Let the rug be pulled from beneath you
Everything is changing all the time, and we keep wanting to pin it down, to fix it. So whenever you come up with a solid conclusion, let the rug be pulled out. You can pull out your own rug, and you can also let life pull it out for you.
I've been sitting with this quote from Pema Chödrön's book start where you are for a few weeks now. Today feels like the right time to put some of my thinking down into words.
Why today? Well, on this day seven years ago I packed all my worldly belongings into my car and left town to start a new life. It was a leap into the unknown after the future I thought I was stepping into was taken away.
I've always described this experience as having the rug pulled from under me. It was the lowest point of my life and at the time I couldn't see how I was going to get out of it. I'd been holding so tightly to one specific outcome and suddenly it felt like there was nothing in front of me. Everything was fuzzy. Everything was uncertain.
When I was in the midst of it, it was hard to imagine life being any different. Anything beyond the day in front of me felt unclear. Somehow I knew that all I could do was to take things one day at a time. To put one foot in front of the other and slowly make my way forward. As time passed, the world started to open up again and I was eventually able to start making plans further into the future. To rebuild my life on my own terms.
With the perspective that each new year brings, I can now look back on that time and feel grateful for what the experience has taught me. I learned:
- to allow myself to sit with uncomfortable emotions
- to focus on what is in my control
- to open up about how I'm feeling and ask for help
- and, that no matter what I'll be OK
Five years on from this, I chose to pull the rug out myself, to make another leap into the unknown. I moved from the security of employment to the rollercoaster of running a business of my own. It was a step I'm certain I would never have taken without that previous experience.
What I think I've learned over the past seven years, and what I read in the words that started this whole piece, is that the less tightly we hold onto certainty, or a fixed outcome, the easier it becomes to deal with both planned and unexpected changes in our lives.