There have been many bottoms in my life and many bruises from the falls. There is the bottom where I thought it could not get worse and I thought that I was at rock bottom. Well, the Law of Attraction seems to be a thing and, when I focused on how awful the bottom was, I discovered that it was actually a cliff as I slipped or fell further down to another bottom. One bottom gave way to yet another until I hit solid bottom.
I imagine that my rock bottom looks different than other people’s though it may feel very similar. Mine is painful, overwhelming, tear ridden, full of resentment, blame, self-pity, and yes there is anger there. There is self-loathing and so much despair. There is desperation at my rock bottom yet my cry for help is manipulative, damaging, and abusive to all those who hear the cry; my cry lands in a similar way as the boy who cried wolf’s final yell, heard by people who ran too many times and gave too much of themselves in the past with no positive results. In my experience, the reason it feels so helpless is that the only person who could save me in that moment was me. The desire is a romantic rescue or perhaps any kind of rescue. There is nothing romantic about THE bottom. Rock bottom is a very loud “I give up! I surrender! God help me! This is more powerful than me!”
It is at this moment that a quiet humility creeps in. It is in the surrender that there is a choice to put trust in God and perhaps myself. It has often been easier for me to trust my source than to trust myself. It is at these times that one glimpse of hope is gifted to me. It could be this glimpse that creates the willingness to reach for a slightly higher feeling. There is a reason that step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous work for so many. I do not believe that I am alone in the desire to go from deep despair to joy in one second. It is in the step after step that I learn to trust myself, trust source, trust others, and trust life. It is in the present moment of the bottom that I am able to see the handhold just above me. Looking at the top may erase that glimmer of hope that is growing in my heart and return me to overwhelm. Each step and each climb creates trust in myself and in my life. Even when I stumble on the way up, I can see the previous handholds and footholds that I created. There is a bit of power there. Perhaps the power that I gave away on the way down. In the now, I begin to be willing to like myself. With each step, there is a willingness to approve of myself. With each step, there is a willingness to be willing to love myself. The goal is freedom from the bottom. The goal is peace in my heart and quiet in my head. The climb is truly a forgiveness journey and perhaps there is a deep knowing that as a child of the divine, I am worthy. The climb up is a healing climb and it is teaching that life possibly loves me.
When I do pull myself up to safety, I learn to trust myself even more because to pull myself out, requires many new conversations with my mind, my heart, and my soul. I used to beat myself up after the relief of climbing out of the hole and then slip again. Now, I celebrate and I fill the hole with love, forgiveness, grace, and a little more compassion than the last time. If for some reason I fall into a new hole or the earth under my feet gives way, it would be easy to think here I am again. Why do I keep ending up here again? The truth is that if I do repeat my patterns, I am not the same me that stumbled before. I am wiser and I love, trust, and appreciate myself more than the last time I hit this bottom. It teaches me that it might be a time for a new strategy.
I notice bottoms. I used to put on a cape and try to fix or rescue others from their bottom. This never worked. It actually prolonged their bottom. I now hold the space for the person and I pray for them to see their way to bottoms up. I pray for grace. My ego would love to gossip and look down at their bottom from a place of superiority and self-righteousness. My truth is that we are all one and my next bottom could be closer than I think. Your struggles are my struggles and my struggles are your struggles. It could be this very person who gives me hope through their compassion and a prayer for bottoms up!
“YOU REALLY DON’T START HEALING UNTIL YOU’VE HIT BOTTOM AND YOU KNOW THERE IS NO OTHER WAY OUT BUT TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT.” -ANNE WILSON SCHAEF.