The Art of Falling Apart

On a recent trip to Lamu Island I met a fellow traveller that taught me a lot about the art of falling apart. Saara is one of those people that leaves a void when she is gone. Her presence is felt by everyone, and one is compelled to respond to her energy in one way or another. Like all of us, she sometimes find herself in situations where her expectations are shattered and the very foundation of her being rattled. This inevitably leads to her unravelling, and although it was mostly quiet and contained, it was unmistakable. Not being emotionally invested in the situation, yet, being close enough to play witness to it, I recognised so much of myself in her. When I fall apart I am lucky when it is quiet and hardly noticeable, as it more often than not takes on the look of a spewing volcano. What struck me most though, was not so much what happened when Saara was falling apart or even that she was falling apart, but how she managed to pick herself up and gracefully put herself back together again.

None of us can claim that we are above episodes in which our calm and composure crumble and disintegrate under the relentless onslaught of life’s ever-present challenges. I suspect that most of us tend to dwell on our feelings of disappointment and self-loathing when we fall apart, especially as we are often not only aware of our own weaknesses, but are also working really hard in changing them. What Saara has taught me is to stop beating myself up when I do fall apart, and instead spend my energy on picking myself up again in a way that will honour my intentions and desire of being a kind, calm and gentle soul. I often wish that I could go through life all serene and detached, but reality has taught me that even though I do manage to achieve this at times, I also occasionally succumb to my emotions that leaves me in a bit of a mess. Being disappointed in myself only makes it worse, so my guess is that to perfect the art of falling apart the focus should not be on the ‘falling apart’, but on how we manage to pick ourselves up again with dignity and humility.

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