Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Messy Middle

Yesterday, I was reading Buddha's Brain by Rick Hanssen, and I was struck by his description of the stages of learning. He defined them as unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and unconscious competence.

It reminded me of Harry Wong's stages of classroom management that I wrote about in my posts on surviving and experiencing mastery as a parent. But, as usually happens with ideas, I spiralled deeper into it this time.

Unconscious incompetence. It's the worst. It's when we're most likely to quit something, including mindful meditation, because we realize we suck, and IT SUCKS to suck.  I get it. With my deepest core.

Then, today, i was reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown (Yes, I'm reading both at the same time. Shut up. I'm also reading Rick Riordan's The Red Pyramid, but so far that one is less relevant to the story).

And the chapter that I turned to was about how you can't skip Day 2.

Day 2, the point of no return, it sucks. It's when you feel the most vulnerable because you know you can't go back to how things were, but you don't have the skills yet to do things right.

Damn it, universe.

I want to quit writing.  I have for a while. I had a taste of success, a taste of being seen, of saying things that were important and mattered. Of creating something which made me feel proud.

But now, here I am in the middle. The doubt that Brene talks about when she discusses her meeting at Pixar, it's so real and so universal. What if the NEXT thing I write isn't good? What if I never write anything good again? I don't want to be here, I don't want to be vulnerable. I don't want to suck at this, to feel helpless and incompetent.

Guys. I could spend years in the middle, knowing that I needed to do something and not knowing how to do it. I don't want to be here anymore.

So maybe the only way out is forward.


  1. Huge hugs. The middle part sucks. It really does. The only way out is through. I heard that today in a podcast. It really resonated with me. Let's hold hands and wade through the messy middle together.

    1. Can I get in on the hand holding? Because whatever I am in the middle of is really not a place I want to stay.

  2. Wonderful blog! I truly love how it’s easy on my eyes as well as the info are well written.

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  3. It's messy in the middle, but you're not there alone. Extends hand, pulls you forward.

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