Eventually you have to make a choice – to follow the current of Life or of Death. They twist and wind together, co-exist, become the same thing in fact. Viewed from a distance, or from the consciousness of plants, they are the same thing – life and death cycles join, merging together into one psychadelic flow where the individual itself matters very little. The decay of the old plants provides the fertiliser for the next. Leaves fall, mulch into compost, absorb into roots, become new leaves.
But we are not plants, we are mammals, mammals with heart and awareness, and we tend to give a shit about individuals who mean something to us. It is part of our beauty. In fact lately I’m pondering the concept that it is finding, or choosing, or extracting meaning for our lives is a key part of what keeps us vital – see : Man’s search for Meaning.
If you start to look around the world, wanting and willing to see truth, it’s not long before the horrific aspects become apparent. Especially if part of your essence is compelled to venture into the darkness, to see what lurks there, to explore everything. Or if you experience any abuse or trauma that drags you into the depths. Do you let it destroy you? Do you become part of the underworld? Do you close your eyes to it? How do you deal with the darkness and death?
Back to the currents of Life and Death – Perhaps a better way to put it is do you align yourself with the stream of creativity and growth, or that of destruction and obliteration? I can see these in the outside world of human endeavour, but I also feel them very much inside me.
Brought up to be a good girl catholic I had to maintain focus on the Light, and of Life. Darkness was denied, or absolved, by a small white wafer every weekend. It took me to my 30th year to see that for a long time my real alignment had been with the current of Death and obliteration. I’m not sure when it started – it may be possible to trace it all the way back to a difficult birth, where I nearly died before I’d even begun — but it certainly intensified in my mid late twenties. Part of it was a compulsion to actively go into the underworld, to see and value what was hidden in those shadows, a reaction against the world of light and love. But that actually masked a deep and certain conviction in my core that the best thing to do with my life would be to destroy it completely. And I was dancing increasingly on the edge of that destruction for quite a while.
It didn’t feel like that though. It felt like expansion. Pushing every boundary. Exploring every direction, with the kind of “courage” that comes from actually being reckless with yourself because you don’t care. Or because you are looking for what will eventually destroy you.
I found it – for me it was a single line of cocaine, experienced whilst living disconected from my family, in a dodgy pub, with no nearby support. I’d been living with an alcoholic before then, and attended some meetings, and heard the repeated story of the first time people drank – that was it, they were lost. Cocaine was that drug for me, the gateway to my death – it gave me everything I’d struggled to find or achieve, and it held a dark mirror to my own soul, offered a twisted truth. It led me to the choice of hedonistic obliteration, of checking out from the planet.
The only reason I chose not to do that was out of love for someone else, a best friend of mine. I didn’t want to leave her behind. It wasn’t because of my own value.
I am still, almost 2 years later, building a sense of genuine love for myself, enough that my default mode is to chose to live, to believe in self worth, to want to be here to love and be loved, to dare to grow. For myself. not for others.
The journey out of the underworld takes time, and many people don’t make it. There is no quick fix. Certain things have to be faced.
Jeff asked me this weekend, did I feel a fuller person now. I said – I don’t know. I reflected some more. This is how I’d describe it, and I offer the words in the hope that someone else one day might find some sort of solace in it, or just because rarely do people even talk about these struggles –
Before, I felt the fullness and eternity of an endless 24/7 TV channel, ever-flowing lights and colours flickering, moving, entertaining, being watched, being enjoyed, being consumed.
Now, I feel a fullness forming that is more akin to classic scuplture, like Michaelengo’s David that I saw – beheld – in Florence. It is solid, consolidated, but yet hooked into ancient magic and art…it can be walked arond and viewed from different angles, the light may change and play over the surface of the form, but the essence is retained.
Before, I felt fullness through just how much excitement and life I was sucking in and through me. I had expanded myself in all directions and I was hungry for life, for drama, for emotions – I was full of them all the time, my inner world and outer world the same thing. I was constantly bumping-jumping-falling from one experience to the next, intimate with many different men sometimes on the same day, often on the same day in fact. I had discovered so many aspects of myself that I could switch and flow between, each one appearing to stretch to infinity.
I was also terrified of stopping and being alone, and lost when with myself, something that didn’t happen often.
To chose the path to be with one man, a man full of fiery light, I had to give up the many. Good bye to power games, dramas, flirting, random sexual acts, intimacy through novelty, or being ‘valued’ for my willingness to share myself without limits.
Giving that all up was really hard. Only now I’m starting to relax about it.
I read this in another journal, and it prompted me to write today
” I feel like I have been living a half life during the time I have been sober. I’ve been fairly functional and responsible but I crave the elation I feel when I am drunk. I have missed the thrill of promiscuity.”
I understand this — there was a time, a long time of struggle, when it seemed impossible that I would ever find a life that matches what I felt before. I felt diminshed and lost. But I kept going, and I still keep going, and slowly slowly a new world is forming around me. And find that there are others, more than I thought, walking-scrambling-crying along the same path. Being slowly, agonisingly born.
Now – I am feeling things I never felt before. I’ve felt a sense of smugness and satisfaction in moments when the life and love around me is truly nourishing – and I’m actually taking it in. I’ve felt a calm love for my man that runs deep within me but grows beauty every day. I’ve felt a sense of solidity and resilience I never had before. I’ve felt genuine awareness of others around me who I love, and a capacity to consider them as I enjoy being considered. I have moments, growing in frequency, where I truly love myself. I have a new inner voice, that speaks with calmness and care against the clamour of the self-destruction demons. Sometimes I listen to it first. I am remembering the old passions, feeling the pull to create and to draw…it is quiet but it IS returning. I feel colours and sensations intensifying around me as life becomes more magical without needing drugs. I am able to enjoy the peace. I am able to value the silence.
I actually have plans for my future. I’m thinking more than a few days ahead. These plans are fueled by enjoyment, not by fear or anxiety. It is slow, but it is coming.
The light and the dark, creativity and destruction, can both exist within us, and I think part of the whole problem is the way they have been split so far apart. They become polarised and exagerated, both poles can become warped and life diminishing.
But it is whether the overal will of the person is for life – when we create towards what we want or enjoy, and destroy what we don’t want or need to be any more — or the will is for death – distract ourselves with endless life and noise till the darkness finally claims us. This is the choice we make each day.
So I’d encourage people to stick with the long climb from the underworld, and to be gentle with themselves about it as they do so. But I feel it starts with a choice, a deep choice at some point to finally align your Self with growth and engagement with Life, or to align yourself with obliteration away from it.