How do you escape that dreaded feeling… that soul-crushing, heartbreaking, life-ending feeling? What do you do when you’re so sad you can’t speak or so scared you can’t breathe or when you’re hit so hard that your head just won’t stop spinning?
“Keep busy,” people tell you. Do this. Do that. Do anything to keep yourself out of that pit. And so you run far and you run hard. You distract yourself with whatever’s at hand and you keep looking outward with all your might. TV… work… food… company… alcohol… the “rebound”… whatever it takes to keep yourself from being alone and from actually feeling that feeling that you’re sure will destroy you.
But after all that work, have you really escaped at all? Are you really any further from that thing you’ve been running from…
or is it still staring you straight in the eye, as close to you as your own breath?
Truth be told, there’s only one thing you haven’t yet tried; only one weird way to escape the pain:
Stop trying to escape it at all.
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The irony and the beauty and the tragedy is this: sometimes you can’t escape by running. Sometimes the only way to freedom is in doing what every inch of your screaming body tells you not to do—in letting yourself fall into that gaping void of a feeling, if only for a moment.
Sometimes the only way out is also the way in. Sometimes the best way out is through.
And so you sit with that feeling; you let it in. As much as you can bear it, you let it be. For a moment it encompasses you like you feared it would… but still you let it stay, even when every fiber of your being wants to run like hell. You let it sit; you let it marinate within you. You get to know it like an old familiar friend.
And you begin to realize that this feeling is not the only thing that’s here—it’s not the sky and the stars and the blanket of a universe that holds you. No; this feeling is something much smaller than that, just a small house you’ve been living in that you mistook for the world; just a small reality within THE reality.
You begin to see that right here, in the very same space as your pain, is something deeper than any sadness and something deeper than any happiness—something much bigger that’s holding it all.
And although the feeling is still there, it becomes smaller, less encompassing, less real. And you start to realize that it’s not so life-ending, after all.
Irony. Paradox. Call it what you will. Maybe the escape is found in not needing to escape. Maybe freedom isn’t found by running, but by staying right here in the midst of it all. Maybe the moment that you realize this, you’ve ironically escaped.
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[Image credit: CarbonNYC]