What would have to happen so that on this dark Monday morning you suddenly get how this human condition works, below the visible?
And if you got it: What would you do? What would you do if you got that you live your life through words and more words? Not any words, mind you, but powerful words said with power…?
Wouldn’t you flock to the schools, the teachers, to the gurus who can help you learn wordcraft?
Wouldn’t you suddenly want to read? Stories of people who got it, stories of people who live it?
Like I did.
For the first, I don’t know, 15 years of my life I read stories… Then I got caught up with the world, and I started to read books that were hellbent on teaching, so I chew myself through them, but scarcely any wisdom stuck to me.
Followed about 40 years of nearly unconscious years, trying to learn stuff instead of learning to live, until one day I woke up and turned to stories again.
I learned then how to be, how not to be, how it feels doing something, and why I would want to do it. Not because the stories told me, but because I saw it. I saw it.
The movie screen of your mind has no raw material
When I talk to people, they have no ability to see on the movie screen of their minds scenario playing out that tells them what to do, how to do it, how to feel while they are doing it.
That… or they are always in survival mode…
I had an intimate three-way conversation with two women yesterday.
In that conversation the idea of hitting bottom came up.
When you hit bottom, you suddenly have solid ground under your feet. You know where is up and where is down. You can kick yourself off from this ground, and shoot up all the way to the stars.
People descend to hellish middle places, where the water is murky, and it is not clear where they can go, what they can do.
So they survive… or if they feel danger, they flail.
Flailing is splashing around, desperately to stay afloat and stop the sinking.
You can’t tell how far the bottom is… not mentioning the fact that socially the bottom is a slight, a bad word… so you are trying to avoid it.
So you barely live. You never have a moment of respite to just sit around and look what is what and what it is that you could do, able to do, would enjoy to do to get back to the top.
Your top, but top nevertheless.
Your imaginary top:
- Nobel Prize winner without a degree,
- world famous billionaire without work are imaginary tops…
- Even self-expression is imaginary top unless you have a Self to express.
I know, your imaginary top feels like an invention, but it is more like a fix… A fix you are not willing to really undertake, because it would take doing something… actually doing something YOU said you would do. No, better to fantasize.
If you read books, stories, you would know what one must do when one is drowning, and one finally hits bottom.
Life for a human is best when one can feel the ground under one’s toes…
When there seems to be nothing you can do, when you just lost the ground.
But humans have that miraculous brain that can conjure up stories other people wrote, stories of people who were in situations similar to yours… and without anything changing the solution, the direction, the thing you can do emerges.
But for that you need two things: you need to have a lot of stories that you experienced vicariously through books, and movies, where you were washed away by the story, so it is now stored in your muscle-memory not just your mind. Not just words.
And you need to be physically above survival mode.
Survival mode is when the body is focusing on surviving, and doesn’t give a flying fig for your concerns…
When you are sick. When you are injured. Or, in our case most frequently: you are dangerously dehydrated. Like one of the two women on the call.
When the cells are so dehydrated, your brain is dimmed to anything conscious, recasting all energy to save the biological entity… the body.
I used to be there… Barely having the light on in my brain.
When you are in survival mode, your cone of vision narrows. Your conscious brain nearly shutters itself… like in war time. Your understanding is non-existent, your response rate is painfully long…
So your first job and only job is to get well. Get hydrated.
Luckily getting hydrated is not a big deal, but in your stupor state you don’t think of it.
You are in a half-awake, half dream state… and in a way it is as pleasant as how you feel when the alarm went off and you opt not to get up just yet.
If you are lucky, you die.
Or if you are even luckier, you get up, drink lots of water, preferably coherent water, and get to work. Attend to life, attend to business.
Few are. I have students who literally never come out of the fog. Or out of the murky waters. Who refuse to hit bottom frequently, so they always know which direction to move, where is up and where is down…
Up is a direction… not a goal.
And the bottom is at your service, any time you are willing to conjure it up out of thin air, or murky waters.
I do that frequently. Sometimes several times a day. Flailing is deadly… and you won’t often catch me flail…
One of my ‘bottoms’ is looking how little time I have to get the things done I have dedicated my life to.
It is sobering, and it is energizing. It is my sobering hitting bottom, that gives me a sense which direction to go next, what to do next.
What would be yours?
Being homeless? Single again? Penniless? Jobless? Sick and die?
Pick one that is most energizing to you. To me the idea of a life of aimlessness, directionlessness, a life wasted in flailing, trying, and complaining about is what sends me to conjure up the bottom. A life of quiet desperation, in resignation.
Unsuitable life for a human… And I choose to be a human… and never resign. Again.
I remember the most shameful moment of my life. It was a moment of resignation.
I had been in training to be a Forum Leader for a while, when I got a phone call telling me that they won’t train me any more.
They had good reason not to… they presented a good case.
I said: Oh well… it was a nice thought… and we hung up.
I GAVE UP. In essence I resigned.
Now, years later, I can see that the reasons they gave me were real, but not immovable. I could have opted to remove those reasons, even though it would have taken both time and sacrifice.
I didn’t even look. And obviously I didn’t declare hitting bottom…
Because the most important benefit, the most important gift of declaring hitting bottom is that you can look. You can look and choose what to do.
If you don’t even look, then you will continue flailing. You didn’t effectively hit bottom.
When you are in one of my classes, or if you are one of my private coaching clients, my intention is to cause you to hit bottom every single session.
So you can sit on your haunches and look. Look to see. Look to choose a direction. And look carefully to choose a set of action. So you can continually going up and up and up.
That is what you want, right? And therein can be the mischief, maybe.
Maybe you don’t want to go up, you just want to say where you are, but hope the world, other people, your feelings change. To a little bit better, without you doing, being, anything different.
If that is the case, then no hitting bottom will help you, because you prefer the murky middle, and the flailing.
One of the most important capacities for you to master to be able to hit bottom is to keep on breathing and keep your eyes open, inside and out, when the proverbial sh!t hits the fan… i.e. when you realize that you may need to hit bottom.
It feels like an invalidation, something you can’t be with.
It feels like if you allow it to be true, then you’ll die.
But like so many emotions, this one is saying the opposite of what is true: you are much more likely to die from not doing anything.
Entropy, the tendency of reality towards more chaos, falling apart is a natural law… and only regular re-organization, restarting compensates for it. In essence growing.
The moment you stop growing you start falling apart.
Interestingly, growing your vocabulary, having and using more words to speak of things, circumstances, people, yourself, trouble, issue, solution, activity… whatever, the higher on the vibrational scale climb.
Having the words in not enough. You actually have to use them, sometimes force yourself to look wider and deeper.
This is what we are going to learn and practice in the upcoming From Judging to Assessing workshop tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm EDT. Please be aware that Europe has changed to Winter time already, while the USA hasn’t. So the time difference is one hour shorter than usual.
I have priced this workshop under $10 so even the people who otherwise say they can’t afford spending money on themselves can come.