If you fill a container with too much gas at some point the container will explore. Simple physics.
Our lives are filled to the brim. Social media, TV, family, sports commitments with kids, work, commutes, handling all of your stuff, buying more stuff, balancing the budget (or not), climbing the ladder of life….it goes on and on. Our internal energy systems are expanded to such an extent that at some point they simply must explode. Explosion can look like illness, chronic fatigue, depression, break down, divorce and losing our business.
In the wonderful myth of the Sumerian Goddess Inanna and her descent into the underworld, she had to go through 7 gates. At each gate she was required to lose items of her Queenery. Her jewellery, her silks..right down to her nakedness. She had to enter the darkness of the underworld having let go of everything that she held as valuable in the external world.
Mythology is so powerful because it speaks in metaphor what we experience in life. Loss it about letting go.
In losing our business, and perhaps our livelihood, our years of investment and savings, we have to let go of things we have held so tightly.
This includes the things that register our status in life. Our home, our car, our possessions. It may include our relationships. There is a shedding that takes place.
And at the core of this shedding is our identity, built over decades. For many this is the highest cost.
We are forced to examine who we really are in the world. Are we our status? Are we our house and car and flying at the pointy end of the plane? Are we our business, our job title? Are we the successful parent who provides wonderful things for children who have become indulged? Or the amazing spouse who has furnished the family with fabulous holidays?
In the descent everything we hold precious and dear that is transient will be lost to us. This is hard. Really Hard.
At the same time it is purifying. Ask anyone who has been through it and come out the other side.
Things get real. Life gets simple. We remember once again, if we are smart, what really matters. We become grateful for the little things. The touch of the sun on our cheek. The hug of a loved one. A warm bed in any house. That we live in a country that is not in the grip of war or terror. That we wake each day and draw breath.
Minimalism and simplicity become celebrated. I remember sitting in my home after my divorce when my daughter was two, with only a childs table and chairs as furniture…and I felt so light and free…all my stuff was gone…cleaning was a breeze…a whole place/space in my mind was released.
If you are in this stage of letting go, shedding…then you need to continue the practices that we have so far established in stage 1 and 2. Keep your exercise routine. Take good care of your diet and get plenty of sleep… work with your mentor. Take time to be in silence each day, to come back to present time.
As the elements that have made up your life to this point are being lost to you, the practice now includes valuing the real. Your relationships with friends and loved ones. Nature. Beauty. Your health. That you can move, walk, write, speak.
The practice become Gratitude. It is of course paradoxical to the experience you are having which is loss. The steeper the loss…loss of a child..partner…the harder it is to navigate to Gratitude. But navigate you must.
Find gratitude in the permanence. The sun rise, the moon set. The change of seasons. The tree growing in your front yard. Your breath.
Build Gratitude into your day as its own permanence. As a forever part of your ‘who’. It will become a part of your life that will sustain and enrich you as no other external element ever will.
Photo credit: NASA