Periods of being fragile are essential and often important parts of our awakening journey or any big transformation process. There is no path around them because they are portals into who we are meant to be.
I received such an inspiring response from my first Fragile Part #1 blog post, that I realized there is a big need to have a map for this state. I received emails and questions, comments – thank you to everyone who reached out.
The feedback was touching and surprising – the reason I think the piece touched people so much is because it spoke against and to the enormous social, cultural and personal critics that are against the process of ‘fragility’, that are against the fact that it even exists.
Fragile is anti our productivity-oriented, always happy, always OK, always smiling culture. Fragile is anti-social media, anti-Instagram.
It is hidden, we rarely share it.
Because fragile is such a counter-cultural state of being there is little support for it in our world and inside ourselves because we have internalized the same expectations.
Awakening does not care about those expectations.
Awakening is dedicated to who you are becoming.
If part of that awakening process is about not being productive, about being reduced, so be it.
Fragile is also humbling.
It takes us close to the earth.
We are not soaring to great heights.
We cannot hide behind achieving.
We sit down. We dissolve into the earth. We let go.
So, the question is, how to experience this “letting go”, that is at the core of the process of being “fragile”?
Unfortunately, because we are against the experience of ‘letting go’ it will seek us out and instead of embracing or welcoming it, the state happens to us. Think about when you come down with a cold, and cannot easily get up from your sleep state, feeling that the only thing you want is to rest. Instead of identifying with letting go, we blame the cold, the flu, it is not ‘us’ who has dropped out, who is physically becalmed. It is the ‘cold’. It has happened to us.
So the counter to this is consent, with yourself and with the state that is larger than you. Allow yourself to be worked on and trust the process. Easier said than done right? So aim for finding permission, hearing permission and having permission to let go. To drop out is a privilege we might get from a loved one, a good therapist, a healer, from spirit, from intuition and inner knowing. Standing in that permission, claiming it, is a brave step for many of us in our tech-heavy, high-pressure, everyday lives.
Fragile often invites us into being no one, being nothing. It goes against all the values of our individualistic-achieving cultures. To embrace being nothing, to let go of identity to the point of being ‘no one‘ is the path of monks and ascetics, not our everyday selves. Yet it belongs to us all. And fragile takes us there.
Writing this today I feel close to my no one, further from my someone, in a quiet state, away from the world, removed from everything. There is no fear. There are energetic and physiological experiences less known, uncomfortable, and less pleasant. For me it is not always about sitting around being peaceful, suffering is happening also. Suffering is here.
In Fragile, things are changing, things are broken down. On every level sometimes.
The question is, can I make space for the suffering?
Can I accept that the suffering will happen for a period of time until it is done?
Because I have enough experience, the answer is “yes!”
Do I like this suffering? No! Do I actively choose it? No. If I could be rid of it? Yes! Sure!
Yet here I am. Quiet, away from the world, humbled.
In The State of Fragile, the opportunity is to watch what is allowed to show up in the state of fragile: is it awareness? An energy? A state of being? Silence. When you have space, what do you get to be close to?
The State of Fragile creates space for things to emerge in, to consolidate, to appear. If you can let go, and surrender into The State of Fragile, then you can create the space to become aware of what comes up. You have created harrowed earth for them to send shoots up from. However, for earth to be harrowed it must undergo a period of turmoil and change, which is why our modern use of the word harrowed is closer to stressed because we vilify the need for our inner lumps of clay to be broken up into fertile land.
Be patient with yourself and the process. Fragile requires deep tenderness, self-respect and great patience.
How do we know when Fragile starts to transform?
Transformation will be as unique to you as your own personality, your likes, preferences and limits but there are some common signals you will notice:
A growing sense of strength in your system.
An increased capacity to do simple things.
A return of resilience that seemed to have vanished as you sank into the folds of fragile.
For me, at this moment, I am half in and half out of fragile – fragile is still here, and recovery is definitely underway beneath the surface. These are some ways it presents for me:
I can walk for longer without fatigue.
I can spend the day out of bed.
I am interested in the external world again.
I have energy for galleries, art and quiet time.
Energy of other people is still too much that even on a Zoom call I was on with several others I noticed that I had to move the computer to the far end of the table so the energy was away from me.
I know that I will emerge from this – but I am unable to dictate what that will look like. I am in the yin state of following the process, not directing it.
Soon I know that personal agency will fully return in a new way.
Do we know what needs to be and is being transformed, or does it remain a mystery?
Sometimes it is obvious. Sometimes you know what is being transformed. Sometimes it has been signaling to you for some time that it is finished or on the way out.
Sometimes it might be the most successful part of you that has to die, it can be shocking. But that success re-emerges in a new form or expression.
Sometimes you will have absolutely no idea what is being composted, you just know that it is, and then, when you return to the world, you find that an element of yourself, your way of being is not there any more. It has transformed into something more useful for your next step.
And finally, the most neglected element in the process of Fragile is discovering and owning the gifts that emerge from it.
Most people dash back like an Olympic sprinter from the experience of being fragile, returning to busyness, gasping and grasping back at life again, “Thank god! I am ok!”
In the rush to return, and identify again with the socially affirmed norm of being the person who can ‘do’ we miss the goldmine that has been birthed in the darkness.
I sincerely encourage you to spend time as you emerge, noticing, journaling, drawing and discovering the gifts that fragile has given you. It will always bring you gifts. See what those gifts need from you next and what they offer. Befriend them and give them shape, invite them over for tea.
Fragile that is part of an awakening process is the Great Mother birthing newness or deepened states of awakening. As I surface, as I am half in my own emergence, I can name an expanded power of love and kindness, deeper quality of silence and stillness that has a kind of sunlight crystal quality. I recognize a deeper unmoving, unyieldingness from pure awareness, a sense of being finished off as a human. I have fewer personal desires left, beyond service.
I feel humble in a way that is also grateful, and I hope that I never move on from it – that I live my life from this humble. In a world that is always seeking more and wanting more, showing to the world what you have, this humbleness feels like the biggest gift of all.
I sense in the background greater courage, simplicity, and increased creative freedom.
I know that all of this is forming a ground for more creative work to come through, and without this fragile process, it would not have space to be birthed.
I wait patiently to see what that will be . . .
I send blessings to you in your own potent, transformative and sacred fragile moments, too.