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  • Writer's pictureAnnelisa MacBean

In the Middle

Coming apart, keeping it together. Then coming apart, then keeping myself together again. The cycles of integration and disintegration repeat over and over. Disorder and order. Calm and movement. Clarity and bewilderment. Hope and desperation. I see these patterns, phases, cycles appearing constantly in nature. And I experience the unfolding of my human journey to be alive, dynamic, ever-changing, sometimes understood and integrated, sometimes utterly unknown . . . unknowable and disintegrated.

In ways I can know in my body, but my mind can’t comprehend, presence is pouring through me, guiding my attention toward that which is seeking resolution in me. I understand that deepening into those parts seeking to be seen, the tension, the pain, the numbness, prepares me for whatever is next. And what is next is always unnamed. Try as I might, I can’t approach it conceptually.

I recognize that I buy into a collective narrative that I am “falling apart” but I am more often questioning now, whether I have ever been “together” to begin with. My ego and my mind like the idea of “together” . . . But I have a growing awareness of a vast inner space in which “keeping it together” and “coming apart” coexist, and I am in constant motion between the two. When I am still and quiet, I can feel the perpetual interplay of these energies within. It feels like it is the very interaction between the two that makes up my physical form.

It is easy to get caught up in the identity of “coming apart,” in the belief that I am lost and all is hopeless. I can lose sight of the value of contrast. I am attached to the experience of integrated clarity and disinterested in the processes of destruction or death that precede a birth or a becoming. I cut off the natural aliveness of the dance between the darkness and the light. I become misattuned to the wisdom of the whole unfolding experience, exactly as it is. Preferring and expecting comfort and ease, I disconnect from being present to the embodied electrical current running through my system and miss out on the realization that regardless of the sensations in my body, nothing has ever been wrong with me. The cycles running on these deep circuits, in deep channels have shaped and are shaping what I am. I forget that the darkness, when tendered and attended, is the pathway to knowing light.

When I identify with “holding it all together,” I disconnect from vulnerability and I lose the possibility of openness to my experience. Labeling or judging what is arising in my body as unwanted or wrong, I turn away from the possibility of my heart breaking open. Sadness or dejection can approach, unannounced and unexpected, at any time. But it is in meeting and receiving this tender aliveness that the poetry of my life unfolds.

Right in the middle of “coming apart” and “keeping it together” . . . as the cycles of dark and light energies repeat . . . right in the middle of this back and forth is a balance, a still point, a moment where the light and the dark cross over and through each other. For a moment they are in union; integration and disintegration are married for a moment, meeting in love; dark and light are weaving the substance of my sacred experience of being human.

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