Here are some more words of wisdom I found in my in-laws’ house in Murray, Utah. These appear on the shelf above the computer table in their home office, and when I read them, I smiled.
Can you think back to a time in your life when so many changes were happening at once that you felt overwhelmed, ready to curl into fetal position and hide from the world forever? I have experienced many such moments, mostly when I was in the midst of a big move, a change in jobs, a change in relationships. At the time I was full of anxiety and trepidation, nearly immobilized with fearful anticipation . A big part of me was suffering because I was clinging to what was familiar, even though I knew full well that it was all about to drop away.
When I was able to recognize that the plunge into the unknown would bring with it the mystery of new experiences, I was able to embrace the change, in spite of all the accompanying fears. Looking back, I see that all of those moments of falling apart were rich opportunities to expand into a truer version of myself, a me that was stronger, more decisive, more insightful, more ready to evolve and live into my full potential.
Now that I’m married with two kids and working in a profession that I truly love, I’m not experiencing such monumental changes in my outward life. I’m settled, I have a comfortable routine, my roots grow deep into the earth to nourish my family, my home, the people around me. Nothing much appears to be changing on the outside, not like before when I picked up and moved to France or when a three year relationship quickly dissolved, or when I took the leap into motherhood and left my days of bachelorettedom behind.
But I’m still changing. It might not be obvious, but I’m still changing. And sometimes things feel like they’re falling apart–on the inside. As I have settled into the roles of wife and mother and gratefully accepted the stability that my husband and I have co-created together, I have had a greater opportunity to delve into my inner life and watch the self in me twist and turn and sometimes fall apart as it seeks to be reborn. It can be painful to watch the facades dropping away or to recognize the need to let go of some long-cherished belief. The emotional system in me becomes enraged every time I make any small steps toward selflessness. It wants me to stay faithful to the known, the place where I was self-absorbed, living out the beliefs of those who preceded me, perpetually safe and sorry.
This life has presented me with enough experiences to be suspicious of anything that becomes too deeply established; it is a warm invitation for the old edifice to crumble so that I may see what might grow out of the rubble. In retrospect, every big change has enriched my life so greatly that now I almost look forward to things falling apart.
What if we could be excited about the changes in our lives, especially when they seem scary? What if we could allow ourselves a healthy time to mourn the loss of what was familiar, but cultivate the awareness that will take us to the next level of growth when we are ready to let go of the past?
In yesterday’s post we explored being positive, patient and persistent. As we cultivate these qualities, any change in our lives, great or small, will provide us with the opportunity to expand into healthier, happier, more balanced visions of who we are.
What if we embraced those moments in which things appear to fall apart knowing that everything is actually falling into place? What if we trusted life? Ourselves? One another?
You are greater than you think,
and this world loves you.
Be comforted as you look upon
This life that brought you into being,
These experiences that have taught you,
This moment that gives you all you need to know.
Why spend any time in fear?
Do not cling to the past–
your power is here and now,
in your eyes that see,
your ears that hear,
your mouth that tastes,
your hands that touch,
in the scent of the air as you breathe in deeply,
in your willingness to let go as you exhale.
When your mind tells you that you are falling apart,
the people around you are falling apart
your life, this world are falling apart–
jump up and down and sing and dance with glee!
There is greater beauty on the other side of knowing,
beyond your present understanding,
and the things you think you think.
Let the known fall away and dive into the unknown.
Cast away the rags of the past to reveal the riches concealed underneath.
Your true self waits for you in the mystery.
Let the outside things fall apart, precious one,
and bravely go inside.
The self in you is always whole
and loves to have you come back home now and again.