Ode to My Rock Bottom
Thank you, rock bottom.
I needed to see my dignity leaked all over the floor like a grown woman with a bladder problem in the middle of a busy shopping mall.
I needed to feel the pain, shame and gut wrenching heartache that the experience of you brought to me.
I needed to meet and greet my self-loathing edge in order to fall off and into my dried up well of self worth.
I clearly needed the stunning, jarring, brutal fall.
I was down and out for the count—TKO
Rock bottom is different for everyone. Some clench a fistful of pills, others a bottle of booze or a 28 special, and some will consider the train tracks or a huge oak tree on the side of the road.
For me, the catalyst was a confusing and devastating heartache stemming from the breakup with a man I believed I loved more than I had ever loved anyone.
The subsequent face-to-face with my fun house mirror image led to the actualization and fervent realization of the powerful lies I had been telling myself for most of my life. I was fed up and extremely exhausted. Tipping point, reached.
This was my rock bottom and, as clichés go, it was also my most profound and pivotal moment.
I have studied an enormous amount of psychology and self-help material over the years. I have followed many gurus and spiritual teachers along my path, but nothing, absolutely nothing, will cause a radical shift inside us with the same intensity as a direct experience.
When our sh*t hits the fan, we have a choice: get out of the way or get dirty.
Turns out, despite my belief to the contrary, I’d only been getting my hands dirty; this time I chose differently.
This time I shut my eyes, took a deep breath and confronted the full force of that sh*t storm like I’d never done before.
I put on my big girl boots, got down and dirty and wrote, and wrote and wrote. I cried and wrote some more; I hardcore ugly-cried, laughed hysterically at the sight of myself and cried some more. I talked it out, walked it out, danced it out and worshipped at the altar that is my yoga mat. I stayed, and stayed, and stayed with all. of. it.
And when I heard my higher wisdom, my inner guide knocking — banging actually — on the door of my soul, I could no longer ignore it. “Open the damn door already, for crying out loud — it’s time. It’s time to open that g** damn door.”
What I saw on the other side was not pretty and did not pretend to wear a size four. It was real and raw and vibrating with so much heat and intensity that I knew instantly why I had not been able to see it sooner.
Sometimes we are simply not ready for that kind of truth. The kind of truth that rattles the cage of every imprisoned belief we’ve ever held about ourselves. The mother of all truths, the master key that sets us free.
I kept that door locked for so long it must have weighed three thousand pounds, and you, my precious rock bottom, finally helped me get it open.
When inklings and whispers transition to screaming wisdom we feel it like a shot of adrenaline plunged through a needle into our veins. Instantly we are lighter, satiated, calm and older in the best of ways.
I don’t necessarily wish rock bottom upon others as the best means of sh*t shifting, but it does often do the trick.
Sometimes it happens without warning and it’s only that 20/20 hindsight thing that allows us to squeeze the "juice" from our wounded flesh.
I do know that the agony we feel during a painful breakup is never really about the other person; it is the re-surfacing pain of a past wound having salt rubbed into it again.
I also know that whatever we’re seeking out and allowing in as a constant and recurring presence in our lives is a perfect reflection of where we’re at. And if it’s something unwholesome, then it’s part of our sh*t that we need to look at. It certainly was the case for me. It’s scary, unattractive and messy as hell but we must deal with it if we really want to grow up.
The point at which we decide to stop asking why and looking at our own garbage is the point at which we begin to separate ourselves from our soul.
Loving my entire journey thus far would not be a truthful thing to say. What is truthful is that I have learned to respect it. I have finally learned the elusive art of self respect — the highest form of self love there is. And from this place I will remain open, clear-headed and as fluid as I possibly can. I have certainly learned how much more easily water flows than sludge.
So thanks again, rock bottom, for becoming the cherry on the top of my personal evolution sundae.
Originally published on Elephant Journal