It can be a scary experience, almost losing yourself. The feeling of despair, of having nothing to hold on to, no control. Losing touch with your senses. I experienced this a few times in my life. It felt as if I was balancing at the edge of death.

It felt like I just sat there watching myself. No control over what was happening to my physical and emotional body. Overwhelmed by a fear that was so deeply rooted. Something within me didn’t want to face the reality of that moment, afraid to lose something intensely dear to me. I was no longer in touch with my body and disappeared into a different state of consciousness. My body’s ultimate attempt to flee and not feel that deep feeling of sheer and utter desperation.

Impending loss can sweep the ground beneath your feet. Loss of a loved one, heartbreak, the loss of your family. There is no other prospect than a vast disconnected emptiness. Unbearably raw pain. Those who recognise this place, know how everything in your being objects to feeling the total abandonment.

Not feeling is not fully living

Some people try to find their escape in drinking or drugs, others in sex or their work. There are numerous options not to have to feel. I had the tendency to leave my body. Not to feel, not to fully live life. Exactly within these most painful moments lie the most fruitful chances for growth. They invite you to see eye to eye with your fears, to dive into the emptiness, to truly dare to fall.

Hans Knibbe, founder of Zijnsorientatie, considers “the fall” one of the most important moments of transformation in one’s life. ‘It is the feeling of not belonging, no emotional support, not to know who you are, damned to be eternally lonely, desolate, no mirror to recognise who you are.’ is what he writes in his book Resting in Being.

Somewhere along the line,
you gave away your own grounding

Not very inviting, but if you can bring up the courage to truly endure all the pain and emptiness (with or without the help of a good therapist) you will find there is a bottom to the pit. Your own bottom. Your own grounding. A ground which is rich and nourishing. If you look back to that moment when panic took hold, you’ll recognise that you sought your own grounding from someone else. Or from your job, marriage, your parenting. Somewhere along the line, you gave away your own grounding. Thinking that was where you belonged. Which was an illusion.

I let myself down. I felt and cried. I stayed present with the painful emptiness. For a while I was adrift and then one day I felt my own grounding again. Where colourful flowers now grow. Creativity blossoms. A source of endured wisdom. A home from where I may take off and reach out. From where I can meet and connect.

I can feel a sense of belonging with friends, family and spiritual circles. Which is a wonderful thing to be able to experience. But my true home can’t be found in the external world, nor can it be found next to a loved one, with the family or at my work. My true home is an inner state of being, of acceptance and relaxation. A feeling of being connected to everything and everyone around me, with my own grounding as a foundation. There is no emptiness that needs to be filled, no self-worth that needs to be confirmed, all is naturally full and rich. Sometimes I am connected to this place, sometimes I lose the connection. That’s the reality of life. In which I find peace. A deep sense of trust that my true home is always there. Even when I lose my way for a while and panic takes over.