Dear Reader: I write to better understand my experiences of life; I share with the hope that my words will touch something inside you, and together we will remember that we all walk through life with love and loss, joy and sorrow, hope and despair, faith and uncertainty.
I can say with certainty that nothing I believed about Life – how the world works, how to achieve goals, what I thought I wanted and how to get there – none of what I believed is real. Life most definitely is not what I thought.
The truth is that all of us are in a free-fall.
Many of us work hard to bury that truth from ourselves, to cover it over with the illusion of stability. My illusion went something like this: if I follow my plan and push really hard through the difficulties, everything will work out for me; ultimately I will have a life partner, a dream career, wealth, and my loved ones and I will be healthy; life will never present me with more than I can handle.
That illusion has been stripped away. I am single, broke, worn down physically and emotionally, and unable to navigate human conflict. I feel one misstep away from living out of my pickup truck. And that is a horrible, raw, frightening way to live. I am face-to-face with the ultimate Truth: nothing is guaranteed, nothing is permanent, and all of us are in a free fall. The most seemingly stable life could be turned upside down in a heartbeat.
It feels horrible living without the illusion. And yet… perhaps from here, this is where I begin to surrender.
All my life I have used my will and determination to push myself forward, push myself against circumstances, push myself through barriers. I pushed and pushed and pushed until I broke. And now my will and determination has abandoned me. I don’t have the ability to push. My resilience was long since used up, reserves overwhelmed and depleted.
I know that willpower and determination alone have not worked. I know that Life will not bend to my will. I do not believe in God. I do not believe in Order, or Purpose, or a Benevolent Force. I do believe that Life has its own purpose and order, but it is neither benevolent nor malevolent, it is neither caring not uncaring, it is indifferent to human dramas. What do I know now?
I can think of myself as an amoeba in the ocean. I might want to go to a warmer climate, or closer to shore, or move to another neighborhood. But I may not be able to control that if the current takes me in the other direction, and my hardest efforts will only frustrate and exhaust me.
What I can do is choose to notice which way the current is going, and surrender to it. I can choose to enjoy the scenery I pass along the way. And I can choose to make friends, maybe even build community, knowing that nothing is permanent but doing it anyway. I can notice, and appreciate what Life is offering in the moment.
Life is all powerful, inevitable, unpredictable, and indifferent. Life is LIFE, with all its glorious beauty and all its horror.
Nothing is guaranteed, nothing is permanent, and all of us are in a free fall. Perhaps from this place of no illusion I can release my rigid grip which in truth holds onto nothing. Maybe here is where I begin to surrender to Life's currents.
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