“Please, someone help me.”
I was pleading through my sobs, with anyone or anything that might be able to give me some strength as I lay in my bed in the fetal position. This sadness was like nothing I’d experienced before and it was largely inexplicable. It wasn’t like I’d just lost everything, or been given a fatal diagnoses. I was, however uncovering some patterns of ego that didn’t serve me and doing my best to let them go, and that’s what I thought it was all about. It lasted for about three weeks, with a peak of emotional intensity that left me sobbing uncontrollably, contemplating taking my own life for a hellish two days.
As I said, I was in the throes of releasing of a huge pattern of ego. Through some tumultuous life experiences, I discovered that what I thought was love, was merely an illusion, a slight-of-hand of my ego’s desire to be the most important person to my “beloved” and have their near constant attention and approval. That realization was earth-shattering. It ripped apart everything I thought I knew about love, and a lot of what I thought I knew about myself. I guess I just chalked up the sadness I experienced in the days that followed to that big, ground-shaking, spiritual insight. Once I got through it, things were okay, actually better than okay, so I hadn’t really given it much more thought.
But through a strange turn of events, I found myself in a pit of sadness that was out of proportion to the spiritual awareness I’d had. In fact, it was so intense that if I didn’t have some resources like EFT, exercise, Reiki and a sense of faith I’m not sure I would be here to tell the tale. The desire to end my own life in the height of it was so strong that I contemplated a suicide plan. I think most people have mildly entertained the thought of suicide once or twice, when life feels like too much, but I can tell you this was different. I just didn’t want to be here anymore. It was in complete opposition to my deepest belief that my presence and work here at this time in humanity is pretty important and I CHOSE to be here now (just as it is for ALL of us).
This turn of events also made me believe that the sadness had a purpose. I’m not going to pretend that I know for sure that the emotions were some sort of spiritual purification, but my intuition sure is insisting that it’s so. If that is the case then many more people may experience what I did or some other very strong emotions on their spiritual path. So, if you find yourself in the fire of extreme sadness (or anger, or confusion or whatever) I want you to be prepared, and maybe it will be easier for you than it was for me.
Something tells me that these intense emotional pain experiences are an opportunity to learn how to detach from emotions and see them as separate from ourselves. We tend to be consumed by our feelings, not having any space between ourselves and our emotional states. When we develop the ability to step back from them and stand solidly in the knowing that we can simply allow the feelings to be present and wait for them to pass, we gain a freedom and power that will serve us for the rest of our days. In this time of change and rapid growth, I believe this lesson will be of utmost importance and in fact, our personal and collective survival may even depend on it.
No one knows what’s to come on the path of continual evolution and growth that were on here, but it seems our old ways of doing things need to be replaced with more adaptable systems that can support us in a new way of being and living better lives. I don’t think anyone would argue that our financial systems, our penal and justice systems, our health care systems, our education systems to name a few, are all in need of overhauls. They aren’t serving us very well anymore, mostly because they were based on belief systems that pit us one against another, serve the individual or small groups of individuals rather than looking at our Earth as one ecosystem that WE are a part of. They are expensive, top-heavy and can’t be maintained much longer. It seems, if we look at Earth history, and evolution on the whole that adaptations often require some upheaval and destruction of the old systems.
Those upheavals could create so much strife and pain that many could be lost in a sea of despair and hopelessness after losing “everything” they are attached to. I love this quote: “Human pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.” I believe it points to this lesson. Pain will always be a part of life, but can you detach from it? Can you let it be and yet not suffer through it? Can you see on a bigger scale that what may seem like destruction and chaos is actually the evolutionary principle at work? I think many of us are about to learn, through necessity, how to do exactly that.
Here are my tips on getting through your own fire, if you should find yourself in one.
Step one: Recognize it. In my own experience, and the experiences of others that I’ve observed or have been reported to me, the emotion is completely out of proportion to circumstances or events in your life. If you’ve just had a MAJOR trauma and are feeling overwhelming emotion, you are probably having an appropriate response. It doesn’t mean you can’t apply the concepts in this article to your situation, but it seems that part of the experience I’m pointing to involves INAPPROPRIATE and out of character emotional reactions to life. It’s like we start with one small sad thought and it snowballs, attracting every other sad thought or memory and it just comes barreling at us with full force. Being aware that your response seems over-the-top may be a great way to step back from it and create a little breathing space for yourself. In that moment you might remind yourself of this article and think “Okay, this seems like a lot of emotion and I don’t know where it’s coming from, maybe this is my opportunity to learn how to create space around it.”
Step two: Allow it. Here is a big part of this lesson in my opinion. Pain hurts, I know. But it hurts a lot more when we are in the thick of it, when we’re indulging ourselves in the memories and thoughts that hurt us, when we’re just letting it take us into deeper and deeper depths of tragedy and despair. It may seem like just letting the pain have it’s way with us is the same as allowing it, but it’s not. Allowing infers not needing to stop it in any way, like letting yourself go with the current of a riptide, knowing that you’ll eventually surface. Resistance feels like trying to swim out of it, but fearing with every stroke that the current is too strong and you’re not going to survive. One of our survival instincts is to avoid pain, whether that’s physical or emotional, so it’s natural for many of us to do something, anything, that will numb us to the pain. Often that involves drugs, alcohol, food, gambling or sex. That won’t work here. In fact, if you try to numb it or avoid it, it will get more disturbing. Do your best to stay present, yet unattached. So, it’s a bit of a juggling act, allow it, but don’t indulge it, step back from it, but don’t resist it. Words won’t teach it to you, you just have to find your way through it.
Step three: Use the tools you have. Music, EFT, Angels, Faith, Nature, Exercise, Massage, Meditation, Reiki; whatever works for you. As long as it’s a healthy action that will help you allow the feelings, I say go for it. While I was lying in my bed, pleading for some insight or help, it came in the form of lyrics from a song I love “The darkness is a necessary part”…. and immediately a wave of relief came over me. I was reminded that experiences of darkness and hopelessness serve to magnify the light and they are okay. The sadness lingered for a few days, like bruises from a merciless beating, but then it lifted.
I’m not saying everyone is going to go through something like this, and I don’t think it’s even necessary for everyone to go through it, but if you find yourself in it, then make the best of it. Know that this too shall pass and it will deepen your understanding of yourself and emotions, so be easy on yourself, ride the current, but don’t pass up a life preserver, if you’re thrown one.
Originally published January 7, 2013