During my twenties, my life resembled a roller coaster ride with lots of highs and lows.
I galloped through life at the speed of light bent on trying everything once and enjoying, even coveting and eventually becoming addicted to, the thrill of new experience. Overtime, such an accelerated growth pattern with little to no downtime took its toll, and the thrilling highs were matched with depressing lows. Living the life of a thrill seeker or, in today’s parley, an adrenaline junkie stretches our energy to its extremes. In an attempt to equalize (find homeostasis), the body must respond to such extreme highs with the equally extreme lows of exhaustion and depression.
Life is a balancing act, and extreme energies, in the form of addictions, imbalance the body and mind culminating in illness. As with any attempt to release an addiction, I recognized, with some sadness, that to step off the roller coaster, I would have to relinquish the breathtaking highs in order to be free of the energy-sucking lows. Those highs were serving a purpose, they were bringing excitement and pleasure into my life. However, pleasure achieved through an addiction is an illusion. It might provide instant gratification, but it never fulfills and sustains the greater experience of true happiness or joy. My avid pursuit of excitement and pleasure left me joyless.
In fact, this is exactly the state most of my clients have reached when they approach me for coaching. They have lost their joy and no longer know how to bring it back.
Today, the metaphor I use to depict my life is that of a flowing river, which has much smaller crests and dips. Of course, there is still adventure but it no longer looks or feels as it once did. The thrill ‘peaks’ of my youth, those impulsive leaps from endings to new beginnings with little or no down time between, gradually faded into an easier, gentler, joy-filled cycle. One of the many wonderful outcomes was the discovery that real adventure lies, not in the peaks, but in the valleys — the down time between each ending and new beginning; the gap where all inspiration and integration (learning and transformation) occur; the space where we learn what it is we need to know in order to release our love into the world. Below, my poem captures this adventure.
Today desire has been upstaged,
pushed to the background.
Lying dazzling in the foreground is inspiration,
the birthing forth of what was once unknown,
the promise that creation is on its way.
Resting in the void between endings and new beginnings
never felt so good; knowing that
here lies the birthplace, the home of adventure.
Here, too, lies my home, my place
to birth forth creations of love.
Such is the story of the adventurer,
at home in the gap between birth and death,
endings and new beginnings, exhales and inhales,
enjoying each empty, pregnant moment
knowing something sacred is about to be born.
When we stop running, stop desiring, we find everything we need within the silence, within ourselves.
When you desire something, your joy depends on that something. If it is
taken away, you are miserable; if it is given to you, you are happy, but only
for the moment. [ . . .] once you have got it, again the mind starts desiring
for more, for something else. Osho
What cloaks of desire or addiction are you wrapping yourself in that hide and deplete your love and joy?
Osho 1999. Transformation Tarot: insights & parables for renewal in everyday life.