Saturday, October 5, 2013

Despair: Standing at the Edge of the Abyss

"Despair...particularly pervaded my early years as a child."
Despair has played an important role in my life, from the limiting beliefs I hold that have kept me tied to a less than satisfying life, to enmeshing myself in difficult, complex, otherwise-known-as dysfunctional relationships where I have trouble letting go. In so many ways, despair defines my entire life—most of it, anyway—and even what little parts may not tie directly into despair, it was never far away. 

Despair is something that particularly pervaded my early years as a child. You can see it even in my first memory--my third birthday as I focused on playing with a Tonka truck I'd gotten as a gift to avoid the unfriendly and hostile environment of my dysfunctional extended family, wanting to be left alone, but afraid and despairing at the same time. 

"It hangs there so strongly that I haven't found
the resources inside myself to ignore it. "

Despair also forms the foundation of my inability to let go of broken relationships. It hangs there so strongly that I haven't found the resources inside myself to ignore it. I guess that’s part of the whole thing is how you ignore the despair, or if you feel it, you imagine it comes from outside yourself and you wish that something would save you from it. In all of my relationships throughout my life, I’ve been easily manipulated because of my fear of the Abyss--that depth of despair that sits at the edge of our knowledge of the world, that to the ego means death, prompting feelings of dread and intense fear--because of the feelings of vulnerability I had toward the Abyss, I could feel it there under everything. 

As I think about it, is seems that despair is the theme of my life narrative, this collection of stories I tell myself and others about my life. I can see despair pervading everything that I’ve done my entire life, including the past year as I’ve gone all over the country trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do with my life. 

"...because of the feelings of vulnerability I had toward
the Abyss, I could feel [despair] there under everything."
It’s seems the story, if there is one, is about my coming to terms with despair, which doesn’t mean obliterating it, but embracing it and accepting it as a central aspect of being human. While it seems a tad grim to focus on despair, it really means that the story is about finding love in the face of this underlying darkness and loneliness. Beyond the Abyss, inside the Abyss is a connection to everything, where the ego dissolves--the reason it feels such fear--and despair becomes laughable as I realize that all I feared was that which I could not comprehend. Life is good, full, and lovely. This is what we find inside the Abyss, not despair.