Living through the Meantime: Learning to Break the Patterns of the Past and Begin the Healing Processby Iyanla Vanzant
Are you in the Meantime?
Are you confused, angry, disappointed, frustrated, anxious,/i>/i>/i>
From the host of the OWN TV show, Iyanla: Fix My Life, the companion workbook to Iyanla Vanzant’s #1 New York Times bestseller In the Meantime provides an easy, step-by-step program to help you begin the healing process after facing adversity.
Are you in the Meantime?
Are you confused, angry, disappointed, frustrated, anxious, apprehensive, sorry for yourself, or generally wiped out? If so, my friend, you are in the meantime.
Are you ready to put the pieces of your life together? Are you ready to begin the process of healing? Are you ready to give and receive love in all of your experiences?
In Living Through the Meantime, bestselling author Iyanla Vanzant will lead you, step-by-step, to a greater understanding of your own past, your motivations, and your desires. Once you have completed this program of meditation, self-care, and self-examination, you will be able to move beyond your meantime experience and into the love that is your true essence.
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Read an Excerpt
Entering The Meantime
welcome! Chances are, if you have put forth the effort and energy to find this book, you are in the "meantime." I welcome you because I know something wonderful is about to happen -- in your life and for you.
You probably think your life or some part of it is falling apart. The truth of the matter is everything is about to come together just the way you have always wanted it to!
The objective of this meantime workbook is to help you put the pieces of your life together -- the missing pieces, the broken pieces, the confusing pieces, and the lost pieces. We are going to go through every inch of your emotional and spiritual house
and clean up the mess, clear out the debris, fix the leaks, stop the
squeaks, and reveal and repair any damage we can find. This workbook is designed to support you while you do the work required to build a solid structure that is grounded in love. Let me warn you right now, it may not be easy! But then, you knew that, didn't you?
The meantime is a working time. It is the 9-5 of your life to which you bring all that you have studied, learned, been told, understand, and recognize about yourself and life. The meantime is a time of strengthening that knowledge so that it can work through you and for you. The meantime is where you land when you saw it coming, did not know what to do about it, ran around frantically for a while, and finally said, "Okay! Okay! I don't like it, but I am willing to deal with it!" Willingness is the key that transforms a character-developing experience into a soul-enhancing one. At the core of your soul is the essence of love.
In the meantime, you get to deal with all the pieces of your experience that you do not like, but are at least willing to understand. Understanding is the ticket through the meantime. Every step or misstep you have ever taken has led to this moment. You are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to be doing in order to move into a higher consciousness. This is the place you had to come to in order to "bump" your life up to the next level. The meantime is about pumping up the volume -- the volume of love you are willing to give and receive.
In the midst of the meantime, it may appear that you are standing on shaky ground. The truth is you are standing on Holy Ground. Oh by the way, did I mention that the meantime is grounded in truth? The truth of who you are, the truth about what you do, the truth about what you want, the truth about what you see, the truth about what you know, and the truth about what you do not know. Furthermore, in the midst of the meantime experience, there is the truth about your ability to recognize each of these, and it is this truth that ultimately determines how you make it through whatever you are going through.
In the meantime, you are engaged in a Holy Healing process which your soul signed up for because, at the deepest level of your soul, you know that love is the only way to get what you really want. In the meantime, you will have to work through your stuff.
A feeling is the energy that moves you in one direction or another. If you get stuck in a feeling, you won't move in any direction at all. What you are feeling determines the kind of work you must do to make it through the meantime. The following is a basic guideline you can use to figure out where you live.
you are doing basement work if you are feeling disappointed, betrayed, rejected, and/or like where you are is someone's fault. You've got a problem, but you don't know it.
you are doing first-floor work if you are feeling angry, frightened, confused, unhappy, and/or apprehensive, or believe your life is falling apart. You've got a problem, but you don't know what it is.
you are doing second-floor work if you are ending a relationship that you don't want to end, leaving employment that you didn't have the courage to leave, going back to school, moving to a new location just to get away from the old one, opening a business because you got kicked out of your job, and/or facing a serious health challenge because of lack of self-care. You've got a problem, you know what it is, but you don't know what to do about it.
you are stuck between the second and third floors if you are asking Why me??? Why now??? Why should I??? How come??? How can I??? When will it end??? When will it begin??? What the heck is going on??? You've got a problem, you know what it is, you know what to do about it, but you are afraid to do it.
you are doing third-floor work if you are seeking closure to dysfunctional relationships, ready to forgive people you've been in relationships with, ready to forgive yourself for staying in relationships and situations you knew you had no business being in, and/or you are ready to assume full responsibility for every aspect of your life. You don't have problems. You have challenges, and you feel perfectly equipped to handle them.
you are doing attic work if you are feeling or saying I am grateful! I am hopeful! I am ready! I am open!
