This morning at 5.36am I was driving to the gym, when a half peeled mandarin fell out of the sky. It dropped to the road in front of my car. Before this happened, it was a pretty normal day in my suburb, I had passed the man in his High-Vis vest on his way to the train station, carrying his lunch in a plastic bag, I saw the cute couple who walk their two black dachshunds, the rest of the street was deserted, everyone was asleep. I was wiping the sleep from my eyes, thinking about the coffee I needed, the client I had coming at 9 and how I needed to get into the city by 1 for the second orthodontic appointment this week.
Then, the falling fruit. Unexpected to say the least. By the time I had turned the corner, my rational brain had decided that it was probably some kind of raptor or maybe the local osprey had been carrying it and dropped it. It may have been a possum or a koala in the huge gum trees I just passed. Do koalas eat fruit? I don’t think so, can a possum peel a mandarin? I think a thumb is essential for that. Could it have already been half peeled and taken from a bin or tree? Wait, maybe it fell from a light aircraft or drone? There could be many reasons, and none also. Did that just happen?
If I had pulled over, I may have seen a large bird swoop down to collect his breakfast, or a tree creature scurry down the great gum to retrieve his meal, but I wanted to get to the gym before the personal trainer arrived because she was a yeller and I needed some chill-out, treadmill time with music.
I suppose the thing that really struck me was that sometimes in life, weird shit happens, strange and unexplainable things occur for which we can’t prepare ourselves. They happen to us and people we love and care about. The most revealing thing about us, I suppose, is how we choose to respond or react to this unexpected shit.
Do we scream and rant and wail? The sky is falling? The bible said this would happen! First the falling fruit, then the rivers of blood, followed by fire and pestilence. Or some people are more like,
“Whew – lucky that didn’t smash my window or cause an accident.” Because sometimes, weird and unexplainable shit happens and we react how we react, when we are blown off course or blindsided. I think said “What the fuck?” which, I think is a perfectly normal reaction to a mandarin dropping from the sky.
Sometimes the unexpected can drop us to our knees. A death, a loss, a redundancy, relationship or business failure. We mourn, weep, question – why me? We plea to God or the universe to fix everything and make it back to how it was, even if wasn’t perfect or satisfying. It was what we were used to. We want our loveless marriage or narcissistic relationship back, as at least it looked acceptable to society and we were not alone or broken, we want our unfulfilling job back because it was a mortgage payment, even though it wasn’t a career and made us feel dead inside. We want things back, even if they were not in our best interest. We bargain, we promise to ourselves that we will be better, love better, work harder, show more compassion, spend more time with our family, take holidays, stress less, support more, not be so quick to judge or criticize and take better care of ourselves. We promise, barter and bargain.
We do, or we don’t. What we focus on becomes our reality. Why did he/she leave me? Reject me? Hate me? Sack me? Die? We wallow. The wallowing is important. It may feel or look self indulgent. It may look like staying in, watching sappy movies and eating three day old leftovers. Your friends, family, co-workers may try to rally you out of your misery, but this is the most important part. You will come out when the lessons are learned. It’s not time to suppress these emotions with alcohol, drugs or others, it is the time to let the emotions out to breathe. Give them space to move. This is the absorption time, the time for marinating in your own juices, the time to say no, the time you need for yourself, to return to self love and healing.
It’s not time to immediately get over him or her, move on or push forward to a new path. If you leave before you are ready, that path will rise up and trip you again and again, as the lessons weren’t learned. I know this. I’ve done this. I’ve pushed the wallowing away, with alcohol, with food, with exercise and with any other distraction I could. I then found myself in the same mess. Now I know how to grieve. To wallow. To wait it out. It passes. It does take time in between the loss and recovery. The time can only be defined by you. You choose how long to grieve. One day you wake up and know that you don’t have to carry it anymore.
Because we can’t control what happens in life, to us or others. We can’t control who loves us, who leaves us, who lives or dies, who stays or goes and when. It is out of our hands. We can only control how we react or respond and for how long we chose to beat ourselves up, blame others and wallow.
Wallowing is a state demonstrating how much we loved. Love is the essence of what makes us human. Wallowing shows we cared, we felt, and these people or circumstances were important to us. Grief is an essential part of honouring what we loved. At some point, there will come a time to let go, acknowledge this love and loss and reabsorb it into ourselves. Anyone touched by grief is forever changed. Their hearts are a little more cracked open. Grief is the learning, the process of taking on the lessons, what has this person or situation taught me? We become a little more vulnerable and accepting. We can choose to learn from this and learn from the experience.
It may be that we will never love someone so much that we lose ourselves, it may be that we will never put work before family again, the lesson may be, I want to become more like the person I lost, how can I be like the best part of them? We may start to think, how would they behave, how can I emulate them? What was significant about that loss/relationship/job? What did I learn? How can I become better, more compassionate and loving after this experience? How am I now? How do I want to be?
Fruit falling from the sky made me question life. It exhausted my brain trying to make sense of it, but it quietened my heart. There was a deep knowing. Weird shit happens. How I respond to it, is my choice. I choose to follow my heart, it somehow, knows the unknown.