When people talk about transitions, there is often a sense of being in between something they’ve known and something that hasn’t emerged yet. Whether it’s a big decision about a career move, or smaller decisions about how best to spend their energy and talents day to day, being in-between is not usually very comfortable.
Years ago I came across a saying that describes this place well. “When one door closes, another door opens—but it’s hell in the hallway.” We all spend time in the uncertainty of “hallways” during our lives. Some produce more anxiety than others. I first came across the saying just as my previous marriage was ending, when “hell” seemed like an apt description. Other kinds of hallways, like the space between a graduation and whatever comes next, hold a greater sense of excitement and possibility.
In-between spaces both require and enable discernment, which I define as “making decisions according to what matters most to you.” Whether it feels like hell or not, a hallway is an excellent place for reconsidering your sense of meaning and purpose. Many religious traditions offer resources for discernment, and some people find helpful touchstones in faith or spirituality as they navigate life’s hallways. Whatever your own touchstones are, whenever you're trying to make sense of doors that have closed and doors that might yet open, you don't have to do that alone.
Discernment coaching is a way of offering company and conversation to people in a hallway of transition. As I was getting ready to launch this website, I found myself literally in the hallway: my home office. It’s not quite the office I planned when we moved into this house. With three bedrooms plus a den, it was going to be perfect for our family of three, with offices for my husband and me. Then we had another child. When our daughter started walking, I finally had to move my desk out of her room into the next best space available: the front hallway.
Now it is finally time to settle in here. As I organize this space for my work, it offers a perfect metaphor for the work itself: I am literally in solidarity with all who find themselves in one of life’s hallways. When you’re in an in-between space, I hope that our conversations about meaning and purpose can enlarge your sense of excitement and possibility—to the point where it no longer seems like hell at all.
Photo credit: Colin, DSC_0053, flickr.com/creativecommons