Just to be on the safe side, let's take a quick inventory to make sure that this is the book you need.
You are in the meantime if:
- You are confused, angry, disappointed, frustrated about something that has happened in your life.
- You have just been fired, left, divorced, had surgery, or been released from prison.
- You feel anxious, apprehensive, beat up, beat down, sorry for yourself, unhappy with yourself, numb, or generally wiped out.
If, however, you are in rage, depression, seeking vengeance or revenge; if you are seeing red, black, or green at the thought of a particular person or situation, you are not in the meantime. You are in a valley!
A valley experience is very different from a meantime situation. When you are in a valley, you are having an experience that fosters character development. When you find yourself in a valley, it is because you have missed the boat! You have displayed either an inability or an unwillingness to examine and accept the truth about yourself. You are learning a lesson that you missed because you insisted on "having it your way" or "doing your thing," even when you knew that your way would not work. If you are in a valley you are probably crying in anger, breaking dishes, talking really badly about someone, and being a victim -- again! You probably sound something like this, "I gave my all and got messed over -- again!" Or, "I bent over backwards trying to do it right, only to be overlooked, left, mistreated -- again!"
If you find yourself in a miserable experience you swore you would never be in again, chances are you didn't see it coming. Not because you couldn't see it, but because you didn't want to see it. Now that what you saw and refused to accept has bitten you on the butt, you are really, really, really pissed off! It's called pissosity! That is the state in which most valley dwellers find themselves before they become aware that there is work to be done. They are either comatose or in a highly agitated state of pissosity.
If this clearly or closely describes your current state of being, I humbly suggest that you go back and read The Value in the Valley: A Black Woman's Guide Through Life's Dilemmas. Do not get hung up on the fact that you may not be black or that you may not be a woman. Read it anyway! I can almost guarantee that there is something you need to know about yourself in the pages of that book.
If you are actually in a valley, you may find there is a little help for you in this workbook; however, you must be willing to do the work required. This means no more blaming. Blaming is pointing out there, rather than in here, into your own mind, when you find yourself in a painful or uncomfortable experience. Blame means shifting the responsibility for where you are onto someone or something else, rather than accepting responsibility for your role in the experience.
A meantime experience is a very different experience. When you are in the meantime, you are hurt, but you are not blaming anyone else unless you are in the basement. You will know you are in the basement if you are ready to feel better by any means necessary. You are angry, but you are willing to forgive, even if forgiving means acknowledging that you made a mistake, a poor choice, or a big boo-boo. You are confused, but you have not pulled the covers up over your head, refusing to come out until someone or something has its head ripped off.
If you are able to show even the slightest degree of willingness to work on yourself, you may find solace in these pages. Otherwise, until you become willing to work through some of the anger, pissosity, and blaming, you are going to find that it is very hard to do the healing work required. But, I will leave it up to you to decide where you are and where you want to be.
In the meantime, you are asking: What? What can I do? What did I do? What should I do? What am I learning? You are asking: How? How can I stop this cycle? How did I get here? How come...? You are asking: Why? Why am I here? Why is this happening? Why this? Why now? This is a very different scenario from the valley scenario. When you are in the valley, the only thing you are asking is "Why me?!" You are also placing more emphasis on the me, as opposed to the why. This is precisely why the meantime is a very different experience. You have come to the meantime to evolve, not to develop; to get clear, not to find your eyes! More specifically, you have come to the meantime to learn about love.
Love does not hurt. It gently guides you to where you need to be at any given time in your life. Love is not out to crush you. Love opens your eyes, clears your mind, and above all, opens your heart to a greater experience of yourself. Now, I will admit that there are those situations when it appears that love has left you high and dry on the desert, without so much as a thimbleful of water. That is, however, just an appearance. Things are rarely as they appear to be, and the purpose of a meantime experience is to move you beyond appearances to the true essence of you: love.
If you are not giving and receiving love in all of your life's experiences, you will find yourself in one meantime experience after another. To move from one level of consciousness to another, from one level of self-awareness to another, you must be grounded in love, you must engage in loving behavior. In this workbook, you will repeatedly be asked if you have engaged in loving behavior, or if you have acted out a habitual thought pattern, such as fear, greed, or the most common of human behaviors, unconsciousness. Under all circumstances, life expects us to behave in a loving manner, whether we are conscious or not. I hope the work you will do in this book will support you in maintaining a loving consciousness.
