You can’t skip Day Two: Where the magic happens

Day two, or whatever that middle space is for your own process, is when you’re ‘in the dark’—the door has closed behind you. You’re too far in to turn around and not close enough to the end to see the light.”

—Brené Brown in Rising Strong
Book cover Rising Strong

Brené Brown, author of Rising Strong, leads three-day workshops that encourage people to dare greatly and accept vulnerability. On Day One, people arrive bright with curiosity and anticipation. Day One is easy.

But not Day Two. Day Two is hard. It’s the time of not knowing.

The middle space is one of doubt and discomfort. Sometimes people want to give up and flee. They want the happy ending, sure, but not if it’s painful or scary.

But you can’t skip Day Two.

“The middle is messy, but it’s also where the magic happens.”

Day Two is the space after death or divorce, but before life re-created in a new way. Day Two is the scorching pain of labour before the birth of a child. For some of us, Day Two is Easter Saturday.

During our times in between, when we can’t see the happy ending, we have to remember that wonderful things beyond our wildest imaginings could be around the corner.

It might be messy and difficult, full of grief, doubt, confusion or anger, but we have to go through it without knowing where it’s going.

It’s not fun, but you can’t skip it either. It’s where the magic happens.


8 thoughts on “You can’t skip Day Two: Where the magic happens

  1. marianbeaman

    Like you, I’m a Brene Brown fan. She’s famous for touting vulnerability as a touchstone of authenticity, which comes through on her podcasts and TEDx talks.

    For the writer, day 2 could be called the “muddy middle” and lasts for weeks and months . . . at least in my case. And also: Since this is Easter weekend, Day 2 is a time of silence, sandwiched between the crucifixion and resurrection.

    Thanks for sharing this wisdom, Arlene. Happy Easter to you and yours! 🙂

  2. Ally Bean

    I’ve never heard of this Day Two idea, but it is the truth of things. I like Brene Brown’s ability to make life’s challenges seem so normal, making me feel like I might be doing ok in spite of how things might look to me in the moment.

    1. Arlene Somerton Smith Post author

      I’ve attended a few weekend workshops when this happened, People arrived all keen on Friday night, and then during events on Saturday, when they are pushed to work harder at something, really resist. When they stick with it, there are rewards.

  3. Janet Givens

    I love this Day Two idea, muddy middle, grey areas of life. They are where change begins. Transformation. I’m no longer a believer in the classical meaning of the term, but I found this post from Traci Blackmon on Facebook very powerful and moving.

    *Holy Saturday

    Don’t rush Easter.

    Sit here in between.

    In the ambiguity of grief.

    This can’t really be happening….can it?

    Sit with his mother in the suffocating sorrow of life snatched from her first born.

    Sit there as she labors to breathe as reality takes hold.

    Sit with the disciples in that tenuous space between fear, doubt and rage. What does his execution mean? How dare them? Will they come for me next?

    Visit with Judas in his desolation. How do we handle the consequences of our actions when “I’m sorry” cannot change things? Some of us are overwhelmed by remorse. Longing to be forgiven.

    Sit with Peter as he faces the realities of his human frailty. Sometimes. We think we can…until we discover we cannot.

    Walk with Thomas who simply can’t be still.

    Be angry.
    Violent death is reason to rage!!!
    He was only 33!

    Be angry.
    Angry at his murderers. Angry at his deserters. Angry at unfaithful friends. Angry at a silent God.

    God can handle our anger.

    Sit with the wailing women…who refuse to let go.

    The rituals of death help ease the pain.

    What do we do when rituals are interrupted? Can we move forward without our goodbyes?

    It is still Shabbat. (Jesus was Jewish, remember?)

    In Judaism, Shabbat is a day of holy rest…but the horror of grief takes no rest. Sit in the agitation of needing to “do something” when there is nothing to do.

    The urge is to rush to the tomb.
    Even if we don’t know why.

    But don’t you do it.
    Not today.

    The tomb is sealed.
    The graveyard is closed.

    Sit here. In the silence of the Sabbath.
    In the darkness of grief.
    In the shock of life taken too soon.
    In the flooding memories of your time together.
    In the sorrow of words left unsaid.
    In the rage of state sanctioned murder.
    In the shame of borrowed tombs.
    In the isolation of abandonment.
    In the fear of what’s next.
    In. The. Struggle. To. Breathe.

    Sit with parents who have sons who look like him.

    Don’t you dare rush to Easter.

    Sit right here…in the silence…and let grief do its work.
    In the darkness of despair.

    Hope will return.
    But not yet.

    Sit. And be changed.


What do you think? Let me know. Comments make me really happy.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.