There is a quote from Pema Chödrön that crossed my mind this morning as I sat in a feeling of despair and uncertainty after facing another transition point in my life.
“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
Pema has been my go-to resource whenever I am going through a difficult phase. The purity and wisdom she emulates makes me feel less alone with my grief and gives me practical, workable ways to shift my perspective.
Six months ago, I got the fresh start I had been longing for after being one of the many humans who got their ass kicked by much of 2020. It was a fresh start in many ways—a new community, new work, a new place to live—but my old wounds were still lurking underneath the surface.
As a friend recently put it, I had trimmed the leaves on my grief, so to speak, but I hadn’t pulled it out at the roots. So, I find myself once again in a familiar situation and at the banks of an uncertain future. Ultimately, the wounds that are still there are forcing me into uncharted territory and away from a future I thought I was building.
I have to let things fall apart so I can rebuild myself on more solid ground.
Whenever things seem to come together, when my dreams miraculously manifest into reality, I make the assumption that they will stay that way. It’s a trap I’m often stuck in—when things are good I assume they always will be; when they are bad, I assume the same.
The evidence of my life, when closely reviewed, shows otherwise. I’ve been at the lowest of lows and made it out on the other side, and I’ve had the highest of highs come crashing down. I look for reason and logic and often blame myself when things go wrong.
But the truth is, things aren’t really going “wrong.” As Pema so beautifully says, there is a healing that comes with falling apart. It is an adjustment of perspective that needs to take place between my own two ears. The story I have to stop telling myself is that it is “bad” when things fall apart.
I’m at another, what I could call, a “rock bottom” that I saw coming. My life ripped apart at the seams once again, mostly by my doing. It was painful and necessary. Currently, I have no place to call home, no job, and no partner. It is raw nothingness and it is uncomfortable. But it is also exciting as I remind myself just how many times things in my life have fallen apart only to grant me with something equally, if not more so, amazing.
In four days, I will embark on what has the potential to be a life-changing journey.
I will be heading down to Peru to go deep in the jungle for two months to work with a variety of plant medicines and healers. I don’t know what is on the other side. I don’t know where I will go after.
I’ve spent weeks sucking myself into sorrow and forgetting to turn toward the inevitable joy that comes from letting go of something that isn’t currently serving me.
I am doing my best to not live in absolutes, to let things fall apart, to not rush to fix them, but instead just be in it—letting there be “room for grief, for relief, for misery, and for joy.”