Into the Canyon I go: Why Success was my Rock Bottom
I was broken. Lost in the unfamiliar place of despair and helplessness. How did I get here? More importantly, why couldn’t I find my way out. I looked around and assessed the situation. I sat at the bottom of a canyon. Tall mountains of rock covered me on all sides. “Get up, dust yourself off and move on out of here, just like you always do” I thought, desperate to understand why I just sat there under the hot, desert sun. “Move” I screamed at myself. “MOOOOVE!!!!” But it was useless. I was completely unresponsive. Almost as if I didn’t even hear the voice in my head. But, I did hear the voice in my head. Only, it didn’t make me want to move. It was nagging, wretching. It sounded just like mom when I was 15 and ignoring her plea to get out of bed for school. And, just like 15-year-old me, I sat there motionless. I would almost like to say it was a similar passive aggressive F-U to the world… but it wasn’t. This was something different.
As much as I wanted to move, to get on with my life, to once again accomplish great things, align with success, feel good about myself… sh*t, just be a functioning human in society. At the same time, I liked it here in the canyon. It was pretty, it was warm, it was safe, and it was very, very comfortable.
My bout with severe apathy started a couple years prior. Ironically, at the point in my life where I had finally accomplished it all. I had great kids who were growing up to be amazing people. I had spent the past ten years with my twin flame in a relationship that just continued to grow deeper and more satisfying by the day. And, I had accomplished the career goal I spent the past 25 years obsessively chasing. I obtained multiple degrees, completed internships and fellowships, and climbed the career ladder to get exactly where I was. Yup, there I was on top of the mountain. Little did I know there was nowhere to go but down. Mine wasn’t a slow decent either. It was like I got to the top and did a freaking nose dive off.
At the bottom of the canyon is where I landed. It’s where I stayed.
Of course, it doesn’t end there, the canyon is also where I learned the most about life. Its where I got in touch with my spirituality and connected with my intuition. It seems cliché to make references about hitting rock bottom, but for an achievement addict, this was my rock bottom… Finally having it all but feeling nothing but empty. And, like many other addicts, rock bottom connected me with myself. A place I hadn’t been connected to in more than two decades while I busily crafted my perfect life. My most important lesson? More clichés, but these things hold wisdom… Life is not about the destination, it is truly all about the journey.
For those of us who get so focused on where we are going that we completely forget to enjoy the ride…. We are in for a big fall when we get there.
My advice? Check yourself, on the regular. Make sure you are living life from the most full place that you can. Enjoy the path you set yourself on, it is always the best part. The bottom of the canyon, while it may be comfortable, that isn’t a fulfilling place to be. Its lonely, its guilty, and the scenery gets old. You don’t want to end up there. But, if you find yourself there, listen to that nagging voice.
Pick yourself up, dust off…and sing a song while you trail along.