The River

I had fallen into a river bed in boulder and the river came, threatening to take me with it.

I came very close to being carried off until I hoisted myself up and out.

Here’s the thing about being unfulfilled on the deepest level: chances are it’s been this way for a long time. It’s a depression of the soul that runs so deep it becomes near impossible to maintain vitality. Forget about gaining momentum on anything. Forget about pursuing and achieving your highest goals. Forget about actually connecting with the people around you, or with the true power of sunlight on your face. The wound won’t allow it. And your life force is entirely bound up in its yoke, all your vital energy–the stuff that empowers you to live your dreams, to fulfill the prophecy of your highest self–just spills out.

The soul becomes a dry river bed. Rain is sporadic. It doesn’t fall enough to fill the basin. So you just wander aimlessly among the weeds, among the clouds of dust. You cry out for help but no one is there because how can they be if you are unable to be there for them? For yourself? How can you allow yourself to be seen when the part of you that is so afraid of the light prefers to remain cowered and coiled alone in dark corners?

So you spend years this way. Your attempts to create and cultivate the life you so yearn for fall again and again into acrimony and painful dissolution. Because the wound is not healed. It has not fully expressed itself yet. And still you remain unfulfilled, longing for the seemingly inaccessible. And there’s no way out but in.

Fortunately, in time, the defenses begin to break. Life starts to seep in through the cracks. Symptoms arise–symptoms that demand your attention. The body is a big bowl of anxiety, ambivalence, panic, pain, and fear. The soul is crying out for healing, making the world overwhelmingly uncomfortable. The more you consciously press against it, or try to scratch it away, the more intense and overwhelming it becomes. The life force is pushing its way out, doing everything it can to get you to see what’s going on inside you. It feels like death, like if you face the symptoms directly, you will drown in the torrent beneath them.

Sometimes when you’re walking in the river bed, accustomed as you’ve gotten to its aridness, to lifeless plant matter, dead and always dying, you feel a rumble beneath your feet. You hear it in the distance. The defenses will soon break entirely and the river will come forth.

But there’s something about this that’s so scary–like you know that whatever’s coming is a good thing, but it’s new; it’s unfamiliar. It may be what you’ve always wanted, but how frightening to find yourself in new territory, where perhaps you don’t speak the language, perhaps you are tired from walking among the emptiness, parched as you are for new life, for a new sort of flow. And though it is hard, one thing is certain: change.

The water will bring life once more to your dry river bed. It will bring change if you let it.

Ecosystems will blossom from errant and subsumed tumbleweed.

But it feels like death–like finally you have to get out of the way and let it flow.


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