The Shift

The Shift

The ground shifted below my feet
One moment I was standing on the sidewalk
Sure about the path ahead
And in the next instant I was in an unfamiliar woods.
The movement caused me to sway
And knocked me to my knees.
In those first seconds I could hardly breathe.
Gasping for air, I bent over and clutched the earth.
I tried to get a bearing on which way was west.
But my compass failed me.
Dirt under my fingernails, I grit my teeth.
I tried to engage my brain
To work through the situation with logic.
What had just happened to me?
How did I get here?
Which way do I go?
But that, too, failed me.
Now as I sit on this semi-solid ground,
I have nothing left but to feel.

If there is one thing that can be known for certain it is that nothing ever, ever stays the same. Everything in the world around us is in constant motion. Things shifting above our heads and below our feet. Sometimes it’s small, insignificant things like a change in plans or the unexpected ringing of a door-bell, but sometimes the change is big. Something larger than what we expect and therefore we have no mechanism to cope. We have no power to control it and try though we might to resist, our efforts are no match for the movement of the tides.

I’ve been through a fair amount of change in the last two and a half years. I call it “Turmoil and Transformation”, and having weathered that storm I gained a sense of confidence that I could gracefully handle anything that life decides to throw at me. I’ve learned some lessons about when to take control and when to let go; how to use logic and reason to think my way through the tough moments and with those tools I felt I would be better equipped to cope and understand and continue on. But as sure as the sun rises, you turn a corner and fall into something you were not expecting.

For me, that something was not a something at all, it was a person. With him, I opened my heart and allowed myself to feel. I allowed myself to love and be loved. I wandered along a blissful path hopeful that it would lead to more of the same. And then suddenly things changed, they “shifted below my feet”.

When this happened the first thing I tried to do was retrace my steps and the events leading up to the shift. I poured through my memory of past conversations, of the seconds and minutes and hours of happiness I had become accustomed to. I was searching for something that did not exist, which was, of course “what I could have done differently”. I had to reconcile the difference between what was said and what my heart wanted to hear. I tried to reason out how I could have let myself “be” on that path in the first place. How I could have gone so far down it without my instincts turning me around? I was hurt and angry and wanted to find someone or something else to blame but every train of thought only led me back to myself.

Me wandering down that path in the first place didn’t have anything to do with logic and reason; it had everything to do with emotion. It had to do with love and happiness and all those endorphins that are so addicting. Which is why, in the case of this particular change with this particular person, I could not and can not use logic and reason to find my way back out. And this feeling of being lost and helpless in an unfamiliar territory is frightening. It changed me, changed my behavior, and left me “gasping for air”.

So here I sit, with my instincts on holiday, abandoned by logic and reason. Here I sit with this raw emotion. I have no choice but to embrace it and use it to my advantage. I have to look up, I have to stand up, and I have to allow myself to feel everything I am feeling. If my emotions got me into this, then I must believe, they will get me out. I have to feel my way out of this one. If I have to take a branch from every painful tree I pass and use them to build a bridge, then that is what I shall do.

And when I arrive, I will be better for what I’ve gone through, once again, and ready to take on the next thing life has to offer.


I know that there is a purpose for every moment and I believe this person came into my life for a reason – that we found each other and it was not by accident. This outcome is not what I had hoped for and this shift is not something I was prepared for but I’m a better person for having met him. I have already gained much from the time we’ve shared and he has helped me in ways I can not describe. And though we are not meant to be together, we are of a kindred spirit and will be friends for life.

The universe will always be shifting to maintain balance so when things happen and life has to change, even if it’s difficult to accept, it is for a greater purpose. I have faith in that. I have to.

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