The idea of falling into the abyss has always terrorized me. Because it is invariably accompanied by the notion that I will never find my way up and out again. And yet, part of my emotional script includes tumbling into a downward spiral whenever I dare to feel powerful, successful or happy. So, I seem to have to negotiate this fear on a regular basis.
This summer was no exception. And spiraled I did. Completely, hopelessly, and, it seemed, with full awareness as it happened. I tumbled into the abyss with all my being: trembling, sore stomach, endless sleepless nights, weeping – for weeks and weeks. Each day I observed what was happening to me as if peering down from some ledge above the deep hole I was falling into.
However, at the same time I found myself accomplishing so much! And, even, laughing out loud at what was happening. It was as if the inside of my emotional memory was battling it out in public!
And so, before I knew it, there I was – here I am – six weeks later: regression recovered, and I don't remember ever scrambling my way out of the abyss. Indeed, all of a sudden, it seems that I have joined my Self peering down from the ledge and wondering how I magically climbed up and out.
This morning I stood in my back yard and watched a goldfinch land on the Echinacea I had intentionally planted last spring, especially to entice him into my garden. I kept quiet and still as I observed the bright yellow bird feasting away. Such a hopeful little fellow he is for me. The excitement within me was palpable. After he had flown off I continued on to a different section of the yard when, behold! A luminescent humming bird dived down right in front of me and hovered for many moments as she observed me up close. I stood like a statue, holding my breath, and allowed the tiny bird to size me up and down. It was a long, many-moments too amazing and exciting to imagine.
I decided to take nature's glorious events this morning as signs of regression recovery. For, never have I achieved so much professionally and psychologically as these past six weeks. Even as I fell deeply into the abyss I have always feared, somehow, at the very same time, I was able to navigate it with awareness, tenderness and compassion, and beam myself back safely – intact, but perhaps, even a little bit stronger than before.
Suddenly I am reminded of a post I wrote many years ago, about Bob the therapist from back in my Buffalo days:
I remember a session with Bob the therapist a few years ago. "What are you afraid of?" he asked one time. "Of falling into the abyss," I replied. "Hm … It might be good to just allow yourself to fall into it then," he wondered quietly. I take a deep breath and feel a softening of the neck muscles.
A year ago at Mining Nuggets: Renewal