For reference, whether you make it through the work in this book or not, the most loving way you can behave through any experience is:
- Ask for exactly what you want.
- Tell the absolute truth about what you want.
- Clearly let others involved know your expectations of them.
- Ask for clarity about what is expected of you.
- Tell the absolute truth about your ability to live up to the expectations of others.
- Renegotiate any agreements you have made if you find that you're unable to keep the agreement.
- Honor what you feel, first to yourself, then to others around you.
- Remain open to hearing what others want and expect without feeling you have to do anything about it.
- Never dishonor or deny yourself or what you feel simply to please someone else.
- Be willing to surrender (give up) what you want or expect when surrendering it serves a greater purpose, such as healing or generating more love.
- Be willing to forgive people for the things they do or fail to do in fear or anger.
- Be willing to forgive yourself for the things you do in fear or in anger.
- Bless every experience and ask that Divine will and understanding be granted to you and others.
This workbook is designed to support you as you examine and explore the situations that brought you to the meantime experience. At first, some topics may seem to have no relevance to your situation or experience. TRUST THE PROCESS! All is relevant, and as you go through the process, all you need to know will be revealed.
The idea behind meantime work is to save yourself from having the same meantime experience in the future. Something you are thinking, believing, saying, or doing is taking you away from your heart's desire. Our goal is to get to the heart of the matter in order to find love that you can give away, in order to receive. Your objective is to identify the contributing elements of your meantime situation and break them down into bite-size pieces that you can ingest and digest. You will do a great deal of writing so that you can get clear and be clear before you make another move or give birth to more of what you do not want to experience.
There are a few things you can do to make your healing process more effective in the meantime:
You have never done anything wrong. Now you can forgive yourself for ever believing that you did. Oh by the way, everyone else you have ever encountered is as innocent of wrongdoing as you are! (Take a breath! You will understand what I mean later.)
Because you are a unique and divine expression of God (known by whatever name you are comfortable with), you are worthy and can be trusted, because you really know what to do.
You deserve a kind word, a good thought, a loving gesture every now and then, so give them to yourself!
Stop criticizing, judging, denying, and second guessing what you feel and who you are!
Get lots of rest. Eat good healthy foods! Spend some quiet time alone with you. And, don't forget to have some fun! Playing is a big part of a good life.
Take some part of each day and use it to take one step toward accomplishing a daily, weekly, or monthly goal!
You are the one that the world is waiting for! You are so precious to life, you must make it a high priority to let you know that you are loved, needed, and wanted by God!
This workbook is a healing process designed to help you remember what you forgot; become conscious of the things you may not now be conscious of; and to get to know parts of yourself that you don't know. To accomplish any or all of this is a process!!! Do not try to rush through this book. You will fall! You will crash! Healing takes time, so feel free to take as much time as you need to complete the work in this book.
You may find it is easier to use a notebook or journal to do the actual work. In this way you can reuse a particular page as often as you feel it's necessary. Please feel free to do and redo the same worksheet as many times as necessary to get to higher ground, a deeper feeling of peace, or to gain more clarity. As you are writing, honor what you feel.
Your feelings are the keys you need to unlock the mystery of your meantime experience. If at any time, whether you are doing a worksheet or not, you become overwhelmed by a need to express what you are feeling, you can use your journal to vent, capture, cleanse, and heal the experience. Whether you are angry, sad, excited, happy, confused, frustrated, or highly pissed off, you must vent. It is good for the soul. Venting also helps you to get clear about what you are feeling in the privacy of your own mind before you bite someone else's head off!
It is also advisable to use a pencil rather than a pen, because as you get clear, you may need to add or subtract from your response. Know that whatever you decide to do is fine.
To complete one exercise a day is wonderful. It would be even better if you complete one every three or four days. In this way you give your mind and soul the opportunity to integrate and heal whatever you may discover or uncover.
You may work through the book in any manner you choose. You may follow the order of the book, doing one exercise at a time. You may zero in on one issue or a particular area, and complete that work first. You may just open the book and begin working in a particular section. You have many, many options. If, however, at any time you are working in this book and find that you feel afraid, overwhelmed, or that your mind has gone blank, STOP! Take a few deep breaths. Stretch your body and take a drink of water before you go any further.
