To fall apart. It sounds scary. It sounds like the end of the world. The end of us.
We do everything in our power to not fall apart. We keep our emotions in check. We keep our feelings hidden, even to ourselves. We contort ourselves around family rules. Don’t rock the boat, they said. Don’t listen to your wild truth, just fit in to our expectations and you will be fine. We conform to society norms. Work hard, spend, save, have a family, secure your future, and you will live a good life. We perform mental acrobatics to convince ourselves that we are fulfilled. We do anything to not fall apart.
To fall apart. It conjures up images of devastation. Depression. Despair. And even worse, a big black void that swallows you up so that there’s nothing left of you.
To fall apart. It stirs up an existential terror. No ground beneath you. Falling into an eternity of emptiness.
But what if the effort of holding it all together becomes just too much? What if you are so weighed down, so constricted, so suffocated by your trying to keep it together, that one day a tiny chink in your armor lets a sliver of light in? And even though it is terrifying, some distant part of you celebrates. Yes, celebrates. Because finally you can let go. Finally you can stop trying to hold it all together. But .. it’s so scary. You fear you will die. You fear it is the end of you. And so you waver between gripping on for dear life and relishing the letting go. You teeter and totter, neither this way nor that, stuck in resistance to the inevitable.
But dear friend, listen well. It really is ok to let go, to fall apart. I don’t say this lightly, for I have walked this path and understand the fear.
Dear friend, you have no choice. Eventually you will be forced to let it all go, when you take that final breath before you leave this earthly body. You might as well do it now, you might as well experiment and see what happens when you give yourself permission to fall apart.
You might discover that falling apart is not what it seems. You might discover that what falls apart is the arsenal of defenses you’ve been building up to protect you from heartbreak and grief and hurt and loss. You might discover that what falls apart is your idea of being separate from the fullness of life’s flow, from the wild grace of the earthly experience, from the holy brokenness of this crazy ride of being human.
And you just might discover that everything you imagined held you together has no real validity. You might just discover what really holds you together is the breath that weaves you into existence. You might just discover that in falling apart you are resurrected into this sacred moment. You might just discover that you are held in the open hand of being-ness.
So yes, it’s ok to fall apart. It’s your feelings you’re scared of, your vulnerability, your shame, your brokenness, your helplessness. But feelings cannot extinguish who you really are. Once the tempest has moved through you, you are left clean and naked, stripped of the burden of pretending to be who you are not.
Dear friend, you’re not really falling apart. You are falling open.