Why It’s Easy to Feel Stuck in the Middle

Do you ever feel you’re not moving forward, having a hard time making decisions or simply feel low level anxiety because you’re not exactly where you want to be in life.

T School Coach Tricia Collins and I were discussing this feeling on a recent walk together.  We shared how we each deal with the “dirty middle” and how, these feelings, if left un-examined, can undermine and immobilize us in taking action to simply be present in our choices and lives.

Each month, Tricia and I set goals to hold one another accountable.  It helps us stay on track and remind us of our priorities. One of our December goals was to write a minimum of three short essays on any topic we wanted.  This subject of the “dirty middle” was something we both chose to write about because the more we wrote about it, the more meaning “the middle” it took on for us.   The middle became magical as well as messy.

Here is Tricia’s essay about the middle.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about your “middle.”  I will be sharing mine soon!  Enjoy!

by Tricia Collins

“According to current life expectancy predictions, I’m right about in the middle of my journey on earth. That first half was a mostly muddy one for me. There are a variety of reasons for that (and we all have them), but chronic illness happened to lead the way. Thankfully, I persevered that mud trodden road & dramatically transformed my health. That’s been in just the last few years. Yeah, that’s a story all it’s own. Never would I have imagined that I would like my 40 year old self more than any other trip around the sun.

Considering what I’ve learned and experienced thus far, I find it’s a pretty great spot in the life. I think that healing in one area of my life brought some clarity to the others. Sounds like it’s all settled and the path is clear now, right? Nope. One big change seems to be the catalyst for change in every part of life.

For instance, a change in my career path became inevitable. It was agonizing to trudge through the swamp of details. But, when the day came that I actually quit my job to pursue a new path? Well, it felt like my feet had been released from the marl and I could finally move. Where I was moving next, I only knew was up, out and onward. New and changing careers, family relationships, friendships, spiritual health, physical health and physical location are just a few of the particles swirling around me. You know, the nutrition-of-life kind of stuff. The core-of-life stuff.

Hmm…the stuff that makes ups the middle.

I had risen from the mire, but the waters were still murky. You know, that place in which you are aware but you’re awareness has all kinds of intentions seeking a single point of focus. I’m not quite clear on what I mean here. I’m in in the middle after all.

In sifting through these contemplations, a wise counselor recently told me “You’re in the dirty middle. The waters aren’t muddy, but they aren’t clear yet, right?”.

It made sense and it got me wondering all kinds of things about what exactly the middle meant.

Here is my lineup so far regarding the middle:
* It’s the half-way point of my earthly life existence at 40 years old.
* My birth order of siblings.
* The creme filled goodness of a pastry.
* The dreaded seat on a commercial airplane.
* The highest intensity point in a workout.
* That place between Christmas & New Years when you’ve lost all track of what the heck day of the week it actually is.
* The comfort zone.
* The crossroad between right or wrong, left or right, up or down, action or inaction.
* The crux.
* The edge of the cliff but the difference between solid footing or falling into the unknown.
* The waiting.
* Not the start and certainly not the finish.
* The failing over and over but not starting over.
* Getting right back on my feet and moving forward from where I left off.


The middle is where I am learning. The middle is where I am growing. The middle is where I am gaining strength, knowledge and experience. The middle is where the struggle and questions and practice exists.

The middle is where you dump all your crap out into one gigantic pile and start sorting out what to keep, give away or trash. The middle is where I pull out thoughts crammed in the closets of my brain. It’s where those thoughts are converted to words and shifted like nomads through rough drafts until given permanent residence. It’s this mess of words with an opening line that changed no less than 20 times and could be hundreds of words shorter.

So what brings the still, clear waters? You know, where the sediment settles and the water calms and we can clearly see our path? That dirty middle. It’s the mud that’s dried up from my feet and flung all around me as I wade into deeper and unknown waters. It’s everything. Everything floating and swirling and waiting to take shape. No, where “it” IS taking shape. It’s further from comfort and deeper in vulnerability. I’m not sinking. I’m just… learning to swim through it.

The middle is the darkness with a crack in it, where the light can shine in. It’s where I can now see that Big Idea floating and all its resources too. What I can see clearly is what is right in front of me–this idea of writing. The words are a muddle of the marvelous and mundane.

The middle is this moment where the idea is given life and is happening. It is where I grab that idea and work and wonder and try again and again. Now. It is the present. Ha, it is the treasure.

The middle is the messiness and the edits and the rearranging. It is the wrestling and the wonder weaving our living.”

What are your thoughts on your MIDDLE?  What are you in the “middle” of?  What gifts does living from your middle provide?

Share your thoughts below!  Thank you all!  Thank you Tricia,

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