Sign up

Wanna get 2 free yoga practices, special offers + insider news?

Zen Peacekeeper.







Discombobulation and clarity

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 by Marianne Elliott

Follow me on

Kapiti Island from Paekakariki Beach, November 2010

It’s been a full few weeks. I haven’t been here much, but I’ve picked up a few lessons along the way. Not neatly packaged, just messy enough to lead me to suspect they might be real.

So I’m going to share a few of them over the next few days because I figure that if I tell you mine, you might tell me yours.

The first in a series of lessons I’ve learned while living lately…

Getting ungrounded is sometimes a way to find new territories to explore

When I flew home from Europe last week I felt as unsettled in my skin as I’ve been since I first got home from Afghanistan almost three years ago. I spent most of my first day back in Wellington crying.

Flying tends to unground us all, and for someone like me – who has a tendency to lose her connection to the earth at the best of times – ten long haul flights in three months is well over the recommended limit.

Last Tuesday I was, to say the least, deeply unsettled. I found myself questioning everything about my life: where I’m living, what I’m doing and even, to my particular distress, the people I spend my life with. It was, not to put too fine a point on it, uncomfortable.

I knew that the only thing for it was to let myself to be uncomfortable. I resisted the temptation to distract myself in the charms of the city and instead retreated to my refuge by the beach, a place of silence and stillness where whatever is troubling me always seems to become clearer, if not less uncomfortable.

And things did get clearer – with the help of a conversation with Randi Buckley, the woman who puts the ‘compassionate’ in compassionate clarity.

Things got much clearer. Somewhere in the dance between all that has been and all that is possible I managed to hear the quiet whisper of my heart and and I discovered new territories to explore.

My take-away? Discombobulation is sometimes the necessary precursor to clarity and losing our ground sometimes helps us step out into brave new worlds.


Get my latest articles delivered to your inbox (+ get 2 free yoga practices)

11 Responses to "Discombobulation and clarity"

  1. Anastasia says:

    Absolutely, Marianne. Mobile people/global citizens are so prone to this feeling of losing our way. As a 13+ year expat in several nations I’ve written about how being grounded is overrated and actually gives us a chance to be in a wider orbit around the inner us.

    In fact, this thinking is what propelled me to refine my idea of the global niche — a psychic solution to our global citizen identity crisis.

    The concrete no longer works in the lives we lead today.

  2. amy says:

    your honesty and willingness to share the things that you are learning always inspires me. thank you. it has taken me a long time to understand and trust that good things come from being willing to open up about the not so neat bits of my life.

  3. kerin rose says:

    you know, Marianne, there is something about flying that does that to me too….I too, am a ‘need my feet on the ground’ type…any ground, but they need to ‘be’ there…

    and I find the speed at which a plane ‘ungrounds’ me discombobulating!….I always feel as if my body is in one place and my heart and soul have yet to catch up….

  4. Peter says:

    My teacher in California used to use the word ‘discombobulated’ a lot: especially to describe his mind state after coming back from a long journey! Often he would relate his mind state and then say ‘discombobulation is just discombobulation.’ 🙂

  5. The best lessons are messy, it’s true. Thanks for sharing yours, Marianne. xo

  6. Christen says:

    Thank you, thank you! In this season of my life I can never be reminded enough to embrace groundlessness and uncertainty.

  7. Lanham True says:

    Last week I got so discombobulated by flying, to my psychically-embattled hometown, no less, that a very difficult truth shook loose, one I’d been ignoring for over a year. And I spoke it aloud. And there is much fallout, especially in the pit of my stomach. Comfort at the expense of clarity can be overrated, though.

  8. Swirly says:

    This is beautiful, poetic, and spot on. It is also a practice I have been trying to develop into a habit ~ this leaning into those moments of uncertainty and discomfort. Support and inspiration from women like you is what has made this possible for me, this deepening of that trust.

  9. Reading this post, I am mindful of two things, first, the wise saying “out of chaos,clarity” and second, you remind me that I must embrace my own discombobulation when it occurs, live with it, breathe withit and it will clear and provide insights.

  10. Andi says:

    Oh gosh, I couldn’t agree with this post anymore and I read it at the perfect time, as I’m going through my own anxiety caused by international travel. Hugs!!!

  11. Basta says:

    I sometimes come here to know that there is someone similar to me, just further ahead on the road of finding both inner and outer peace.

    Until today I always thought I was the only one who got disoriented when moving between worlds in what feels like warp speed, landing and trying to tie it all together to become one life and one person, one whole person instead of this broken mirror who most often lands exhausted and disconnected.

    So thank you for sharing.

Follow me on