If we live long enough there will be That Moment. It will be a phone call, a diagnosis, a sit-down discussion with a family member, a conversation you overhear. A bit of information will come into Your Life and you are forever changed. Your Life veers off on a completely different tangent.
All expectations of what the future looked like are completely dashed to bits.
You are left standing in the void.
In her book, “Welcoming The Unwelcome” — Pema Chodron addresses this state of being brilliantly. We all assume we stand in the void alone. But this experience is completely human and a universal one.
We will all face this at some point in our existence.
This Reality Check.
This place where we look out into the world and understand nothing we thought was important — nothing society taught us should matter — nothing we clung to for stability — none of those things are Truth.
The defining characteristic of Life-Altering events is the clarity they bring. Standing in the void which follows them — we know on a soul level what pieces of Life are the important bits.
It is not the car we drive or the house we live in. It’s not the number of shoes in our closet or even the state of our romantic lives.
Those of us who have had these seismic shifts in our reality know what we look at in the aftermath has to do with Love. It is always about Love.
Do the people in My Life know how much I love them? Am I living My Life pursuing the things I love — or am I trapped in a cycle of misery? Have I healed my relationships and given Love a fighting chance to grow across the chasms?
The pain, grief and loneliness we find standing in the void after a Life-Altering event can completely transform us. We can stay there and long for the moments of ignorance and bliss of The Before — or we can lean into The Knowledge and move forward in the present.
I have seen this so many times in my work as a nurse. Many patients have told me their cancer diagnosis was, in fact, a gift. I have felt it in My Life as well — with too many of Life-Altering moments to even list — the void has become my reset button. A place which reminds me to look up and focus on what truly matters in My Life and to let everything else go. Just. Let. It. Go.
Life is always about change. Life is never stagnant. There WILL BE a phone call, a diagnosis, a sit-down discussion, an overheard conversation in each of our lives. Information that we did not have will come to us and forever change us.
What we do in the aftermath is up to us. Can we embrace the void and recognize the oneness of our shared human experience? Can we see others standing next to us in the void — just as lost and purposeless? All of us together attempting to rebuild our lives. All of us now focused on the true meaning of what Life on planet Earth really means. All of us needing each other in a way we didn’t need each other before the void.
Our Life is our story. We get to write it any way we chose. Even from the void — we get to decide what our next steps are. We have had a Life-Altering event.
Do we stay in the void? Or do we step forward and Live?