Every life story has the moment (or momentS depending on the tragedy level of the cards you were dealt) where everything completely falls apart… Your husband gets sick (and I’m not talking man-cold although we know how devastating that can be), you lose your job, you find out about your partner’s infidelity, your best friend/parent/dog dies. And in those moments are invitations to the greatest version of your life you could ever imagine living. In those moments are opportunities to realize that everything you’ve been holding on to as your safe reality is gone and you are still standing.
You’re still you.
You survived! It’s a miracle!
I have people in my life right now who are living in this moment. Each one has a different version of the falling apart story. One, in particular, is dealing with the discovery of infidelity, reality of addiction, and ultimately the pain that comes from a relationship ending… and in doing so I am struck by her incredible bravery. This is the perfect opportunity for her to sit on the couch for days, eat cookies, watch movies, cry, sulk, blame, and let her bruised ego take over (and believe me, a healthy dose of that is a welcome part of recovery from this kind of pain). But instead of adopting those as a primary coping strategy she is completely recognizing and fully accepting the invitation to soften and let go that came in the form of her life falling apart.
Because she’s choosing to.
These moments of crisis don’t come with automatic enlightenment. Accepting the invitation is not the easy road to choose. These events rip us up by the roots and throw us into the great unknown and it’s most aligned with our brain’s desire to maintain same-ness and together-ness to desperately scramble for bits and pieces of what was and using lots of glue, tape, and string put it all back together again. It doesn’t matter that most of the pieces aren’t there… some part of us is convinced that there’s some way to assemble what’s left and have it look the same as it always did. It takes bravery to turn away from what was to start to receive what will be.
The unknown, the “what the hell am I going to do with this pile of remnants”, is one of the scariest places to be. And when we find ourselves there (because that part isn’t optional) we can choose in that moment to give up on holding on or to grip on to the little bits that are left. In the choice of gripping, our despair will likely deepen. Because the longer we hold on the longer we are nose to nose with the reality of our lost life. In letting go, we widen our perspective and can grieve what we’re saying goodbye to while seeing the next great thing coming around the corner.
This friend said to me, words that felt like echoes because they resonated so deeply in my soul where the seeds of my transformation are still sending off new shoots and leaves: I don’t want to stay small. I am more powerful than I’ve been letting myself be.
Wow. How beautiful is that?
It is not easy to let go. It is not easy to stop holding on. But I can promise you, that on the other side of doing it… just beyond the initial heart softening that comes from surrender, is peace. Peace in knowing that you can live as your big, brave, beautiful self from that point forward.
Go ahead and give up on holding on. You’re worth it.