A teacher shared with me recently
that we humans live in a great paradox
of which we are innately aware
but which is so overwhelming
that it is the root cause
of our misery and all the behaviors
that arise from our misery.
The paradox is this:
Our consciousness is infinite
and yet our bodies are finite.
The awareness in us is as vast as the universe
and yet our tiny physical beings are fragile, vulnerable.
This paradox, and the tension it creates
is too much for many of us to bear.
And so we numb.
We get addicted.
We look outside, to escape
the tension orginating from the center of our being.
I have faced this paradox over and over
as I have watched my life dissolve
before my very eyes.
Everything I knew has been obliterated.
The consciousness in me can be at peace with this.
My body is terrified, suffering from complex PTSD.
Every day I dance on a fine line
between hope and hopelessness,
love and fear,
existence and non-existence,
infinity and limitation.
I can tell you, it’s a lonely place to dance.
When you’re 42 years old
with two young children,
celibate for the last two years,
yearning for human contact
but trusting no one…
When there’s just $35 in your checking account…
and your AC has been broken for two weeks
and there’s a wiring problem in your house
necessitating running extension cords
from your refrigerator and freezer
to outlets in another room…
When you’re feeling
tired, angry, and lonely,
but you’ve made a commitment to sobriety
to try to claw your way out
of this pit you’ve fallen into…
When the only direction you can go is up,
but you’re so damn depressed that breathing feels hard—
HOW DO YOU FIND THE STRENGTH TO CLIMB?
Friends, that last question is not rhetorical. I quite literally want to know how YOU, you who have made it through tough circumstances and who have come out stronger, how YOU did it. I need some hope. Please share your experience, strength and hope with me.
There’s a moment after hitting rock bottom
when you realize that you’re not dead.
Maybe, as you look around at where you are,
you wish you were dead,
but you’re still alive nonetheless.
Resistance will make you hurt worse.
Regret will keep you stuck in this place.
When you’ve stripped away everything
that you used as your former identity
and you find yourself, naked,
standing on rock,
it feels vulnerable, uncomfortable.
You look up…
and the light of day seems so far away.
The good news is,
you don’t have many decisions to make;
it’s very simple in this naked place
of bare, cold, hard, rock bottom.
There’s only one direction you can go—
Some part of me had decided
a long time ago
that love wasn’t for me.
Happiness wasn’t for me.
Abundance wasn’t for me.
Health wasn’t for me.
This unconscious part
was running the show,
and as my life fell apart,
it felt more and more justified
in acting from its own limiting beliefs.
And how I suffered…
But then, my heart cried out for mercy.
Some part of me
(was it my soul?)
asked for Grace.
In the middle of my most broken moment,
some voice whispered
You have survived the worst…
it can only get better
from here on out.
I breathed into the center
of my deepest, darkest pain
and found there
a scared little girl
waiting to be loved.
She had searched everywhere
but in the place where the love actually lived.
It was time to bring her home,
to let her see that she is deeply loved
with a love that cannot be taken away.
As I became willing to relax
into the process of awakening
by the deep and abiding wisdom
at the center of my Self,
I saw and felt how this life
isn’t happening TO me—
it’s happening FOR me.
I fell to my knees,
heart broken open even more.
I’m in this tender place now,
picking up pieces of a self blown apart
by the storms of life.
I’m putting the puzzle together
piece by piece,
beginning to see some coherence.
Emerging from the depths of my being,
a new strength,
a willingness to grow, change and evolve,
and most of all…hope.
Afraid for what awaits
in the emptiness
of my once shared space.
Grieving still what was…
wondering when I’ll be set free
from this self-imposed prison.
What do I need to do to let go
all the way?
The way this works,
if there is one shred of holding on,
the whole thing takes root again
and grows stronger than ever before.
I need grace
to help me let go all the way.
I wake up in darkness
although the sun is out.
It’s the same old familiar feeling
of uncertainty for the future,
for not having it all figured out by now.
Then Grace steps in and speaks
gently and lovingly to me:
Everything will be revealed
in the proper time, space and sequence.
Your job is to stay open
to this process of shedding the old
so that you can receive the new.
Believe me, it’s worth it.
Where is the balance point
between the effort and the ease?
Where is the grace
that allows forgiveness to find me?
Where is the sweet one
who will coax my heart out of hiding?
Where is the soul nourishment
that will sustain me?
I keep trying, trying, trying.
I’m exhausted from the effort
of teasing apart the jumbled mess
of other people’s perceptions
and finding my true self
concealed somewhere deep within.
Where am I,
who am I,
in the midst of all of this chaos?