Change and “the Void”
Many inspiring quotes have been written about change, and rightly so. But that doesn’t make change easy – even change for the better.
As we are Refined by Age™ we experience a vast amount of change, which hopefully leads towards wisdom. I’ve noticed in the process of change there is a place that can unconsciously occur that I call, “the void.” It is the place between holding on and letting go – a place where understanding and acceptance has yet to be made – willingly or not, for better or for worse. Change need not be acceptable in order for it to occur, but all change must be accepted to move on from “the void” it can create.
“The void” is created from taking on a perspective of separateness instead of being part of one fluid transition. People in any kind of transition can experience “the void.” The change need not be “abnormal” or even “bad” – just different from the status quo of their present life. It may be abrupt or evolve slowly over time, and when it creates that feeling of separateness, can leave a person feeling locked-up, disillusioned, empty, lost, and void of inspiration or enthusiasm. It is a dark, dull place which makes it even harder to understand when it occurs during a change for the better.
Let’s look at Jim’s experience with “the void.” After successful surgery and rehabilitation that resolved the chronic pain he lived with for several years, he was stuck in “the void.” An active entrepreneur with many irons in the fire, he had lost his motivation, inspiration and creativity. He felt numb – void of feeling. What was worse, he knew he had lost these things, and he didn’t know where to even begin to look to find them again. After casually discussing his frame of mind with a friend who had once worked in the mental health field, he was told he was having a normal reaction to the abnormal life he’d lived for the past few years due to his chronic pain.
Before the chronic pain, his life was full – a menu, if you will, of appetizers, entrees, side dishes and desserts. Slowly the chronic pain limited his choices – first taking away all the appetizers, then the side dishes, then the desserts, until even the entrees were all but gone. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, his menu emptied as he succumbed to the pain that dogged him day and night. He was now in “the void,” which had become his “new normal.”
Jim’s confidant told him to not be so hard on himself. Expectations can be much different from reality. Just because his pain was gone, he shouldn’t – all of a sudden – expect to feel on top of the world. After all, his menu had been erased. It would take time to add back to it, and once again make it the rich menu of life that would lead him back to fullness and joy.
Jim tried to be kind to himself. He added one thing at a time to his menu, and soon his enthusiasm and zest for life returned. It was a slow process, just as it was when things dropped off the menu due to his pain. He learned to say, “yes,” to invitations again; to venture further and further from his sick-bed. One item at a time, he began refilling his menu with choices for living. As his menu filled, “the void” disappeared into his memory.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: The signs and symptoms of depression are similar to those described in this post. People should seek professional help immediately if they feel depressed. Depression can lead to suicide.