I started reading a book on the plane from Singapore to Amsterdam:
‘When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times’ by Pema Chödrön.
The title spoke to me as I’m experiencing a sense of groundlessness about having left my old life, yet not quite yet having a new one.
It’s been helping me a ton in the past week to not get caught up in the games my mind wants to play.
Let’s call it the comparison-game, why don’t we.
“Oh, how nice is this fresh air compared to the sweaty humid mess in Singapore! MAN, I’LL BE SO MUCH HAPPIER IN THE NETHERLANDS.”
“Oh, how meh is this view compared to the ocean view I had back there! SIGH, ALL OF LIFE WAS SO MUCH BETTER IN SINGAPORE.”
“Oh, how open and chatty are Dutch people compared to Singaporeans! DAMN, IT’S SO GOOD TO BE BACK HOME.”
“Oh, how much more polite are people in Asia though! FML, I WANNA GO BACK ASAP.”
Yep, my mind is serving me a ton of opinions all day every day.
But in fact, these opinions aren’t serving me much at all.
They’re rather exhausting.
Well, not the opinions themselves. ‘Cause they’re just thoughts aren’t they? Hanging out in our brains, casually doing their thing.
The problem is when you start clinging to the thoughts.
Arguing with the thoughts. Trying to validate the thoughts.
Taking the thoughts a little too damn seriously!
Pema Chödrön says:
“When we make things wrong, we do it out of a desire to obtain some kind of ground or security. Equally, when we make things right, we are still trying to obtain some kind of ground or security. Could our minds and our hearts be big enough just to hang out in that space where we’re not entirely certain about who’s right and who’s wrong?”
Now, when my mind wants to get into comparison-land I try to remind myself that this is, in her words, “unnecessary activity” and I can choose not to engage with it.
Instead, I can just try to be with my pure experience of the moment, whether it’s painful or joyful.
If there is pain about what I’ve lost, I will let it wash over me.
Without pushing it away.
If there is gratitude about what I’ve gained, I will let it wash over me.
Without clinging on to it.
And, if there’s fear of what’s to come, I will let it wash over me.
Without avoiding it like the plague.
In other words, I’m just gonna sit here with my groundless ass and be OK with it.
Don’t be surprised if my next tune will be an ambient one
What’s your experience with feeling groundless? Let me know here on my FB page!