This week we begin our reading of Sefer Bamidbar (Numbers), the tale of our travails in the wilderness. For William Bridges (
) the Israelite's journey from Egypt to the Promised Land
through the Wilderness
forms his metaphor for how to manage transition and change in life. At Hormah (Numbers 14:45) the Israelites discovered that one cannot go from Egypt straight through to the Promised Land - to be in a place of mind compatible with going on to the next step in their journey, they needed to remain forty years in the wilderness.
For Bridges the wilderness - he calls it the "Neutral Zone" - is the transitional space where the old rules no longer apply, and the new rules have yet to be discovered. It is a place of experiment and creativity, trial by error and discovery.
We have left the
old normal, and we don't know what the
new normal will be: we are in the wilderness, right now, in our own homes. We need to remain here, for a while, struggling with the unfolding reality, hopeful that the new normal is even now revealing itself. We will arrive at the
new normal, the Promised Land. I do not know when that will be. But I am confident that if we open ourselves up to the uncertainty and the possibility of our current reality, we will eventually arrive.