I hope that in the process of working through this book, you will have many revelations. You may realize that things you have done have not been in your best interest. When this happens, you may be overwhelmed with the feeling that you have "done it wrong." If or when this happens, take a breath. Take a long, deep breath! You are not nor have you ever been wrong. You may have been unconscious at a particular moment, but you are never wrong! Remember, where you are is exactly where you need to be in order to get to where you want to go. Breathing deeply and releasing fear will help you get to where you want to be.
If at any time when you are working in this book, you feel that you cannot breathe or that your breathing has become labored, STOP! Close the book. Take a nice hot bath or shower. You can try again at another time. Your body knows how much you can do. Do not push yourself. That is not a very loving thing to do when you are healing.
Before you begin any exercise, be sure you have adequate time to complete an entire process. Select a time and place where you will not be disturbed. You may want to take a relaxing bath first. It may also be helpful to have some soothing music playing. Also, give yourself permission to participate fully in this process and experience whatever comes up for you. If you feel the need to stomp, scream, cry, laugh, or throw something unbreakable -- GO FOR IT! You are safe! You are allowed! Just remember to breathe. Love is always around you. Breathing allows you to take in as much love as you need.
Each section of the workbook also provides a Caring Exercise to be used before you begin and when you end a workbook exercise. The purpose of caring for yourself before and after an exercise is to avoid the possibility of drowning in a sea of fear, anger, or confusion. It is necessary so that you do not become overwhelmed by the information that is revealed as you move through the workbook pages. The purpose of caring for yourself at the end of an exercise is to support the integration of what you discover, remember, or realize in the process. Beginning and ending with the Caring Exercise is a good way to coordinate your healing steps with the day-to-day activity of your life.
There is also a Glossary at the back of the book. The purpose of the glossary is to assist you in understanding what you are working with, what you are working through, and what you are working toward. If you are not clear about how you can transform your choices or approaches to a particular situation, the glossary will help you make a loving choice.
On some pages, you will be asked to write with your nondominant hand. This means, if you are right-handed, you will write with your left hand. If you are left-handed, you will write with your right hand. The purpose of this is to reprogram the conscious mind about the issue you are healing. Completing these particular exercises will require focus and energy. The greater the energy you put forth, the greater the healing that will occur. Do not get hung up about what the writing looks like or whether or not you can read it. This is not an art project! It is a healing process. Healing requires focused energy and effort.
You may find throughout the process that there is something you want to write, but you simply can't find the words. At these times, you will find it helpful to stimulate the Trigger Points of the brain.
1. If you are right-handed, gently place your second and third fingers over the center of your left eyebrow. Place your thumb over your right eyebrow. If you are left-handed, place your second and third fingers over your right eyebrow. Place your thumb over your left eyebrow.
2. Gently massage these areas for about thirty seconds while thinking about what you truthfully want to write.
3. If you find that the words still do not pop into your mind, use the list of trigger words on the following page to support your description and experience.
Accessible Creative Inviting Self-reliant
Affectionate Daring Kind Sensitive
Agreeable Debonaire Lighthearted Serene
Alert Dependable Loving Sexy
Assured Determined Loyal Sincere
Attentive Enthusiastic Mature Soothing
Available Fair Objective Spiritual
Bold Firm Open Spontaneous
Brave Flexible Open-minded Stable
Bright Frank Persuasive Strong
Calm Gallant Playful Sunny
Caring Gentle Pleased Supportive
Cautious Giving Polite Tactful
Certain Glad Precise Tender
Cheerful Grateful Proud Thrifty
Cheery High-spirited Reassuring Tolerant
Concerned Hilarious Reliable Tranquil
Confident Honest Respectful Trusting
Connected Humble Responsible Virtuous
Content Independent Safe Vivacious
Cordial Inquisitive Satisfied Warm
Courageous Inspired Secure Wise
just a prayer away!
If at any time you need support, or guidance in the form of prayer, 24-hour help is available to you. The following nondenominational prayer services have staff available to hear your concerns and to pray with you. (These are not counseling services, they are prayer services.) When you reach out to these services, someone will pray with you regarding a challenge you may be experiencing. Prayer changes things! As you pray and are prayed for, things will change for you.
If you get a recording, press 1 for the Prayer Line.
This workbook is not meant to be the end-all, do-all for you. It is designed to support you in identifying the things you do that could be done in a more loving way. Do not assume, even if you are in the meantime, that you are worse off than anyone else. There may be some exercises you may not immediately relate to. There may be some questions that seem totally irrelevant. That's fine! This workbook is designed to make you think and to simplify the process of making better choices in your life in general and in relationships specifically. By the end of the process, you will realize you are the Beloved. Throughout the process, you will get clear about who the Beloved is and what the Beloved does. As you move into a greater awareness of yourself, by acknowledging what you do and accepting yourself just as you are without judgment or criticism, a more loving state of mind unfolds in you and the Beloved comes into full view.
