Before you email, rush in to save me, and assume I must be experiencing a mid-30’s existential crisis (my birthday is in August and thankfully, I’ll only be 34), think first about your automatic need to reassure me, relieve me of the doubt it appears I’m feeling, and to halt the Kori Crazy-Talk.
What’s that about?!
At some point it seems most of us decided that we’re not supposed to feel helpless, lost, confused, even unimportant, miniscule, tiny. Meaningless….
“Okay, okay already!!”
Yet we do. We feel this stuff. We feel it a lot.
So many of us are walking around like zombies asking “Why?”
“Where is God if I feel so empty, so miserable?”
“What is there in this life for me?”
But what do you do when you notice this questioning, this longing?
You probably push, you scream, and then you hide.
You cover your face, you put on a mask, you go grab the alcohol, you go stuff your face with food you don’t taste, or you pop the pills “you saved for a rainy day…”
Before you get mad at me for being negative and pessimistic, consider how true my statements are and then realize that you just don’t want to hear the truth.
Pedaling this morning on the recumbent bike I noticed halfway through my workout a frenzied surge of energy. Punching the “mode” button a few times to navigate to the “speed” indicator, sure enough it was registering almost 15 mph faster and at a higher resistance! I had just taken a look again at the photos I’d taken earlier. (As you know I’m preparing for a contest and as it gets closer I am in touch daily with my coach to ensure I’m on the right track). I saw the muscle striations. I saw the full, hard, roundness of my quads and shoulders. I looked crisp. And I got a surge of adrenaline as I imagined standing on the stage in my new suit next to the other competitors, out-posing them, flexing with precision, and hearing nothing but “WIN, WIN, WIN” in my head. I texted my coach- Let’s DO THIS!!
In the next instant I went through a wave of sinister laughing bouncing from the edges of my skull to hearing, “you do realize that you’re one in millions of people on the planet…a speck…a nobody…”
I was struck by the profundity of dichotomous emotion. From elated to vacuous, I came full circle and was abrasively reminded of life’s ebb and flow. How tumultuous the depth of emotion we can experience may feel, and yet how fleeting those emotions can be. And what gets an individual to the point which he can face his vulnerability, his raw, wounded, incomprehensible, and unacceptable self?
“The sun will shine again, huh?” a client said definitively but with the quick upturned tone familiar when a question is asked. Over the phone I could see the tiny lines in the corners of her mouth as she smiled softly.We were discussing my experience this morning and how the circumstances of her life over the last month had registered similar notes.
And another who is wrestling with the grief he is traversing after his father died, said to me, “I’m not sure how long this process is supposed to last, but I know I need to be moving on with my life.” His statement demonstrating his misinformed belief that he could only do one or the other and that the grief needed to have a finite stopping point. I pointed out that he had been laughing a minute earlier and inquired of whether his choice to work with me wasn’t a good enough indicator of his effort toward “moving on.” His father’s death was obviously bringing up uncomfortable emotions, a sense of something missing, a “void” he called it, and as many deaths do, a sense of his own impermanence.
We’re like rivers really. Always flowing. We feel. We feel deeply. And we can acknowledge the importance of those feelings, or we can live like prisoners behind them, giving them the power to cage us and be the guides through the narrow channels of life that offer far less excruciatingly beautiful glimpses of transformative confidence and daunting frigidity. But we must also realize that they are not all we are.
As nobody I can recognize my insignificance and the futility which exists in trying so hard to be what I’m not, and in turn expect to reach the depths of both and honor their presence.
Even as I prepare to click “publish” to share this with the world I question 1. ) how my goal of winning a competition is worth getting excited over and more importantly, how superficial an example to use to demonstrate the power of emotion; and 2.) how self-doubt could lead me to second-guess whether this blog is even worth sharing. Who am I to believe I can touch someone’s life merely by exposing my ineptitudes and the insights I’ve come about as a pilgrim of my personal journey? But then I recall the people I am drawn to most auspiciously– those who relish in life’s fragility, who are wise because they recognize and embrace their flaws, and who sprinkle their wisdom gained from truly living, in the most humble and yet personally rewarding of ways.