Do Not Be Afraid to Go to Hell

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”   Flannery O’Connor

“Recovery lies not in the other person – no matter how much we believe it does, it lies in ourselves”…Melody Beattie

Hello my friends,

I would like to take this moment to thank you for sticking with me these last few years during some of the most trying times of my life.  It is such a privilege to share my story with all of you.  I hope that as I work through my story it helps you work through yours.  For I know that everybody has a story.

During these years, I have hit rock bottom, more than once.  I have seen what it looks like inside an MRI machine, an Alanon meeting, an empty bottle of wine, self-help books, an unfulfilled dream, and my brain; some of it not so pretty, but all of it necessary.

It is necessary, because I would not be where I am today.  Although it took me almost a decade to get here, I am truly grateful for every minute of it; the good, the bad and the ugly.  And boy was there ugly.  The bills we couldn’t pay, the house we lost, cancer, job loss, late night fights and mournful mornings after.  But I learned just as much, if not more, from the ugly times as I did the good times.  Without those painful times, without the visits to the “swamplands of my soul” I would have never had the insight and courage to change myself and my life.  It was Aeschylus over 2500 years ago that observed, “through suffering we come to wisdom.”

All of our lives are full of ups and downs.  There are times with and times without.  There is tragedy and there is joy.  There are moments you never want to visit again, moments you wish you could do over, and moments you wish you could do over and over again.

Some of it is out of your control, it just happens.  You are enjoying your life, and “Whammo,” it hits you hard when you least expect it.  But some of it has been bubbling underneath the surface for years, in the dark recesses of your soul and you know it. You try to avoid it, anesthetize it, and run from it, but no matter how hard you try or how fast you run, you will be pulled down at one time or another.  It is inevitable.  No amount of denial, numbing, over-working or over-sexing will keep you from these visits.

And, why would you want to avoid them in the first place?  Because, and I promise you, it is in these dark places that you will find the light.  It is in these moments that you will discover not only yourself but you will discover true meaning; the meaning behind your depression, the guilt, the anger, loneliness or fear that has brought you here in the first place.   And, once you understand the meaning, your life will be enriched in ways you did not know possible.

But, it may take some time.  For we need to repeat patterns over and over again before we get it.  It sucks but it’s true.  The upside of all of this, when we can finally see the pattern, when we truly get it, we can stop it.  And once we stop it, we will then have the courage to re-imagine, re-create and re-invent ourselves.

For it is the wound and the desire to heal that enlarges us, that pushes us to finally take action and make the changes necessary.  And, it is that beautiful inner voice of yours; that gut feeling, your soul’s craving that will keep you going.  Yes, it’s scary.  But remember, fear and anxiety mean growth; depression, regression.

My desire to heal and live the best life I can possibly live has enlarged me in so many ways.  I have learned to set boundaries.  I have learned to say “yes” when I mean “yes” and “no” when I mean “no.”  I have learned how to stop the pain, accept what is and let go.  I have learned self expression instead of self-repression and my hopes are now grounded in reality instead of false wishes.  I follow my bliss.  I listen to my gut.  I accept uncertainty.  I accept my faults.  I accept myself.  And, when I am angry, I let people know.  When I am sad, I cry.  And, when I am happy, I laugh.  I am no longer silent.  I am no longer deaf.  And, when I stumble, I stumble with my eyes wide open.

So do not run from the swamplands my friends.  Do not resist.  Again, what you resist; persists.  Go through; all the way to the bottom if you must, but go.  As Carl Jung so beautifully describes,” The dread and resistance which every natural human being experiences when it comes to delving too deeply into himself is, at bottom, the fear of the journey to Hades.”  But I promise, you cannot understand heaven, if you have not been to hell.

All my love,

Deanne

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