I wish for you loving days, loving experiences, and a loving state of mind. You are the Beloved and all that you are, I AM!
Copyright © 2001 by Inner Visions Worldwide Network, Inc.
Meet the Author
With more than 8 million books in print, Iyanla Vanzant has truly established a dedicated fan base.
Iyanla's path to success took her through a multitude of life-changing experiences that shaped the profound insights she eagerly shares with others. A neglected, overweight, sexually abused child who was shuttled from one family to another, she became a teenage mother on welfare living in the projects of a major urban city. Vanzant took control of her life when she walked out of her second abusive marriage and entered Medgar Evers College in New York and then the City University of New York Law School. She moved to Philadelphia with her children and became a public defender for three years. Then she eventually became an ordained minister, who was committed to a message based on the principles of divine power and self-determination.
Iyanla combined her professional skills with her life's lessons and embarked on a writing and speaking career. Her mass appeal is evident in her overwhelming success as an author. In the Meantime was a #1 New York Times bestseller, where it spent 20 weeks on the list, and she has had numerous other major bestsellers. As a nationally recognized speaker she has sold out such prestigious venues as New York's Jacob Javits Convention Center, Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, Atlanta's Civic Center, and the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Vanzant is also familiar to the daytime TV audience from her role as a regular contributor on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Acclaimed journalist and producer Barbara Walters recognized Vanzant's extraordinary appeal, seeing in her a "breakaway talent" with the potential for huge success in daytime television. With Walters and partner Bill Geddie on board to executive produce, Buena Vista Productions to develop the show, and Buena Vista Television as distributor, the road to Iyanla was forged.
Vanzant has received numerous accolades for her work. In 1992 Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley named October 21st "Tapping the Power Within Day" in honor of a workshop she presented in that city for African-American women. In 1994, the National Association of Equal Opportunity in Education, an organization comprised of the presidents and administrators of the 117 predominantly Black colleges in the United States named her Alumni of the Year. She also was awarded an "Oni" by the International Congress of Black Women as one of the nation's unsung heroes, and she served as the national spokesperson for Literacy Volunteers of America in 1998.
In 1999 she was listed among the 100 Most Influential African-Americans by Ebony magazine. Later that year, she was awarded the 31st NAACP Image Award for "Outstanding Literary Work, Non-Fiction" for Yesterday I Cried. She also earned her first Honorary Doctorate degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from the City University of New York, Medgar Evars College. In 2000, she earned her second honorary degree, Doctor of Divinity, from the Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, Ebony has named her one of their "55 Most Intriguing People," Vibe magazine tabbed her one of "100 Leaders of the New Millennium" and Newsweek recently included her as one of the "Women of the New Century."
The mother of three and grandmother of four, Vanzant lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband Adeyemi and Mr. Coco, their cat.
To learn how Iyanla can help you get started on your journey toward spiritual enlightenment, visit Inner Visions Worldwide, Inc., at
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is the second book I have read of hers so far. I read In The Meantime some time ago. I guess I just wasn't ready to take the journey then. After suffering through what has been the hardest year of my life I decided to try once more. Living thru the meantime takes you on a self guided road of emotional recovery. I have never been so mentally healthy before. I wish more people would open themselves up and see what Iyanla can do to help them lead a better life.
Iyanla Vanzant is a great writer, who really gets down to the core of many situations or blockers that stop us from growing as human beings. I love this book, I have the print copy, but must get the ecopy for my Nook. It is the the type of book you will never get tired of reading!
I love anything Iyanla Vanzant writes....to the point, no pity party for her....She tells it like it is...and how to get on with your spiritual life and journey
I read this book and it truly changed my life. As a Christian I used the exercises in this book along with scriptures to highten my understanding of love. This book not only helped me understand myself better, it helped me understand God as well. And to accept His love for me in a way that I hadn't before.
At the time I read this novel, I was convinced that it had to work for me. I followed the steps and guidelines to healing. I practiced writing with my non-dominant hand as the writer suggested, but the healing just didnt last. Only by God's grace have I come to realize that meditation, the psychics, and all forms of healing cannot heal the soul. Only when you accept Jesus into your life can complete and life long healing take place in your life. When I was baptised in Jesus's name is when I was delivered from anxiety, anxiety attacks, slight depression, low self esteem, and feeling incomplete without a mate. Try Jesus, he is willing and more than able to help you.