When I was pregnant with my third child, my yoga teacher talked a lot about those agonising last few weeks as you near your due date. You’re heavily pregnant, you’re sick of being heavily pregnant, you can’t wait to meet your baby but you’re also aware that life’s going to get crazy when your baby finally comes. She called it the ‘zwischen time’, from the German word for ‘in between’. She counselled me to try and enjoy it, when I still only had two children, to be present to all the emotions that were surfacing and to get as much rest as I could. I wish I could say I listened. Instead, I anxiously counted down the days, analysing every ache and pain, thinking I was going into labour. I drove myself crazy and exhausted myself and cried hot tears of frustration when I passed the 40 week mark and Baby was in no hurry to make an appearance. Even when I finally did go into labour, Third Child was not going to be persuaded by a pushy midwife and took his own merry time to be born.
And of course, miraculously now he’s two years old. Where did the time go?
I feel myself in another ‘zwischen time’, a waiting time, an in between time, in my creative life. My first novel is currently being read by a literary agent, I’ve just auditioned for a lovely theatre role and I’m waiting for news. It’s tempting to check the email every five minutes and thankfully, I know better than to call up and ask for an update. It’s kind of nail biting, but I’m learning, slowly, to breathe into the discomfort. Sometimes I fall into old patterns of behaviour that are not helpful, old addictions and habits that only make the agony worse. But there are moments when I manage to stay present and wait patiently
I’m reading Mary Oliver’s poetry a lot these days. Her recent collection, Felicity, is like a prayerbook of sorts. She speaks Soul fluently and when I find myself climbing the walls, her grounded beautiful words are a real balm.
Here’s one that I keep returning to. I hope you might find it comforting, if you find yourself in a zwischen time and need a little perspective.
“Things take the time they take.
How many roads did St. Augustine follow before he became St. Augustine?”