NAVIGATING THE SPACES WITHIN, AND BETWEEN When loss hits us–we enter ‘the great unknown’. And at some point, or another, we all face this. How we face it shapes our lives in so many ways. The space between jobs, friends, relationships, homes–anything, in fact–is fraught. There’s no solid ground because in that space nothing is certain. There are no rules, and life is unpredictable. I wish I knew what I know now, that the best thing to do in that space is NOTHING. Well, nothing aside from walking, writing, thinking and going about your daily routine! Transition time is not the time to make major life changes or big decisions because you don’t yet know the lay of the land. If you make big changes from this space, you shake up the snow globe of life. This can plunge you into deep confusion while you wait for the snowflakes to settle. You also don’t owe anyone an explanation for your downtime while you’re in transition. You’re not a robot; you’re a human being. If people can’t understand that it’s unhealthy to be productive and motivated 24/7–then wish them well in their bewilderment and continue walking your personal path. Don’t feel pressured into publicly voicing feelings that you’re still unravelling privately in your journal. This extends to social media. Despite what some experts may say, you are under no obligation to share anything (at all!) Plus, it can be far more authentic to write nothing when you’re in chaos and confusion or are simply unsure. Only share when YOU are ready to share. And choose carefully who you share your innermost thoughts with. Sadly, there are some unpleasant people out there who will encourage you to share so that they have ammunition to hurt you with, later. They want you to share so they know where your weak spots are. This way, they can exploit you when you’re off-guard. Sociopaths and narcissists come dressed in the nicest clothing, and they don’t always make their presence known. That’s why, in the midst of loss and grief, you need self-love more than ever. You need to hone your inner wisdom and your inner voice. You need a strong sense of what is true and what is not. So never be afraid to bide your time, and to make your journal your first port of call before you venture outwards. Exercise: Creating your loss list So, what have you lost, that you feel is significant enough to put in writing? Remember, you don’t have to share this with anyone, but it can be anything from a former friend you used to have raucous nights out with, to a gorgeous scarf you left on the train. It could be the body you had before you gave birth to a child. It could be a childhood pet, or the loss of a person–someone deeply significant. For example, I still find it difficult to reconcile the fact that I donated my beautiful blue guitar to a charity shop before moving to Oslo. It was a highly practical decision–I mean, I didn’t actually play the thing! But I had been with my mum when I bought it at The Ideal Home Show, and it seemed like a little piece of her. Create a loss list, of some big and small things you feel you need to process. In the same way that you compiled your joy list in chapter three, you could go around your house and flat–this time sensing what’s missing. Or you can do a mind-map or brainstorm lots of losses and home in on five, initially, that you want to work with. My invitation to you is to do object writing on these things–whether they are objects or not (see chapter three for full instructions for how to do this). In this way, you both honour them, and also uncover thoughts, feelings and ideas that you perhaps hadn’t realised that you had associated with these losses. The aim of this exercise is to view these losses through the lens of creativity and, in turn, begin to transmute them so that you can heal. And remember no loss is too small to be healed from. Small things can make a massive difference to how turbulent life feels. When it comes to loss and grief, eventually clarity comes out of chaos. But first you have to bathe yourself in the intention of love. When we’ve lost something out there, the only way back is to find what’s missing inside. And writing is invaluable for doing this.