The messy middle …

And where would be the fun in making something you knew would work*
Neil Gaiman

Lift is created by the onwards rush of life over the curved wing of the soul.**
Robert Macfarlane

… is also the magical middle.

It is also where failure, doubt, uncertainty, frustration, anxiousness, anger, despair and more are to be found.

There is excitement at the beginning and celebration at the end, but Walt Whitman understood how art and work at its best will have “bare spots and darkness:”

no artist or work of the very first class may be or can be without them^.

Yet it is here in the messy middle that something happens to us.

In its basic form, we become more skilled, but in its most extreme expression, we are transformed.

Like setting of from the certainty of one shore for what will become the surety of another, we can feel lost at sea in the equally unfamiliar and challenging middle. It will ask of us both who we are and what we have, and to trust these. It is, then, where we find flow, and as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi encourages:

Following a flow experience, the organisation of the self is more complex than it had been before.  It is by becoming increasingly complex that the self might be said to grow. ^^

*From Neil Gaiman’s Art Matters;
**From Robert Macfarlane’s The Old Ways;
^From Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Beloved Writers on Nature as an Antidote to Depression;
^^From Mihály Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow.

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