It sounds simultaneously depressing and reassuring, doesn’t it? A set, singular, readily identifiable Place. You’ll know it when you see it, much as it may suck to arrive there. And, if you didn’t shatter-scatter on impact, you can use that bedrock to start over—that whole building your house on a rock instead of shifting sands bit.
Thing is, Rock Bottom is not necessarily one bold X on the map. For me (and, I suspect, for many others, too), it’s more of a marshy region with hazy boundaries that disappear into the topography of more robust lands encircling it. While you’re busy building up a concrete pylon on one firm spot within this bog, your eyes may be scanning the watery murk, seeking the likeliest places to raise a second. Then a third. Eventually, you plan to construct enough supports to erect a bridge and get yourself out of here. Back to solid ground.
The tricky part of the process is not to get so caught up in identification that you get distracted and neglect to build sound pylons. Maybe you see so many spots to fill that you get overwhelmed and slip back into the water. Or perhaps you’re so anxious to get to the next building site that you just pour on a shapeless blob of concrete and move on. You may feel like you need to be raising all the structural supports at once in order to create balance, instead of focusing on one at a time. You should be able to do this, right? And anyway, if you try to do just one at a time, how will you know you’re working on the right one?
Answer: you won’t know. Just grab the first one you feel capable of dealing with, and get to work.
Trust the universe that it will work itself out, because trying to go too many directions at once is generally no more effective than picking no direction at all. You know this from experience. You’ve tried both methods.
Which is all a very flowery way of saying, while this spring found me building positively on my emotional/psychological Rock Bottom, it wasn’t some all-encompassing place from which every aspect needing improved was simultaneously growing. Other RB’s existed to be found, and some, I realized, had already been reached, even if I hadn’t known it at the time. My financial RB, for example, is staring me in the face in the here-and-now, but my creative RB (which I identify as such, though writing means perpetual ups and downs) was actually reached several years ago, when I decided to give up on my craft. Forever.
(Obviously, that didn’t stick.)
Now on a quest to rescue myself, I spent some time identifying the different areas that I felt most needed work. I started reading up on ideas that I connected with, such as deliberate creation and changing your vibrational energy (which I know sounds very “new age woo hoo,” but if you accept that everything in the universe is made up of energy, it starts to make more sense).
Here’s what I was coming to realize about my relationship with the universe:
It has always been severely dysfunctional. I believed that the universe wanted me to suffer in order to be worthy of receiving anything—a guilt-ridden, bargaining, masochistic connection. It’s like asking for things you want from someone you don’t at all trust, who is as likely to run you through with a fireplace poker as give you a pat on the back.
“Please love me, you sick bastard!”
I’m pretty sure the energy I want to connect myself to in the universe does not actually work this way, and my perception of it was probably warped by my feelings toward the religion in which I was raised (it took years for me to separate the concepts of religion and spirituality). Even if the whole “we are all energy and can attract the energy we want by aligning ourselves with what we want” thing is total bunk (and there are plenty who would say it is), what is to lose by squelching self-hatred, being kind to myself, working on healing, and believing that this could lead to better things?
Still, this has meant reprogramming how I relate to the universe.
So, here goes:
I’m still your child. I didn’t forget you. Just want you to know: I’m listening.