Disintegration in the Dark Night of the Soul
The next phase after the Interrupting event is the Disintegration. This is a period in which one recognizes the beliefs, systems, expectations, and routines all fall away. There is really no way to hold it together because at this point it is all out of your control. The pandemic showed us this as we watched businesses shut their doors, jobs disappear, and routines completely change.
You may choose to fight for what once was your normalcy, but odds are it is a futile attempt. As I watch the protesters fight against the closings and the need for masks, I realize they are trying to hold on to the disintegrating reality of our lives. They are in the grips of fear and grasping valiantly to maintain control of the uncontrollable.
This struggle between power and powerlessness is the cornerstone of the disintegration phase. Here you can stop and begin to take stock of the things that you truly have the power to control. You can choose your reactions, your flexibility, and your faith or you can choose to focus on the struggle. It’s a choice that will ultimately determine the length of time you remain in this phase. I have watched people spend years fighting in this stage of the journey never fully understanding there is a different option.
This second option of power relies on grace, surrender, and acceptance. Taking the time to evaluate where you truly can control the outcomes will bring you a sense of grace and calmness. When you have your power understood, you can then surrender to what is out of your control. The things you are powerless against are those things you must allow to just be.
I often imagine this phase of acceptance and surrender as being caught in a dangerous river current. My body tumbles and gets pushed under as I struggle to reach the surface. However, the survival technique is to roll into a ball and flow with the current so that it can push you out. A simple solution, but oh so hard to do.
Moving to the next phase of Normalization is where you can get your footing back and walk out of the current of the river and into a new life.