Sometimes a person can get so, so low, it is a wonder where we find the strength to carry on.
I have had a few moments like this in my life and even considered what Michael Neill calls ‘The Suicide Thought’ when things were really bad, but I carried on. The strength, whether I felt I had it or not somewhere inside me, just kept me going.
I am reading Paulo Coehlo’s book ‘The Pilgrimage’ at the moment and whilst I have never done a walk as long as that before, I can imagine setting out on a journey, full of excitement and energy only to find the going gets really tough. The energy created from the intial enthusiasm and excitement starts to be sapped away, little by little insidious drop. The will to continue after many a day without feeling that any significant progress has been made plus the enormity of the task that still stretches out almost endlessly before you begins to erode and the doubts creep in. The chances of your success look as remote and isolated as the next distant village.
You are not going as quickly as you would like; things should not be this way. People, watching from the sidelines, fire ridicule at you and undermine you for starting and attempting something like this and you feel like a slow-moving target, not only needing all your wits to find your way forward but to dodge what’s coming at you from all sides as well.
This is just too much, isn’t it? You are disheartened, disillusioned, disenchanted and wonder whether you will ever get to the end before you decide that maybe the doubters were right and you just give up.
Just then, you look back and see how far you have come and you begin to look forward with fresh eyes and finally, the spring returns to your step as everything looks different and you can see the rest of the way. As the realization of what is possible sinks in, your will returns to complete the journey and your energy surges anew.
You get to the end to find that it is not really the end and you set your sights on something new and wonderful and exciting – and off you go again.
Where do we find that inner strength? Where does it come from when we feel we just can’t continue?
Well, there’s a clue with the word ‘inner’. Resilience is something that we all have; it’s innate and we draw on it sometimes without seeming to have made a conscious choice about it. At some point, when we are feeling down, even if we take to our beds and hide under the covers from the world, the feeling subsides – it’s not quite so unbearable and we emerge into the light once more.
How? How does that happen?
At some point, we stop thinking what we thought before. The thoughts lose their intensity and so our feelings feel less sensitive and raw. What we thought was really, seriously important before, ceases to be of such major significance. And then…
And then the space is created for new thought to come in and we see things differently. We see what is possible – if not all at once, a glimpse is sometimes all it takes and we continue with enriching our lives and filling them with experiences of all shapes and colours.
And what about when we feel we’ve been out dodging bullets?
To be bullet-proof, first of all the bullets need to be real. Most of the time, they are not but we imagine them to be so. We imagine them to cause us pain and hurt if one gets in through our tough outer shell and rips through the very heart of our soul. But that is not really real though, is it? We may feel it emotionally but only until we realize that nothing and no one can actually touch who we are on the inside and damage our essence – our spirit – our very core.
I know this to be true because my 85 year old neighbour recently suggested I have sex with him for money. Whilst I was outraged and incredulous for a while, I wasn’t hurt because I know that a) it was never meant to cause me pain in the first place and b) nothing can reach me like that unless I allow it, I knew that even though I might be a bit pissed off for a while, that I am OK and that I will be OK no matter what. So much of what we take as being personal is actually nothing to do with us at all, but is about the other person. It gave me fantastic insight into where his head was though and I was soon cracking jokes about having a ‘broad’ appeal.
I was reminded of this bullet-proofing again this morning when I read a post from a friend that has explained why I haven’t heard from them for ages or will be likely to in the future. I was surprised that I didn’t get the old feeling of the bottom seeming to fall out of my stomach but then I realized it was probably because I knew my spirit was intact.
Resilience is within me and my spirit is intact. This is as true of me as it is of you and of us all.
It is really that simple – it is us that think life has to be complicated.