“I’m not giving up, I’m just giving in.”
- ‘Never Let Me Go’, Florence + The Machine
Sometimes there comes a time in life, or maybe many times in life, when the foundation that we have known crumbles beneath us.
There may have been cracks developing for years before, or perhaps it falls apart in one swift moment.
Sometimes we find ourselves clinging so tightly to a foundation that we are sure is stable, we often miss the subtle cracks that begin to develop until we physically feel it dissolving beneath our feet. Yet, we still continue to grasp in disbelief that this could be happening to us and we wonder how we will survive.
The truth is there were signs. There are always signs, it’s just whether or not we choose to acknowledge and accept them. If we actually do see them, we often turn a blind eye, deciding to ignore them or hoping they will go away on their own.
But piece by piece, crack by crack this foundation continues to dismantle itself. What we thought we knew and who we thought we were in relation to that foundation, begins to dissolve before our very eyes.
And in that moment when we realize what is happening, fear grabs a hold of us, infiltrating every fiber of our being as confusion and despair rattle our brains and clutch our hearts. We may get angry and ask God (or whatever you believe in) why this is happening. Why me? Anxiety and depression may start their descent upon our soul and body.
Yet we try to fight these feelings, only making them come on stronger as they wreak havoc on our minds and unleash distress in our bodies. We resist and so they persist. We try to (fruitlessly) keep the pieces of this foundation together, whatever that may be for us, but we become exhausted because those pieces are no longer ours to hold onto.
We feel as though we are free falling and desperately try to hold onto anything we can……..
We feel the dreaded sensation of losing control despite the difficult fact that it was never there in the first place.
We continue to cling so we continue to struggle.
But eventually at some point in time we realize there is nothing to hold onto. Eventually we tire ourselves of trying to keep something together that was never our responsibility to keep in the first place.
It was an illusion.
And eventually, sometimes through pure exhaustion alone, we release that illusion. We slowly begin to release our struggle; the struggle that keeps us awake at night, our bodies fighting and grasping for that perceived control.
And it is in this very moment of releasing that struggle, that we finally begin to truly let go; not the cute glittery Instagram quote type of “let it go.” No, I mean the the ugly-crying-until-you-pass-out, deep-in-your-soul, I-don’t-know-what-else-to-do type of letting go.
We aren’t giving up…...we’re just giving in.
We give into the uncertainty of life because we begin to understand that this one concept alone is a sturdier foundation than the one (or ones) that previously fell apart. As a universal and human truth, uncertainty is a constant that will never go away.
We give into putting our faith into something bigger than us and our tiny created worlds.
We give into understanding that the foundation we had before was never meant to last forever. It was always meant to crumble at some point because it needed to let us fall….not so that we could suffer but so we could grow; so we could break free of the chains and limitations keeping our view of life and Self, small and powerless.
You see, when one of our foundation crumbles, we have less of an ability to hide from ourselves. We are forced to confront things we may’ve been able to previously ignore when we lived under the guise that something else would save us. And that something doesn’t mean just people, that can be belief systems, personality traits, goals, or just a general idea of how life “should” be. We cling so tightly to whatever our perceived foundation is that we begin to develop blinders, unable to see that at some point it transitioned into a crutch, holding us back, keeping us stuck from our next layer of growth and expansion.
And when we finally let go we experience, perhaps for the first time in our lives, the feeling of groundlessness; the sensation of no longer clinging.
And you know what? Groundlessness really makes you confront a lot of your shit, as it should. It’s human nature to crave certainty but we must learn to fall into the groundlessness (Pema Chodron speaks about this beautifully in her book ‘When Things Fall Apart’). We must learn to fall into the abyss of uncertainty so that we may shed our next layer; so we may continue to let go of what is no longer needed, as deeply as we believe the opposite.
We must allow the foundation to crumble so we can free ourselves from the illusion of what we believed was holding us together…...so we can allow ourselves to (momentarily) fall apart. As always, we must allow the breakdown to occur. If we allow it, only then do we have our breakthrough and the ability to see ourselves, our true selves, more clearly and brightly than ever before.