What sustains us when everything around us falls apart? What do we hold on to when everything we were holding on to just slips away and vanishes?
At one point or another in our lives, we all have been devastated by divorce, death or an illness. The time in between now and until we make it is the meantime and it may prove to be the most significant time of our lives. The question is what do we do in this meantime?
We can blame others, be angry at our luck, or believe that we are doomed no matter what. This will make us feel worse than we already do. When nothing else will work, we may feel compelled to look for answers within ourselves. We may begin to remember other painful incidents in our lives and wonder why? Why what we are going through feels like we have been there before? And if we continue to contemplate, we may begin to notice our habitual way of being, thinking and reacting. This may be a moment of relief because we have just begun to understand ourselves.
This meantime is the time for unconditional self-love, self-knowledge and self-awareness. The desire to be deeply known and understood is no one else’s but our own responsibility. When our happiness and security is dependent on someone or something else, it means it can also be taken away. We may also push away this external source of happiness and security by constantly worrying that we might loose it.
I am not suggesting that we won’t ever fall back into our old habit patterns of self-pity and blaming others. The learning is hidden in the falling and climbing back on. Mastery of life, we seldom can, it is in its trials and tribulations that we may begin to understand it.
How we do one thing is how we do everything. When we take away all the dramas, it is all about choices. It takes continuous, repetitive and persistent effort to have our actions reflect our choices. In this meantime, what do we choose to do?
We can trust that whatever has happened and will happen is for our higher good. We can sit with whatever comes up and allow ourselves to feel deeply what we feel. We can choose to be gentle, kind and loving to ourselves and open our hearts to no other but ourselves.
Why do all this work? What is the point? That is for each one of us to figure out for ourselves. I do know that if we do not learn from our experiences, they will continue to repeat. We can choose not to be prisoners of the past. We can let go of a rigid picture of the future that we dreamed up a long time ago. Where we begin and where we end up is hardly the point. It is all the stuff in the middle, the meantime that life is made up of.
We are all equipped to handle anything that comes our way and this meantime is the time to realize that. In spite of all the cracks in our foundation, realize that we are whole inside. When we are convinced of that, we will understand that this meantime is not the time to “fix” ourselves; it is the time perhaps to see ourselves for the very first time. We may rearrange our stuff. Only then, we can let go of fixing others, forgive others and most importantly forgive ourselves. Our biggest and most important teachers are those who have hurt us and therefore have forced us to take a closer look at ourselves.
No one can make our meantime less painful. We must spend time alone to gather up all the pieces and parts of ourselves that we have given away or lost. Behind every experience there is a lesson. Let go of the experiences, hold on to the lessons. Share them with others. Everything we are, we are because we have made it through our experiences.
I do not know what we will find on the other side when our meantime is over. I suspect that our heart will be so open to love ourselves that it would hardly matter. There would no longer be a need to change others. We will accept ourselves and therefore others unconditionally and be glad that we took this meantime to understand our own making.