It has happened to all of us at one time or another, and perhaps for some of us, it has happened multiple times: it seems like everything is falling apart—maybe a marriage, a job, the loss of a family member, an illness. There are so many ways our lives can be turned upside down. And we’re living in a world that is also falling apart in many ways.
In the midst of this, we may feel like a leaf floating down the rapids. We may long to be the leaf gently gliding down a stream, but instead, we’re buffeted against rocks, unable to control what is happening to us or even how we react.
When Your World Turns Upside Down
When I look back at certain points in my life, such as my breast cancer diagnosis eight years ago, it was as if the rug had been pulled out from under me. I was the healthiest I had ever felt and was excited about where my life was headed. I was following the breadcrumbs of spiritual exploration and leaning into a life where I lived authentically and true to my divine nature.
At first, like many, I felt numb and chose to focus on the tests and the many opinions on treatment options. My surgery and treatment went smoothly, and after several months of recovery, I paused.
I paused to process what had just happened. I wondered how I could trust that the inevitable falling apart was making room for something new. How could I find the blessings in the pain, the glint of a diamond in the pile of rocks? My life was changed, and I looked upon my next steps very differently.
I deepened my meditation and mindful practices. I developed a daily journal practice that has stayed with me all these years. I practiced being present to what is happening in each moment, reminding myself that I was safe.
I also paused and relaxed into the flow of life. By allowing ourselves to be in the flow of what is happening rather than fighting or pushing our way through, we can heal. Allowing us the time and space to feel what is happening, rather than burying it, allows us to integrate the experience.
My life trajectory changed, and I felt more urgency to follow my intuition and pursue a career change. Moving away from a long corporate career to that of a minister and counselor. I knew that life had brought experiences to prepare me to serve others.
Embrace the Journey
Think of that leaf going down the rapids. It may feel out of control; it may be a bit battered. But it flows with the water anyway, following the energy of the stream, and eventually, life becomes a bit less rocky, a bit more calm. It follows the flow and builds its resilience on the way.
Life kept that leaf afloat! Even in our darkest times, there are glimmers of light. Perhaps the kindness of a stranger, perhaps the intuitive nudge to keep going. That is life, spirit, the divine, gently and compassionately guiding us forward. We may not be able to stop the rapids, but we can navigate. Leaning into the discomfort can afford us significant breakthroughs, and breakdowns can bring us opportunities we would never have considered before.
Looking back on our lives, finding those times when everything fell apart, we can see life was in action. Spirit, the universe, God, if you like, was always there. Our lives are divinely orchestrated, and there can be good that comes out of everything; the light will shine, no matter how dark our days may be.
Ordained by One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and as a certified Interspiritual Counselor, I currently offer spiritual coaching and creativity sessions in person in my Bethany office, as well as by phone and Zoom.