can be simultaneously exciting and terrifying and when you realize that you must choose to jump into the abyss, run to either the left or right or turn around and face the mother of all storms; that choice can be intimidating but it must be made. I wish when that moment came for me I had understood that I could have pressed the pause button on my panic, took a long, deep breathe, cleared my mind, systematically weighed my options and formulated a series of plans. Sadly, that wasn’t what happened.
I was still operating at an unconscious level of self awareness and therefore my reaction was a bit like chicken-butchering day at my great-grandmother’s farm; mindless running amok, minus the feathers and eventual fried chicken feast but a whole lot of mess that needed to be cleaned up; inside and out. I did know one thing. I was exhausted. All this mindless running to the left and right was simply lateral movement. No progress, just more mess. Rule # 1: Indecisive lateral moves often result in a circular pattern. In other words, I was stuck in the muck, spinning my wheels and getting no where.
I luckily didn’t linger that long in the realm of lateral moves not that my next phase was much of an improvement. I was still exhausted and by this time pissed as well and so I chose to face the storm. What I failed to realize was that I was mad at myself. I became the storm and I raged and I roared. I lashed out at everyone and everything. Not one of my finer moments but it turns out it was a necessary evil:
A). I had systematically pushed all but my staunchest friends and family members away (we are talking minimally small numbers left standing).
B). As easy as it is to blame everyone and everything for how crappy life is going when the storm is over and you are the only one standing in the carnage there is no other option but to face the cold hard truth that you and you alone are the one responsible for the chaos, which is a very bitter pill to swallow.
I didn’t swallow that pill very quickly, I choked on it, tried to take it in smaller, easily managed doses, even a spoonful of sugar didn’t make it easier to get down. I even tried living in denial but somehow that never worked out because my past always showed up to bite me in the ass and remind me of every single mistake, fear, or just plain old rotten choice I had made along the way.
This state of being is a bit like being in purgatory. You are in limbo, on the verge of transcendence, it’s palpable, you can all but touch it but you’re to paralyzed by fear and therefore unable to move forward yet excruciatingly aware that there is nothing you want to return to in your past because you can’t change any of it. I was left with this sensation of being defeated, yet oddly, there was acceptance too.
It wasn’t that I was giving up but I knew that I was tired of fighting the same battle within myself and getting no where. I really wasn’t even sure who I was anymore, what I wanted or even expected from life. I did know I wasn’t happy. I also realized that I was stuck in victim mode and I didn’t like it and somehow I recognized that doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different outcome was absolute lunacy. Rule #2: When all other options have been exhausted, and the known patterns are revealed as futile, then form a radically new and untried course of action. AKA: If the house is on fire, all the doors are locked and the keys are lost then break a damn window!
I had unwittingly undergone a process of elimination. I had drawn the conclusions that lateral movements (flight) and facing the storm by becoming the storm (fight) resulted in a very anti-climatic, not to mention unnecessary, ritual of suffering (fear, loathing and a whole lot of stagnation). I had one option left and I was skeptical of its validity. The Abyss loomed large and frighteningly dark and I imagined it to be bottomless; an unending decent into nothingness and as I stood contemplating the myriad of probabilities…I tripped.
Photo: The Well; Rajasthan, India :Nikon DSLR 5300 by Pamela