Are you in The Middle?

It was early July 2018 and time to write my book, Upside-Down Messenger. I’d told the world that it would be out in September, and my deadline for completing the manuscript was fast-approaching.

But I was stuck.

Sit down. Type a few words.
Get stuck. Leave the office.

What is my problem? It’s not like I haven’t told this story before, for heaven’s sake. 

I sat in meditation.
I took walks.
I called friends to work through st*ry blocks.

Then, my oldest friend called to tell me she was watching a series and kept feeling like she needed to tell me to check it out. Our history of working through classic books and epic tales together made it impossible for me to ignore her recommendation, even after I looked at the trailer and thought, Why the hell would I watch this? Time travel? Ugh. Fine, I’ll try it.

I begged my favorite story junkie buddy—my fifteen-year-old son—to watch it with me on the nights his dad was working. (I love that he’s always game for a good story and movie-style treats.)

One episode in, my heart knew the answer was in this story
but my head didn’t know what in the world it could be.
Two episodes in, my head was starting to spin—
trying to piece together the puzzle that was being offered
through various moments in time.
One season in, my brain felt like it was melting—
struggling to keep track of the characters and timelines,
and also stay present so I didn’t miss the lesson I knew was coming.
Two seasons in, my kiddo complained about our pace:
“Mom, my brain feels like it’s on fire. Why are we watching so much at a time?”
Three seasons in, I was starting to doubt my sanity.
Maybe I’m just crazy. Or maybe this story is making me crazy!
It was the last season, only (cough) two weeks after we’d started the show
(please don’t count how many episodes and hours we spent daily),
and we were just feeling like we had it figured out when the plot twisted on us.

“Aaron, we have to finish this. Just a few more episodes, please!” I turned to face him, pleading desperately—not lost to the fact that it seemed our roles had reversed. Remember the days when he begged me for one more episode or movie when I needed to go to bed?

He shook his head resignedly. “Mom, I know you are desperate for your answer, but I have school tomorrow. I guess you could finish it by yourself tonight if you have to…?”

“No,” I sighed. “You’re right. We need to sleep.” I kissed him on the cheek and we said goodnight.

But I couldn’t sleep.
My mind raced.
My heart ached.

I went to the guest bedroom, so I wouldn’t keep hubby awake with my very loud thoughts.

Lying in the soft bed, I stared into the darkness. What does time travel have to do with my book?

Immediately, I remembered something I’d said to Ursula in an interview I’d done with her just a few months before: “Every time I had an inspiration for the next thing I was going to create, it was as if I time-traveled to the moment of its manifestation in the future; so when I came back to the present moment, I knew it was going to happen and just kept taking the next steps toward that future moment.”

My body tingled all over. It did feel like I was time traveling. Maybe that’s part of the answer?

My mind was finally satisfied enough to let me sleep, and I had plenty of projects to keep it busy the next day while I waited for my story buddy to finish school.

“Okay, Mom. Let’s get this answer,” he said as he plopped onto the couch with his dinner and pressed the PLAY button.

We were just a few episodes away from the end when it happened.

One of the characters was talking to another one who was being hoisted into an ambulance, “You can see time, right? Back to front, like me.” He nodded. She continued, “So, let’s fast forward. Skip to the good part. It’s all right. Keep going. Just a little bit further. We can do the middle later…”

Energy zipped from the top of my head to my toes.

“That was it!” I exclaimed, reaching over to hit pause. “Aaron, that’s what I did!”

He smiled, obviously relieved, even though he didn’t completely understand.

When we finished the show, I kissed him goodnight and then stayed sitting in the dark room, my mind swirling.

That’s what I did. I fast-forwarded to the end. I moved at hyper-speed. 
Yes, there were some ebbs, but most of it was flow, flow, flow. 
Small contractions but big expansions. And that last run was pure magic.

Sitting in my chair, legs crossed under me, I could literally feel it again—the magic pulsating in every cell of my body.

Omg. Yes. I miss this feeling.

Immediately, the sensation was replaced by a deep ache and the true answer to the question: “Why can’t I write this book?”

I’ve avoided writing the book because I don’t want to feel this ache. 
I miss that magic. 

Tears streamed down my face as I thought about how necessary and incredibly painful it was to make the decision to “go back and do The Middle.”

Before I started the journey in 2007, I felt lost, terrified, and powerless. I knew in my head that I was a powerful being, here to move the world forward; but nothing about my circumstance or situation was evidence of it.

Until that first fast-forward—when I saw the series of books, the teacher from The Secret, the bestseller list, and the training company. The magic started and in order to really achieve those goals, I quickly had to do some “middle work,” which included mapping and expressing my wounds and pain in a safe space that I will be forever grateful for.

And then I fast-forwarded again—for three years.

For three years, I unearthed, honed, leveraged, and expanded my superpowers. I grew a business really quickly and organically. I hit bumps in the road, learned lessons, and came out the other end even stronger. I became a trusted guide and collected allies.

I had somehow fast-forwarded to “the best version of myself I’d ever met.” 

She was a courageous badass who created insane goals and somehow achieved them. She was seen, heard, appreciated, and loved. She was the ME I had known was locked away inside of me for a long time.

I believe I’d fast-forwarded to “the end,” so to speak, because I somehow knew I didn’t have the capacity for “The (Real) Middle.” Plus, if I’m honest, I couldn’t even SEE it until I got to the end.

But then, it was time to go back and do The Middle.

How did I know it was time? 

The ability to fast-forward DISAPPEARED.

I had two choices: 1) Try to fake it, or 2) Go back and do The Middle.

Many of my coaches encouraged me to hit the accelerator and go to the next “end,” but I just couldn’t. There was no way I could wake up every day and help others message and live more true to intention while I faked mine.

So, I let it go and walked cautiously toward The Middle—the place where…

We all have to go to face the deepest st*ries, fears, and wounds
(we can handle at this time) that are keeping us from living true to intention.
We immediately wonder if it’s possible to go back out the way we came in.
We finally see (and then have to figure out how to love) the parts of us
that are not aligned with The Magical End we know is possible.
We feel lonely, even when we know our allies are at the mouth of the cave,
keeping watch and praying for us.
We finally get to drop all of the heavy dreams, expectations,
and masks that were never ours to begin with.
We find out what we’re really made of, who we really are,
and why we’re really here.
We eventually realize that we never really left The Magic
(or The Magic never really left us) because The Wind
will continue to connect with us in the most remarkable ways—
even when we’re sitting on our couch, with our kid,
wondering why we can’t write a book.

It’s been six years since I made the decision to walk into The Middle.

I’m getting less and less afraid of it with each passing day, week, month, and year.

Yes, it’s dark and terrifying, but it’s also beautiful in an upside-down way.

In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if The Middle is my new end—the place where the only job is to keep my eyes and ears open for the next answer or step until The Wind asks me to fast-forward again…

If it ever does.

Maybe It was just trying to get me to The Middle all along.