Boy, do I know that feeling well, that feeling of "What the heck is happening?? My life is falling apart!"
One day you wake up and everything changes. Maybe it's something someone says or does. Maybe it's an unexpected event or accident. Maybe it's just you, but suddenly your world is turned upside down and you know somehow that there's no turning back.
Your gut drops. Your heart races. Your breath tightens. You feel faint or thin...
Such deep change can feel scary and unsettling. It destabilizes us, shakes our foundations, and asks us to take a leap of faith...a big one. Even if we initiate and want the change, it's scary. Thank goodness for dear friends and spiritual communities.
Years ago I described such a change by saying it felt like my life was written onto a piece of paper, shredded into bits, and thrown into the wind. I had no idea where those pieces would land. I felt lost and rudderless, a tiny boat in a vast, lonely ocean.
I sunk into a deep depression. I isolated and hid from the world. I didn't want to see any happy people because I was so miserable. I hated my life and had no idea how to fix it. Hell, I wasn't even sure that I wanted to. It was a very hard time for me that turned out to be wildly transformative. I've since learned that this is a thing.
The common term for this experience is "the dissolution of self." It means there's a shedding of what no longer serves us so that what does can enter. But the us undergoing the dissolution is our notion of who we are — our conditioned self or ego — not our true self. The conditioned or ego self is transient and finite, a fabrication of our mind. The true self is whole and infinite, an expression of Source.
The strange thing is that on some level, we know the change is necessary. We know the life we're living is not "it" for us. We know that we have to let go and leap into the unknown if we are to have any prayer of discovering whatever it is we truly long for.
Even sensing all of that, I was just terrified. Terrified of going on alone. Terrified of letting an old love go. Terrified of having regrets. Terrified of not being able to recover. Terrified of sinking my boat. Terrified...
Again, thank goodness for dear friends and spiritual communities.
I know now that these big transformational experiences are an essential part of our spiritual growth, maturity, or evolution as humans. Call it what you will, but sacred teachings across the globe say that spiritual evolution is the soul's greatest desire. They also say that ignoring the deepest truth of our soul is what keeps us living in suffering.
Sometimes we have to meet ourselves right where we are, in all of our broken down, messy, emotional glory to see who we really are, raw and undisguised. When we do, we realize that all the shit we've been clinging to is just fluff and isn't who we really are. We also realize that we are way more amazing than we previously thought!
And then, something wonderful happens: we wake up to a new level of love inside. And everything changes. We see things differently. We feel things differently. We relate to things differently. We stop pushing away from or clinging to things, and we let go instead. We relax into the flow of not knowing, somehow feeling that we are safe and held, and that everything is okay just as it is.
In each moment, we are here, breathing and choosing. It's a beautiful mystery, this life, isn't it?