How Difficult Times Can Reveal What Matters Most

It was one of the deepest and most frightening crashes I’ve had. I felt like I was dangling on the edge of an abyss. Too sick to actually be a person, I felt most at ease with my eyes and mouth closed—face-to-face with the dark black home of all that is and all that will ever be.

I slept 14-hour nights visiting people I knew in the dream-time, had epic adventures, and did all the stuff my body and brain would not permit me to do while awake. It’s as though the dream had became more vivid and real than my waking life. Like my waking life was some bad blurry nightmare I couldn’t quite wake up from.

My main objective was to keep breathing. That felt like plenty. One moment at a time I tried to stay calm. I felt scared. I was mostly bed-ridden but could get up a bit to eat, shower, or watch the odd movie. I couldn’t see really straight.

I prayed, and though frightened, felt fairly sure that I would resurface from this inky, oppressive wave. I made an appointment with a new doctor and prayed that things would brighten soon. My mind spun in circles, “Is this the crash that will end all crashes? Is this the wave that will kill me?”

This may sound extreme and dramatic to those of you who are out and about enjoying the perks of healthy living. I know, I used to be out and about too.

For those of you reading with Lyme or some other hardcore chronic condition, I know you know exactly what I’m talking about. Our experience asks us to venture past the edge of what’s ‘normal’ and comfortable all the time and we're not really told what to do when things get super dicey. This is not a ‘run of the mill’ conversation topic, so I'll briefly address ‘the logistics of the edge’ before I share the insight I got from the experience.

I consider myself to be spiritual, conscious, or whatever, but regardless of the value of spirituality in dire situations, it is absolutely not a substitute for real world action. I lined-up a doctors appointment with a specialist for myself early on in this crash when I knew my discomfort was way out of a sensible range. Forget balancing your chakras or meditating with your crystals when you should be calling 911. Even if you’re in doubt or think you might be overreacting, get someone to take you in somewhere. Your life may literally depend on it (and you can chant later).

Once you’ve attended to the real world help and mobilized all the assistance that you can think of, then it's time to pray, turn inward and bow to that force that keeps your blood pumping. It has the final say. Set up a ‘field of grace’ by sensing into and expanding out of your heart. You can focus on the rhythm of your breath and follow it’s passage in your minds eye. You can yield, allow, relax. Healing happens not when we're in fight or flight mode but when we surrender and allow ourselves to rest.

When we're suffering the tendency is to brace but the more we can relax and open into what's happening the sooner it tends to pass.

Having a brush with death or even feeling like you’ve had a brush with death puts everything into perspective really quickly. What matters? What do I want? What is worth my time, my energy, and attention? What does it all boil down to? Who can I count on? What do I believe in? What do I love?

The answers to these questions are the treasures that can be gathered from dangling right over the edge of your own life.

One afternoon in bed, one of many, I felt submerged in a thick narcotic haze that could only be alleviated by having my eyes and mouth closed and lying perfectly still. In the space I entered behind my own eyes I lost all sense of ‘me’, of time, of who I was or where I was. I became pure presence, an innocent expansive presence—sensing and feeling but without trying to figure anything out or make the suffering go away. I simply attuned fully to what was happening.

In these moments, free of personality, forced to surrender to the weight of my own suffering, I would begin to tear up. These were not tears of panic, or fear, or of regret, no—I had shed all of those tears days ago. These were tears of love. Straight from my heart, these tears were tokens of what really mattered, tears of being touched—touched by life and cracked open by the kindness of those who were closest to me in my hour of need. My lover who called to check in regularly and who sent love notes, my sister who called and stopped by, my mother who kept watch over me and made meals, my cat Injeia who never left my side.

I felt positively moved to tears by the love of those that I love.

I realized that when it all fades, all the doing, all the busyness, even being a person or a personality, all that's left over is love. This love that we are at our very core. This is what endures. This is the love that is both worth living for and dying for. This is it. This is the essence of all that is truly worth anything. In that moment, it totally confirmed what I already knew in the depth of my being. I want to live a life that is devoted to love. Heart trumps all.

I know of no worthier calling than to give generously of this heart-light to all who need it—and there is no one who does not need it. Love is the ethos from which I want to live. Not that wu wu ‘love-and-light’ love that’s never stared the abyss in the face but a love that’s been dragged through the trenches. A ‘no-mud-no-lotus’—kind of love that doesn’t flinch when real life strikes.

I want to be there for others when they’re going through the kind of terrifying undergoing that I have known intimately. I know what it takes. I have what it takes. I believe that we all do when we can tap into it.

{I did resurface from this epic summer crash. Falling that terrifyingly low motivated me to get the extra help I need to activate and hopefully accelerate my healing. I’ll share more about that another day soon.}



Have you ever had an experience that brought you face-to-face with your truth? An experience that stripped away all the non-essentials and landed you in the middle of what matters most? Are you able to stay in touch with that truth when life and busyness as usual carries on? Do we require crisis or wake-up calls to keep us connected to what is most important?


Copyright © 2015 Marie-Ève Bonneau