There have been many times in my life when things fell apart, whether due to my illness or injury, a loved one’s, a death, or outside circumstances, whether that is work or the world. When we feel like things are falling apart we have to remember all the other times when things fell apart and then came back together differently, newer, sometimes better and sometimes worse until ultimately we were ok again. This process is part of transition and change; it is ugly, feels destructive and overwhelming as we walk through it. It feels awful, but it is not awful, it is natural. I don’t think a seed thinks all is lost when its sides split open and long green tendrils start to shoot out of its ass. I don’t think a tree frets and eats too much chocolate when it is about to drop a leaf, or a snake freaks out when it sheds its skin. These are part of a cycle, and part of life and death and transformation. It does feel like everything is falling apart true, because that is what happens in a natural part of transformation. What is imperative during this process is to be present, awake and active in choice and action during transformation. The second imperative is being brave and choosing love, acting out of kindness, not pushing against but pushing forward in a direction that has light. Don’t blame the darkness, turn on a light, or be the light.
This is meaty and abstract stuff here folks not unlike what fast food burgers are made of. That being said, I will do my best to walk you through some of this as best I can.
Some of the feelings I associate with chaotic times or when the shite hits the fan is anger, fear, helplessness or hopelessness.
Anger is a motivator for change, it can be a powerful fuel but we have to be mindful of how we use it. So as an example: if I have been in a messed-up relationship or situation where I have been hurt and betrayed, I can choose use anger, that fuel to retaliate and seek revenge, or I can take myself as far and as fast from that person/situation down the road to a better, healthier and joyful life. That doesn’t mean thinking about throwing a skunk in that ass-hat’s hot tub isn’t fun for the first 24-148 hours after the crash. Long-term the only person hurt when anger is involved is the person holding it. I want to feel anger, process it and drop it as fast as I can to start the healing and get gone to better places and people. Anger can take you places but be clear which direction you want to go, whether it is higher or lower with your vibration and lightness. So, you might want to think about not hitting back and choosing how to move forward instead. What do you want to happen rather than retaliation or stuckness?
On a larger scale, if I am unhappy with my boss, a corporation or company, or politicians I can use my voice for what I want and marry actions to what I need. I can ask for a raise, stop doing business with or boycott a business, and write an op-ed piece to my local paper to advocate for change. I can find organizations that support what I believe in and stand with them figuratively and literally. I can move in a direction I believe to be true and ethical, as examples that might be genuine real connection, inclusiveness, kindness, tolerance, equity and to be heard. That means I have to be willing to listen if I want to be heard. I have to be willing to build bridges to places I don’t understand or may not like, yet I have to go. Compassion is easy when it is given to those we believe are worthy, people we like, but we have to remember everyone is worthy of compassion, especially if we don’t agree, like or understand the other side, person, point of view. Just by stopping to listen we will understand more about where they are coming from, how they feel and what they need and want. We are all human, and connected in that humanity for better or worse. What happens to one of us happens to all of us. We must remember that above all else.
Helplessness and Hopelessness are paralyzing emotions. We don’t know what to do and if we did we think it doesn’t matter anyway, as we are only one person. Well let’s look at history at what one person did: We have Einstein, Malala Yousafzai, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, and on a darker side we have Hitler. One person can make a great change in their own life and the lives of others. So when I feel like I am helpless I think of those folks, then I think I am no Steve Jobs so maybe I will just keep my head down and hide a little more. Then I remember that life is like a messy room; it doesn’t matter where or what I do to clean up, it just matters I pick a shelf or a corner and start.
I remember I can take baby steps to feeling less helpless, like getting out of bed, taking a shower, eating something my body needs, sitting by a sunny window and remembering I have choice. I have to remember that not choosing it is still a choice. Inaction is a choice and not neutral, as everything and everyone is connected by source. All the choices either tip up toward love or tip us downward toward fear. We are in one boat. We have to pick where we want to go in our lives and paddle like hell. One thing that helps me find center again when I feel helpless or hopeless is to be of service to another. To help someone else or do something kind for another seems to open a hole in my heart and let a little light in. I also make sure to take care of myself by getting sleep, eating well, exercising when and if I can and not beating myself up when I can’t. When I can’t, I can’t, and letting that be where I am without judgement or rancor. I am not competing with someone or running against them, I am running with them in union, in solidarity in the exhilaration of the running and doing and being alive.
I left fear for last. In this negative emotion runoff, it is a core emotion, like love. In fact, love and fear are the first two branches off of the Tree of Life. All other emotions stem from one of them, the light and the dark roads we choose. Fear is a motivator like anger, and like anger can also be very dangerous. When we make decisions solely out of fear, those decisions turn out badly. I have talked about this before: When we take the easy way, the less scary way, it turns to poop pretty quickly. When we chose what scares us because we know it is what is best and what we need, it can be difficult at first but, it quickly becomes expansive and easier, more fulfilling and life changing. Fear makes us smaller. There are not many times in life we want to make ourselves smaller even when someone is taking pot-shots at us. Picking a path based on what we don’t want to happen or avoid one out of fear of what could happen is a bad practice. As an example: if you are offered a job you don’t really want but think that it is the best you can do and you might not get a chance at another job and will be living in a refrigerator box if you pass it up, accepting the job is not going to be a good choice. If someone offers you a job you are not crazy about but you think it is a great first step to solvency and better things then it is a good choice. It is about your point of view and intent, not about what is being offered. That is static. How you see it and use it to move forward or backward is mutable and substantive. How we move through the world on a daily basis has affects our life and those around us and moves outward.
How do we not give into fear or any of the other negative emotions attached to great change and transformation? How, when things feel like they are falling apart do we stay centered and whole? We stay awake; we acknowledge this is uncomfortable, painful and scary. We reach out for support to those we love and steady us. We take time to sit and remember who we are and what we are here to do. Whether that is to be a good parent, a life changing teacher/mentor, a loving spouse, an artistic voice and voice of change, or any other roles we lead in our lives, we get up and try to be the best version of ourselves we can manage on a daily basis. We have to give compassion to ourselves in our shortcomings and others in theirs. That is the dance that is human: we are fuck-ups, greedy, fearful, petty and cruel at our worst but at our best we are loving, humble, kind, adventurous and filled with wonder and curiosity. We need to be aware and participate but not immerse ourselves in the negative. Limiting time in that area is good when we need to, some quiet and reflection is good. The other end of that spectrum is we can’t hide and numb 24/7, that will blow up ugly. So a little distraction is good, but having your head in the sand and being in full on denial is bad. Like everything, finding a balance in distress as best as you can is hard but important, to try and stay trying.
The Universe’s Magic 8-Ball has answers that come up in fear or love every day, every minute. When things fall apart, we have to notice how and why we got to this place, knowing we made every decision to land us here collectively or apart. There is no them and us, only us, one boat, one planet, one love. We have to remember that this is part of a natural process and decide how we are going to take our baby steps forward. I recommend trying a bit of bravery, lots of humor and kindness toward ourselves and others, and as always I recommend a wee bit of something delicious that reminds you that life is still good even when it scares the crap out of you.