Before we left on this journey three years ago, my life felt fragmented. Like pieces of different jig-saw puzzles which didn’t fit together.
I remember hearing a line in a film which basically summed up how I felt all my life, “Life has a gap in it. It just does. You don’t go crazy trying to fill it like some lunatic.”
My life had been full of gaps. Covering over old, unhealed traumas created gaps, resisting my inner voice created gaps, and looking outside myself for validation created massive gaps.
I think a part of me knew when we boarded that plane to Phnom Penh that I was hoping to find the metaphoric equivalent of ‘Selleys, No More Gaps,’ or at the very least figure out once and for all if those gaps were in fact, inevitable.
For a while the thrill of the dream and the excitement of adventure covered over the gaps, but very soon they became starkly, painfully, apparent. In fact, without busyness, fashionable clothes, possessions, a job title or old social patterns to disguise them, they seemed (and felt) bigger and gappier than ever.
Tired of allowing them to make me feel separated and different, I decided to surrender to them.
“Okay! I see you! You’re still here. You suck and I don’t like you, but I’m willing to love you because the alternative isn’t working.”
I began to accept and love the gaps and weirdly, their edges began to soften a little.
I still felt fragmented, but decided to own the different pieces of me. That was scarey. I don’t think I will ever have the words to describe how scarey, but I felt like I had to do it.
I’ve owned parts my life publicly and all of them privately. I’ve even owned those negative spaces; the places which used to feel like gaps.
Rather than looking for things outside myself to fill them, I’ve created from within them. New parts of me have expanded into those spaces and I can now see how absolutely vital and necessary they were.
Because the new parts have brought the other parts together.
This journey has given me the opportunity to explore my inner geography and reclaim lost territory, as well as discover new land.
I finally feel integrated.
That doesn’t mean that there are no more gaps, it means that I now recognize them as fertile spaces that I will eventually grow new life from.
It is that distinction which now makes me feel whole.
In some ways the quote from the movie was true. Life does have a gap in it. But far from being something to fill in, it is actually an invitation to explore and expand.