On Pain, and the Invitation

11/12/2016 – with minimal edits.

I commit to listening to my inner voice. Before that, I commit to letting her speak.

“The  moment when a person hits rock bottom is also a moment of invitation.” – Liz Gilbert.

When my father died last year, I became consumed with grief, naturally.  Soon after, a brief but important relationship ended abruptly.  I already felt like my career was in the shitter. I hit rock bottom.

Even at that point of being at my lowest, I could still glimpse the invitation.

And I resented the hell out of it! Drowning in sorrow and self-pity seemed like it would make my wounds less raw.  Having to hold it together at work while it was being taken for granted that I would show up and perform as usual felt terribly unfair.

I hated that I couldn’t fully drown myself in mourning, couldn’t fully embrace that I didn’t deserve what I was going through.

Because I knew that despite my agony, one day I would finally feel 1% better.  And the next day or week, another 1% better.   It seemed as though others don’t have to be that strong. If they fall apart, there are people around who will hold them up until they can stand by themselves. They get the luxury of having people who don’t turn away.

Turning it around

The only way to recover from rock bottom is to pick your own ass up.  The only way that lasts, at least. You won’t stay up if someone does it for you.

It’s not to say that I deserved to lose my father or my relationship. I was neither a perfect daughter nor a perfect girlfriend but that doesn’t mean I deserved to be punished. Nor am I exempt from punishment, when appropriate. It is just that pain is part of living.

Pain doesn’t come to those who deserve it, it comes to everyone.

Furthermore, ‘deserve’ is a tricky word.  Believing that you deserve positivity can place you in the entitled category and in the victim role if you don’t get what you believe you deserve.

The initial invitation to me in the pit of despair was my inner voice saying, ‘You will get better.’  The second part of the invitation was the chance to use loss to create change in my life. My life is permanently altered philosophically and practically because I can no longer pick up the phone to talk with my Dad. Because I thought I was listening to my inner voice with regards to my relationship and I was wrong.

The pain cannot be undone.  The void can never be filled, at least not by the same people. The only alternative is to throw everything else that’s left at an attempt at a true and honest life.

That was the invitation. That is the invitation. Quitting my job, going to a beautiful part of this planet to not work for a couple of months, clearing out burnout, creating emotional space and inviting mental clarity.

And to let my inner voice whisper my truth.

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