In her acclaimed memoir Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert states “ruin is a gift, ruin is the road to transformation.” I know a thing or two about ruin. The way she sweeps in over night and changes your whole life. Ruin is a gift, it is also a verb, hear me out.
When ruin enters your life, say hello. She is not a monster, though she is often perceived as such. Poor ruin is not used to receiving a warm welcome, and while a warm welcome might be a stretch, at least make her a cup of tea, she’s here to teach us something.
Here's the thing, almost everything I have defined myself by has changed in the last year. Partner, student, friend; changed. Places and people I took comfort in have shifted. Often these days it feels like the only thing that hasn't changed is my own skin, but of course, that’s changed too.
I say ruin is a verb because surrendering to ruin, letting myself be ruined, has been an act of daily faith. Not trying to claw my way out sideways, deeply surrendering to the shift of life.
Ruin is a verb because letting go of what was takes effort, and time. It’s amazing how something ends, but we hang onto it for months, days, lifetimes. I don’t mean hanging on as in missing someone with tenderness, or thinking of fond memories, that's human, I mean hanging on as in grasping and clinging in resistance to the present moment, but of course, that's also human.
Like adding one bead on a necklace and then another, my past six months have been made up moment by moment of surrender.
Ruin is a verb because she works through us. Like water carving a cave over decades, ruin shapes our hearts over time. She is both gentle and fierce, requiring anything that isn't a necessity to be dropped. Letting ruin work through me, I’ve efforted non effort in the past 6 months, my busy mind hates it.
Ruin is a verb because she opens us. The act of taking what was once closed, a lid, a heart, a mind, takes action. Opening to new layers of myself has taken attention and kindness.
Letting ruin work through me, I realize she is the blessing, and I the humble student.
Letting ruin work through me, I realize she works through all of life, hoping we’ll answer her call to break open.