Saturday, December 21, 2013

Out of the Pit

For about a month and a half after returning from Palestine, my back was tight.  My neck was tight.  My everything was knotted in tension.  It was the tears I was holding in. I wanted them to come out and at the same time I was afraid that they would present themselves at the wrong time. They tried to, but I fought them enough to control them and the tension continued.  Last week the tears finally, finally came out.  It wasn't Palestine that prompted them, but some self-indulgence, loss of perspective, and later in the week, allowing myself to be pulled into a drama that ultimately was not very dramatic.  I cried. And I realized afterwards that my back is not so tense.  Neither is my neck.

I don't recommend jumping into pits of self-indulgence or dramas that don't really exists.  They're not fun.  However, if you're there, I do recommend acknowledging that place.  "Here I am.  I am sad.  I am lonely. I am ________.  And that is OK."  We all have pits we fall into.  And that is OK. As long as we know we won't be there forever.  It might take being in the pit for a while, but eventually we will find our way out.

I knew for some time that I was in the pit, but I was clinging to the sides, not letting myself fall to the bottom, for fear of what was there, for fear of how far below the surface the bottom might be.

I did reach the bottom (it wasn't as low as I'd feared) and I could no longer not let the tears flow. It took so much energy trying to keep them in.  When I did finally cry, cry the way I needed to, those very tears I was so afraid to let out did something amazing.

They lifted me up.

They filled the hole that seemed so deep and I floated up to where I could see the light and regain the perspective I needed to know that I'd be walking above ground again soon.  From that place, not quite out of the pit, I could see what I needed to do to step out and that there were people to help me do so.  I could see where I needed to walk so that I wouldn't fall right into another one.  I could see that if I did fall again, there were people nearby who would help me the next time, whenever that might be.

If I let them.

I am good at talking and writing about our inherent interconnectedness.  At the same time I have a warped notion in my head that I should be able to do everything on my own, that even though we are interconnected, I shouldn't really need other people.  This idea is deeply ingrained in me for reasons that seem to multiply as I try to pin them down.  Perhaps I'll explore them on another day.

For today, I'll leave it at this:  I am grateful for tears whose buoyancy I had forgotten.  I am grateful to be out of the pit.  I am grateful for those who were near the pit, trying to help me out, even though it took me a long time to accept their offers.  I am grateful for those who walk with me now.

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