Transforming from our mistakes is quite often more grueling than making the actual mistake.
The path can be so long and arduous. At times, it seems unjust that when we make a mistake in a singular moment, we still feel its effects echo far into our eternity. It is not just the process of learning, but of also unlearning, uncovering, discovering, digesting, and purging. It is far easier to do this while the wounds are still fresh—we can balm and bind them and witness the healing.
Since I have not done this (completely) yet, I wonder, how do I cut the process that 37 years of self-loathing, self-pity, and self-abandonment has created? Can I force restoration? Health? Peace? Is it even possible to convert that much pain and detriment in a short period? As I find myself on a super accelerated track of self-refinement, I say yes.
While I honor and appreciate this insightful education, I can also say it sucks. I mean it truly, darkly, and surely sucks.
It is a suck fest so full of all that is mournfully and cataclysmically dire that sometimes I cannot even force air into my lungs. My eyes are ajar to my faults, and the oppression of the abyss is palpable on my spirit.
In these moments of outright and blatant clarity, I gasp as air is ripped from my lungs. My eyes are seared by a white-hot light of divinity, and my soul is illuminated. It is tormentingly sublime and excruciatingly beautiful.
This. This is the mysterious dichotomy of existence. This is the way of mastering my humanity.
In less than a month, I have gone from a nervous breakdown—walking away from my job with no explanation, and an unwanted divorce—to being baptized, joining a 12-step program, and an Alcoholics Anonymous group.
I was clean for six years, but I am clean or sober in some manner for only 24 hours at a time right now. I am trying to put a few of those back to back. I have seen a counselor or therapist almost every other day, and I have read more books in the last few months than in the past five years put together. They hold both meat and bones—I am obese with both wisdom and nonsense.
I have taken classes, webinars, and had life-coaching consults to learn the 3 Texts to Make Him Melt, 5 Steps to get him Back, and 7 Steps to Healing. Let’s not forget the 10 Ways to Forget that Jerk (it seems like that should have been nine ways, but whatever) and how to Find your Soulmate in 30 Days or Less.
I have gained instruction and information that spans the spectrum of selfish indulgence to complete surrender of self and soul. And then I wonder: aren’t both of these things components of what got me into this mess, to begin with?
There have been doors opened, and doors closed. Sealings, releases, walls being torn down, and my ego ripped open. I have called new friends, old friends, forced strangers to listen, ignored my family, texted my woes, and drowned in social media madness.
Then, I prayed. I ate. I slept. I prayed. I walked. I fasted. I prayed while walking. I ate while praying. I walked fast. I went to bed starving—and the real work hadn’t even begun yet.
The real work, the actual healing, the genuine learning came from tears. Lots and lots of tears. Tears that silently slipped from the corners of my eyes. Tears that streaked my face with salt rivers and ruined my contacts. Tears that dammed up behind my eyelids refusing to spill over in a deluge that may not end. Heart-wrenching tears that left me breathless and entirely spent. Tears of anguish, grief, suffering. Tears of cleansing, purification, and nurturing.
Real work came from feeling soul splitting shock and betrayal. It came from the emphatic, fierce, and raging screams in the shower. From doors and cupboards slammed and balled fists beat on tabletops. From spewing guttural incoherent profanities while driving and deep, mournful fetal pose whimpers on the floor. There was prostrate prayers and back to the wall bargaining.
In short, the actual healing began with the feelings, not the information—with being, not doing. For 31 years, I spent most of my time using any type of substance or behavior to keep me from feeling. I did it to keep me from being anything—to keep me from being.
The less I felt, the more it hurt. The less I could emote, the more dramatic I became. I worked so hard at not evolving. I was quite unbecoming.
I caused my sickness. I created my misery. The fact is I didn’t make any mistakes. Everything was on purpose, but without perspective. Every juncture was guided by intent but lacked mission. Every instant held an opportunity to be captured or wasted.
Old wounds can still be mended. The scars are worthy and more vital. The process is not toward an end; the end is in the process. The path is what we lay before ourselves. Mistakes are only events transformed by decision.
Every tiny, singular moment of choice I make echos into my eternity.