This essay was originally published on Medium.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter @jacoba_bell and find more of his work at http://www.jacobabell.com/ 


There are times throughout one’s life when chaos overtakes order, and everything seems to be on an accelerated downward spiral with little hope of regaining control. Despair, anguish, anxiety, depression, anger, and frustration all seem to coalesce in the center of our being — causing an incommunicable state of emotional torment accompanied by a dizziness of the mind, body, and spirit.

A seemingly endless number of circumstances can spark such an event: an unfaithful partner, the death of a loved one, loss of career, and failure are examples of likely candidates which might spark the fire that must burn to its natural bitter end.

After the massive comet of hopes, dreams, trust, comfort, ideals, and expectations crashes to the ground, the reverberation creates a cloud of smoke that obfuscates the rest of the world, rendering life, self, and world unintelligible.

Attempting to reorient oneself at this time can prove impossible — everything is colored in emotional panic and made blurry by the confusion of a now deceased worldview which served us as a framework from which we could navigate the world. Previously familiar objects now appear as misplaced puzzle pieces, and although we know that the puzzle must be put back together, a lack of vigor leads to a state of inertia.

With the passing of time comes the retreat of inertial force, and although we may be accompanied by a zombified-indifference glittered with moments of dramatic emotion, we slowly begin to explore the world once again.

Resilient creatures that we are, our reentry into the world leads us to begin putting the pieces of our deceased worldview back together. But something which is destroyed can never be put back together in quite the same way. Some pieces are so shattered that they no longer fit our worldview and must be discarded — and make no mistake about it — the shattered pieces of a worldview that once was, of the world that we once lived in, are like jagged razor blades that must be sorted with our fleshy hands. Rebuilding is painful, and no one can clean up the mess and put the pieces back together for us. We must undertake this responsibility ourselves. The most help we can hope for is the company of a loving friend who might bandage our wounds as we continue our march toward resurrection.

Much like the death of an animal might give way to fertile soil from which beauty might blossom, torment awakens in us that which gives birth to creativity, and this metaphorical death of our past self and former worldview gives way to renewed life.

Without the ominous-ugliness of chaos incarnate, without the embodied coalescence of intense emotion, we might not be given the opportunity to rebuild, reorient, and resurrect, for our habitual nature can cause in us a debilitating complacency, resulting in a stagnant life which hinders self-transcendence.

It is the death and rebirth of self and world which gives to us a revitalized capacity to see things anew. It is here, equipped with new vision, that we are offered the opportunity to forge a new path and become who we want to be. The cataclysmic event that began as a tormenting and torturous experience now ends in a climactic illumination of the heavenly possibilities that the world has to offer.

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Photograph by Bielany Wrocławskie — Taken from Unsplash

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