“Don’t worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come? ~ Rumi
Reflecting this morning on times in my life when I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopeless despair, lost and confused. Desperately trying to make sense of the world, disconnected from it yet longing to be accepted by it.
Anger, betrayal, loss. Unsettled, sad, alien in my own skin, in my own life. And the gradual transformation from depression to peace through mindfulness.
Don’t worry that your life is turning upside down.
Upside down. Like someone took the edges of the cosmic carpet under me and yanked. Slow motion chaos tumbling in the air, a ballet of sudden confusion, uprooted and tossed about. I can’t tell up from down. Can’t see the higher wisdom. Can’t make my way through the emotional mayhem.
Overwhelmed by fear, arms scrambling desperately to pull all the pieces back down into their familiar places as they spin madly out of reach. Because no matter how destructive the dance, it is familiar, comfortable. I’m prepared for it. I know how to fight. I know how to survive in it. As stressful as it is, the familiar is a place where I can deal, where I feel in control.
But the fight has become too much. I am exhausted by it. Wounded, out of energy. I am broken, desperate, yet holding on through the hopelessness. Trusting those with outstretched hands who assure me, “You’re right where you’re supposed to be”.
It hits me right where my fear lives – and where my courage awakens.
A deep breath. A bit of relief. A reminder that no matter how out of control it feels right now, things are shifting, changing for the better. Confusion is the beginning of learning. Trust the process. It needs to spin. Cosmic shakedown.
Realization: this isn’t destruction – it’s reorganization.
I am not truly broken. I am broken open. And light shines on the illusion: In the big picture, I never had any control anyway. The only control I ever truly have is on how I’m going to behave moving forward. Everything else is beyond my control, always was.
So let everything spin. Get curious. Watch it. Be in it without trying to change it. Mindfulness.
How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
The side I am used to. The familiar, devastating, destructive chaos within that I am used to, of which the outward turmoil is merely a representation. Who died and left me boss of everything? My track record is one of having to be dragged through the muck before I find peace, so who do I think I am to judge based on my limited experience in this universe?
How do I know that, when the tumbling pieces land, they’ll not be arranged in a way that will bring me all of the connection and inner peace that I so deeply and secretly desire?
I don’t know. I can’t know until I let go. So let things fall apart. Let the chaos spin. Let myself relax into whatever is happening instead of fighting it. My only control is how I will move forward in the world, the same as I always have or Different. I choose.
Choosing to have courage to let things fall apart.
I set down my weapons, release the wall around my heart (the illusion-wall that was supposed to protect my most soft, vulnerable places), and turn to face the dread with curiosity and kindness. Show up to life, myself, my feelings, this new experience with humility and reverence.
I am living in Different, showing up to my life in a new way. I no longer can use the past as points of reference for moving forward. And choosing Different means I have no reference points for future.
I can only live in this moment with beginner’s mind, becoming teachable, mindfully choosing each next step as it comes up, with kindness, compassion, understanding, forgiveness.
Fear keeps me out of touch with Now. With gentleness and non-judgement, I let go and allow in.
The world around me continues to spin, and I am at peace with the whirling unsettledness inside, knowing it is blowing around to make room for something that is far better than anything I could ever have imagined.
Because, you know, it’s happened this way over and over again in my life, this carpet being pulled out from under my feet thing. When I think about it, I’ve kinda grown to appreciate it. Might even have learned to enjoy the absurdity of the ride. And I trust that it’s happening the same way again.