Wordle is a lot like life.
Some days it's a breeze and others a slog. Some days I am surprised by my own cleverness and other days I feel frustrated by my inability to perform brilliantly. Sometimes the challenge feels interesting and inspiring and other times I have little interest in trying.
Nonetheless, it has become a cherished activity in my daily life.
I often wake up and play before getting out of bed; a sort of brain challenge/affirmation to begin my day.
I love words; writing them, reading them, hearing them, and stringing them together in unique and meaningful ways. I look forward to finding out what the Wordle word is each day and I take a moment and try to relate it to something in my own life, creating an affirmation of sorts to guide me through the day.
Last week, CHARM was one of the words. Its sweetness bounced around in my head for the entire day, urging me to be charming and to experience other people’s charm throughout the day. It was lighthearted and gentle and doable.
Other words are heavier, more complicated, and often don’t resonate.
But there’s value in finding (or even creating) a connection even when it isn’t obvious.
Today’s word INTER is haunting; “to deposit a dead body in the earth”. Death, and the pain, loss, grief, questioning, and sadness that goes along with it, have played a significant role in my life in the last 18 months as both my younger brother and my dad have died. Yesterday was my youngest brother’s birthday and it brought up some unresolved grief from his untimely death sixteen years ago, on the very same day I adopted my daughter.
I did not want to do any more mulling over death.
But there’s another definition to INTER and, despite the fact that a prefix is likely not Wordle-permissible, I am choosing to contemplate this alternate definition. Why? Because INTER, as a prefix, speaks to me.
I have been in a strange state these last few months and truthfully, have been unable to share about it because I haven’t found the right words.
But when I guessed INTER (in four tries), I felt a stirring inside me.
Miriam Webster offers a number of definitions of INTER, several of which struck home for me. INTER means between, in the midst of, within, shared by, located between, occurring between, and existing between. Maybe it resonates with me, not in spite of it, but because it is not a word at all, but merely a prefix.
What is this sensation of “existing or occurring between”?
What exactly am I in the midst of?
What can I learn from this time of in-betweenness?
I am in the midst of grieving my brother’s death as well as my father’s death.
I am in between having the day-to-day responsibilities for children, as I have for 30 years, and getting ready to send my youngest off to college in a year.
I am in between being a friend to my son’s fiancé and becoming a mother-in-law when they marry.
I am in between a 40-year career in law and business and a burgeoning career in coaching and stress management consulting.
I am in between a Covid-centric life and a post-Covid existence.
The in-betweenness feels like waiting, wondering, treading water, being unsettled and unsure.
What are you in between right now?
What does that in-betweenness feel like to you?
The more I think about it, the more I realize that in a sense, everything is an in-between; we are always between what was and what will be.
Perhaps what is needed is, what is always helpful; a perspective shift.
Maybe in-betweenness is nothing that needs figuring out or moving beyond. Maybe the sense of being in the midst of something is just that- being in the midst of whatever is happening.
Perhaps it’s not a mystery at all.
Rather, this in-betweenness can be a critical reminder that life is happening right this moment and there’s nothing to do, change, contemplate, figure out or fight for. A time of in-betweenness is an experience in and of itself. It’s actually just life.
In the words of Arabi, the great Sufi mystic, 'there’s only in betweenness.’
In the poem In Betweenness, Pierre Joris inquires into this:
is it a good thing to find two empty pages between the day before yesterday & yesterday when trying to make room for the blue opera afternoon of today a sunday like any sunday in may? there is no one could tell or judge though my own obsession with the in between should dictate the answer & thus let me rejoice at being able to insert today between the day before yesterday & yesterday as if it were the yeast of night allowed these spaces to open (do not say holes to grow) in the spongy tissue of this my papery time-space discon- tinuum— leaven of earth leaven of writing of running writing to earth in these in betweenesses that now please as much as the opera in ear that asks que dieu vous le rende dans l’autre monde but the desire is to stay right here in this world this in between even as the sound changes the radio sings son vada o resti intanto non partirai di qua exactly my feeling sheltered on these pages now filled and pushing up against yesterday
In-betweenness has much to teach us.
We need to listen carefully to what is happening on the inside, what beliefs we have, what judgments we are making about ourselves, our decisions, and our state of being. We need to let go of all of the criticism, the wishing that things were different and allow ourselves to dwell in the openness, the uncertainty, the waiting.
As Claude Debussy wrote, “music is the space between the notes.”
What is the space between the notes of your life?
What is it whispering to you?
Let us all listen to the quiet and learn to hear the music being composed during our times of in-betweenness.
Wordle continues to offer me food for thought on a daily basis.
I giggled when I figured out today’s Wordle word. Isn’t a loud cry of joy or exuberance, a WHOOP, exactly what we need from time to time, particularly when we are in a time of heaviness and in-betweenness? Just saying the word WHOOP changes one’s mood! Try it. See how it feels, how it lifts the spirit a little!
But no matter where you are in your life, what you are feeling, what you can handle at the moment, lean into that. You are doing everything perfectly when you are listening to yourself. Stay open and stay connected.
Being in an in-between state may bring us closer to our true nature.
As Ram Pass says, “we’re all just walking each other home,” finding wholeness, knowing who we are, and finally, coming home to ourselves.
With love and light,