the expense of discovering something brand new. Thanks for sharing your experience. Laurie

  8. Thank you for capturing the essence of “emptiness” so articulately. In feeling this “emptiness” lately, I really resonate with the idea of not creating definition or boundaries. Trying to define the emptiness only locks in what was and serves to stop the flow of change. I love the idea of allowing life to flow from what was, into the void, through the unknown and into the new. It seems that becoming “good at hanging out in the in-between”, is a powerful position to creating your best life. Thank you Laurie, I loved this post. xo

    1. I’m so glad to know how it resonated with you, Pamela! Nowadays, hanging out in the in-between place is the only way I know how to live life. 🙂

  9. I love this Laurie. The emptying out, the letting go, the being at ease in the between. Wasn’t always easy and for me if I’m feeling squeezed or constricted or that I have an inventory of mind junk piling up, it nearly always seems to collect in my throat space, my 5th chakra. So I imagine going there and seeing nothing but a vast open expanse with no horizon, empty space. I love going there. It’s where I empty out. <3

    1. You brought another idea to this, Peggy. That is the act of emptying out—actively. So often we get off track because we are thrown into emptiness. The act of emptying, or making space is so important for something new to be able to materialize. Thank you!

  10. Laurie,
    There is So much truth in your words here. It moved me to the core the way you shared your thoughts. Especially this line “if you give yourself the space to simply be in the void, without control or expectation, you will emerge.” That letting go of control is sometimes the hardest part. But over the years I have come to live in the “let it pass, go with the flow” interim. Honestly, so much does emerge should we allow ourselves to learn, instead of sulk.
    Thank you for this beautiful post.
    Much Love,

    1. Thank you, Zeena! Letting go of control has been my greatest challenge and my greatest source of learning. There is so much love on the other side… Laurie

  11. Hi Laurie…I’m going through a void…It feels as though I’m re enacting old patterns of behaviour…I see myself cringe every time it happens…Is there a way i can be more alert and become aware of where I’m going wrong?

    1. Hi Pavan—Oh yes! When you are on the edge of opening into a new part of yourself, that is often when old patterns arise very strongly. It’s almost as if you get the chance to see them for what they are (patterns, and not the truth) and get to choose a different way to respond (rather than react). You sound like you are aware of when your old way of acting kicks in. That is so important! It may be time to explore the underpinnings of those patterns, or to realize that indeed, they are outdated and no longer useful.

      Here are two places to begin:;

      Let me know how it goes!

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