I was in acting class pretending to be a Russian lady sipping tea in the 16th century. I had rehearsed it a billion times, but (of course) when my whole class was staring at me, I couldn’t help myself – I immediately wanted to bolt. That’s when my teacher yelled out: “Don’t cheat the middle!”
My ears perked up. This felt important.
When you’re a (very) amateur actress, it’s easy to get nervous. Especially when you’re pretending to be a Russian lady in an invisible corset that’s supposed to restrict half your movements. The natural inclination is to go into “fight or flight” mode – trying to get through it as quickly as possible. One-track mind: GET OFF STAGE.
But that’s not really the point. The point of acting is to act. The middle is the point. By “cheating the middle” and bolting toward stage right, you give up the opportunity to act, to tell the story, to do the thing you’re there to do.
It’s the same thing that happens when starting a new project, setting a goal or making a life change. It’s easy to get *really* excited to start and simultaneously *really* want to finish. The middle seems like this long, arduous, sticky process – can’t we just skip the middle and get to the end-result?
“What’s the answer? When will I make it to the finish line? When will I publish that book, get that cool job, meet that guy…” and the list goes on. But this is where we have it wrong. We’re missing out on the whole story when we do that. The transformation doesn’t happen at the beginning nor does it happen at the end. It happens in the middle.
When you choose to embrace the middle, instead of resisting it, the middle will embrace you.
Clarity comes when you stop trying to figure it all out in your head. When you let go of judging your situation or resisting it (which often comes in the form of complaining) and open yourself up by choosing to be here.
Entertain the notion that you are where you’re meant to be now. The middle is not done with you yet. It has a story to tell and it wants to tell it through you. It wants to change and transform you. It wants to surprise you. Let it. You don’t know what it has in store.
That’s not to say you stay in a situation when you’re terribly unhappy. BUT it’s important to either A) act from a place of clarity or B) embrace where you are until you are clear. And oftentimes, that clarity comes from neutralizing the situation – letting go of the judgment, fear and anxiety. Trust your current position.
When we stop resisting life, life stops resisting us. It presents new, exciting twists and turns. That’s when the story gets good. So, don’t cheat the middle – let’s see what happens.