Bridging a Significant Gap

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh.” ~ Pema Chodron

There is a wealth of difference between knowing and doing. It’s what separates performance and success from wishful thinking. Generations have been surrounded with amazing knowledge and possibilities for personal growth. Whether it is time, focus, or not understanding, the application and use of knowledge and learning is one of the hardest parts of change. We read, listen (though often, not enough), and learn, but it doesn’t seem to make it into our reality. So all the knowledge and possibilities in the world are useless if we don’t cross the bridge from knowing to living.

To grow from where we are to where we want to be, we need to bridge these gaps. To do this and expand the possibilities of living better begins with awareness of what brings us satisfaction now and what would bring us more. Clarifying what is creating the gap between where we are and where we want to begins with crossing the bridge. And honest awareness makes this possible.

From expanded awareness we have to spend time and energy to explore the concepts, ideas, and strategies that can help us cross the bridge and close the gap. We need to reflect, consider, and imagine how new ideas or actions could change us. This is the new knowledge and if we can’t see the knowledge expressed in our reality, we’re likely to remain in the gap.

A personal experience: Over time I realized that I had accumulated considerable knowledge. I knew a lot. I was able to enlighten others to possibilities that could change their lives. But I wasn’t feeling that much better about my own life. I knew how I wanted to live, yet I wasn’t living it. Thus began a long process of attempting to integrate what I had come to know about how I wanted to live my life into actually ‘being’ that on a regular basis. There were changes I needed to make; tough decisions I had to face and; tension between who I was and who I knew I could and wanted to be. This process continues to this day as I try to live as my most authentic self.

With clarity and new knowledge, followed by exploring our possibilities, we can make choices. We only have to choose an action, a pattern, or an opportunity to make change. Keep repeating the new choice and the change gets easier. It won’t be long before the new knowledge is the old knowledge and more possibilities for growth are recognized and, voila, a new gap appears. Every day becomes a new adventure in expanding and discovering as bridges get crossed.

Here are three possible ways in which to cross from wanting and knowing something to living it:

  1. Plan for tomorrow but live for today. All positive actions are undertaken in the present moment. Little steps each day give us a slight edge and before you know it your goals are in sight, the achieved, then surpassed. Before you realize, people will say you’ve changed and you’ll know how you did and why.
  2. Develop an endless curiosity about our world. Become an explorer and view the world as your jungle. Stop and observe all the little things as unique events. Try new things. Get out of your comfort zone and experience as many different environments and sensations as possible. Why not?
  3. Rise. Sometimes you don’t achieve. Sometimes things don’t turn out as planned. Sometimes you just don’t feel like continuing on anymore. So what do you do? Rise. There’s a lesson to be learned in everything and sometimes that lesson is to cross another bridge and engage in a beautiful comeback.

22 thoughts on “Bridging a Significant Gap

  1. Great suggestions Eric. Too often I notice the gap, have plenty of awareness, but still don’t take the action for new behaviors. Not sure what is different when I do take action. I think maybe when I have a burning passion & vision to compel me forward or sometimes it’s burning pain to get me to finally move from the old stuck place. To more integration of knowledge into being & living.

    • That would seem to be an interesting action to observe, Brad – what it is that compels you to act. If you become more aware of what prompts action, you might be able to recognize and harness it for use in bridging the gaps that go unaddressed.

  2. Wonderful post… I am very good at wishful thinking. Sometimes get so buried in non-action that I have no choice to act, and once this action begins ~ if I am lucky ~ it flows and I ride the change for all it is worth. Your three points are great ways to get some momentum and bridge the gap. Cheers!

    • I suspect many of us are good at wishful thinking. It’s easy to cruise within the status quo… the comfort zones. But when we’re fortunate to self-catalyze and be in flow, you bet it’s worth riding all the way to shore. When it’s easy, it’s often fun which to your point, makes the effort(less) worthwhile.

  3. “There is a wealth of difference between knowing and doing.” This line is so true and eloquently written. And if you bridge this gap so to speak, wealth shall follow. As always, Eric, you knocked it out of the ball park with this post my friend.

    • And for those who can “just do it,” more power to them, Chris. However, I believe this can be/is challenging for many and in those cases, to each their own at their own comfortable pace. Hope you are enjoying the Hokkaido slopes!

  4. Am rising right now. Off to explore a rocky ridge. It’s warm. Got my trusty walking stick I bought from the naked Book Seller in Quartzite in case the snakes are out!

    • I have visions of you levitating adjacent to some rocky ridge – with John saying, you can come down now, Shelley. Given the warmth, perhaps it’s the desert thermals that are assisting your rise. Stay grounded when you return. 🙂

  5. It’s been a journey. Ramu. For me, it commenced a decade ago. While it has been steady progress, some changes have evolved slowly rather than flipped. To the extent that we remain aligned with who we are at our core and strive to ‘be’ our desired change, we can see, sense and/or feel the growth and smile within. I wish you well with your chosen path.

  6. Hi Eric….. what you write about is similar to what I’ve been learning recently in my Mindfulness and MBT. Bridging that gap is where I am right now; trying to find courage to cross over isn’t so easy. I lost faith in my abilities to build a new life. For now, I am trying to live in the moment, focussing all concentration on whatever I’m doing and trusting the future takes care of itself. I always tell people that awareness is a huge step forward in our journey to change, but I’m not too great at following my own advice. Oh, and BTW, I love the images

    • Every now and then a comment gets away from me and I feel badly about not recognizing the time and energy it took for someone to kindly create time to reply. Such is the case with your thoughtful feedback, Cat. I applaud your focus and intentional choice to concentrate on the present and allow the future to unfold as it is intended. No need to try to manage more than is reasonable and comfortable.

      Kudos on your Mindfulness and MBT studies. They are great fields! Stay the course with your awareness, even if it doesn’t always seem to be with you. Heightened awareness will come with time and practice. Glad, too, that you appreciated the accompanying images. Thank you for your sharing!

  7. Another excellent post, Eric. Thanks.

    I’m at that bridge in my life. Making the jump, at times, is frightful. But I find that with more self awareness, the doubt and all the other negatives fade. What’s left is clarity. Clarity of choice. And no doubt.

  8. Seems my challenge with blogging is keeping track of later shared comments and then responding to them, timely. Please pardon this late reply, Michael.

    Ahhh, “that bridge.” 🙂 Welcome. There may well be more of them. But you’re jumping, or crossing, or strategically spanning the gap. And that is what counts! I hear and applaud your acknowledging the role awareness is playing and how it mitigates fear. Bravo!! Isn’t clarity of choice a beautiful space in which to be?

    Thanks for your kind thoughts.

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