[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form] I met a friend recently who was feeling the weight of the world on her shoulders as a result of the unrelenting stream of bad news – war, pestilence, corruption and violent disasters at every turn of the page and click of the button.
It brought up an interesting question. Do we feel gloomy because the world out there is so miserable, or does the world look so miserable because we’re feeling gloomy?
Whichever way you look at it, the fact of the matter is that we can’t wave a wand and change the whole world, but we can do something about our own misery. Many moons ago, someone gave me a little story entitled ‘Autobiography in Four Chapters’. It went like this:
I went out for a walk one day. I was walking down a road I thought I knew well, when suddenly I fell into a big, black hole. What a shock! Where had it come from? I had never seen it before. I didn’t know where it came from, and worse still, I didn’t know how to get out! I tried to climb out, but I just kept sliding back again. I was stuck. I shouted and screamed for help. I cried and I prayed. I jumped up and down and flapped my arms. Nothing happened, for what seemed like a long, long time. Eventually, I got out of the hole, and went on my way.
I went out for a walk one day. I was walking down the same road as before, lost in thought. Suddenly, I tripped and fell into the black hole again! How could I have forgotten about it? I picked myself up. For some time, I tried all the same things I had tried before. To no avail. Then I sat down where I was and contemplated my situation. And it came back to me: there was a way out. I took some time to explore and feel around a bit, and a little faster than before, I got out of the hole and went on my way.
I went out for a walk one day. Again, I found myself walking down that same road as before. As I looked around me, I recognized where I was. And then I saw it, right in front of me: that big black hole! This time, I walked around it, and continued on my way.
I went out for a walk one day. I took a different road.
When I passed this story on to my friend who was in the doldrums, she said, yes, but how do you get out of the hole? The trouble is, when we’re in a hole, it’s not easy to even acknowledge it. It seems like the whole world has put us there, or even that the whole world is the black hole. That there’s no escape. Indeed, the more we try to get out, the deeper we seem to slide in. On reflection, we know we’ve been there before. And we know it changed. So why does it keep happening?
Usually, we don’t recognize what leads up to the ‘hole’ – whether it’s a feeling of despondency, or feeling stuck, or helpless, or whatever. Because we were distracted, or lost in thought, miles away from what was happening in the moment. Others can’t get you out of a hole; they can only help you be with it, so that you can get to know it. So that you can start to see it as an opportunity, instead of an obstacle.
And don’t worry – there will be other opportunities! There are always plenty of unexplored areas to be explored in our experience.