Falling

Sometimes-when-thingsWhen you’re in the midst of things that are falling apart, whether they be jobs or relationships or a way of being, this is a tough concept to embrace, but things fall apart so they can fall together in a different way. That doesn’t mean “everything is happening for a reason”, it just means that this is the nature of all living things–people, emotions, situations, and the leaves on the trees around us. Everything is always in flux. If a relationship ends and your heart is broken, of course you’re going to grieve and examine what happened, and depending upon circumstances, you may have a lot of healing to do. Those times when I’ve felt desperate, or paralyzed by fear, or heartbroken because I couldn’t see a path in front of me and realized I’d have to cut through the brush and create one, have also been the times when I’ve learned the most about myself and have grown in ways I never would have otherwise. That doesn’t mean you have to put everything in a box marked “thank you”, it just means we always have the choice to create beauty out of our pain.

Sometimes the thing that’s “falling apart” is you. In yoga philosophy and practice, you might come upon the concept of “The Dark Night of the Soul”, which is not a yogic concept, but rather a poem (and later a treatise about the poem) written by the Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross. In the poem, he narrates the journey of the soul from its bodily home to its union with God. In the yogic context, we have something called “isvara pranidhana”, which has a few different translations: devotion to the divine, devotion to the Ultimate Reality, devotion to your True Self.

It’s basically that time that comes when the old way of being in the world isn’t working anymore, and the new way of being isn’t clear yet. The old way may include relationships, jobs, coping mechanisms, the way you see yourself…anything that feels inauthentic, that just doesn’t “fit right” anymore, that will now have to go. It’s an extremely uncomfortable, lonely, painful, and scary process…and it takes a lot longer than a night. For me I’d say it took about five years. Any spiritual path (and there are many), will hopefully lead you to your own truth, your own peace, your realization of the incredible and limitless well of love within you. But in order to get there, you’re probably going to have to sail away from the shores you know, and head out to sea for awhile, waiting for your internal compass to kick in.Knowingly plunging yourself into darkness doesn’t usually sound appealing to people unless they’ve tried everything else first.

I’d feel comfortable saying that if the path you’re on isn’t making you a more compassionate person, it’s probably not the right path. Because ultimately, we are all so much the same. All grappling with life’s big questions: What’s the meaning of it all? What am I doing here? What happens when I die? We all breathe the same air, all live off (and on) the same planet, all love our children, all have fears and doubts and hopes and dreams and places within ourselves that need healing. So whatever you believe, I hope it opens you so that when you meet people, you really see them. And so that you realize that although they may be smiling at you, last night they could have cried into their pillow until they finally fell asleep. Because maybe everything is falling apart for them right now. It’s not easy, this business of being human. Things do fall apart. We will never know for sure if our answers to those big questions are right. And one day we will die. For me personally, I feel I’ve grappled with those questions and come up with answers that feel right to me. But you may answer those same questions with completely different answers, and you know, you may be right. We’re all just doing our best here.The only thing I’ve come up with that I believe in my heart is universal, is that we are made of energy, and that energy is love. Anything else is taught and learned. When things fall apart, whether it’s your way of being that isn’t working anymore, or it’s a relationship or a job, and you just can’t envision how things will possibly work out, see if you can open your hands and your heart and your mind instead of clenching your fists. We cannot control circumstances. We cannot control what other people will think, or do, or say. We cannot manage anyone else’s journey. But we can manage our own path, and we can keep heading toward healing and love.

What I want most in this world is for my children to be happy. I want them to live in a peaceful world. I want you and your children to be happy. I truly believe we are all family. Your children are related to my children, even if you live on the other side of the world. The only way I know to a peaceful world, is one person at a time. One person at a time taking the journey inward and doing the work to heal. One person at a time being willing to let things fall apart if they need to so that something strong and beautiful can emerge. If your house is peaceful, if you model loving behavior for your children, if you teach them what it means to be compassionate by being compassionate, they will do as you do. And if you don’t, they will also do as you do. That’s how we change the world, I’m pretty sure of that. I believe almost everyone is capable of healing. I realize our culture encourages sleepwalking but I don’t underestimate the power of a growing number of people who are awake. Engaged. On fire. When things fall apart, the desire to go to sleep, to numb out is understandable. But I’d rather be awake and in pain than asleep. And I’d rather be awake for all the incredible joy, too. Aware of all the gifts. Open to all the love. I’d rather accept that everything is always changing, and that one day I’m going to die. I hope it’s a long long time from now. But however long I’ve got, I want to use every minute to spread love. I won’t succeed. I’m a human being. I’ll get angry, or discouraged or tired or cranky or depressed sometimes. But I’ll do my best. And I know you will, too. And I hope we all live long enough to see the impact of a bunch of loving people doing their best and coming together. Wouldn’t that be freaking awesome? Sending you so much love, and a very big hug if things are falling apart for you right now, Ally Hamilton