When Nothing Saves You

I remember the exact moment. Late night grocery shopping. Cookies and pastries to my right. A fellow shopper scrutinizing nutrition labels to my left.

I’d been aching. Big time. I’d been alone. Big time. I’d traveled so far and shifted so much inside myself. (What the hell was I still yearning for!?) I’d been searching through a sea of everything and coming up with nothing. I felt desperate and in need of something to deliver me from my emptiness that night. I looked at the cookies and saw nothing. (And that’s saying a lot because I really love cookies.) I exchanged smiles with the fellow shopper and felt nothing. (And that’s also saying a lot because I really love human connection.) I listened for the song playing over the speakers and heard white noise. (Nooooooo! Not the music, too!)

It was a moment in time. I stood there, a hollowed out statue of my love and loss in the bakery aisle when something rose to say: This is the part where nothing saves you. Not a fellow human being. Not a batch of your favorite cookies. Not a set of 7 or however many steps to this or that. Not a hundred days of meditation. Not a book or a song or a prayer. Nothing. This is the part where nothing saves you.

You’d think that would be the most hopeless, depressing, worthless thing anyone would want to hear at a time like that. But I felt relieved. Because it was the truth. And the cold hard truth feels better to the soul than a soft comforting lie any day.

And because this is the part in any hero’s journey, in any go ’round the spiral where it gets real good. The part where you surrender everything known and bank on the mysterious workings of your soul to lead the way. The part where you find out what you’re made of beyond what you already know you’re made of.

And you damn well better have nothing to hold onto when you get to this point. Because still having something can really get in the way. The alchemy of your soul and spirit has a plan, and your five-sensory self is not keen to it (not yet anyway). You’re being pulled along by things you can’t see and things you can’t explain. You don’t have a prayer, a way, or anything to save you because you don’t need it. Because this particular journey begins where all those things end.

So you can buy the new wardrobe, you can eat the cookies, you can read the blog that everyone is raving about, you can take the trip to Hawaii, you can spend $800 for the latest self-marketing program, but it’s not gonna matter.

It’s not gonna change what your soul has up its sleeve. You might very well be carrying on with life-as-usual on the outside, but when you’re in it this deep, when you’ve traveled this far. When your heart is weary and your bones are too. When you’ve meditated and self-helped yourself into oblivion. When you’ve climbed the 7 steps to happiness up and down and back up again. When your yoga mat doubles as a punching bag, and you’re not sure if God is laughing at you or the Universe is loving you. When you’ve done all you can at the end of every spiritual rope, and you’re falling falling falling… the things that saved you before will not save you now. Because they are not meant to.

You are falling into your own soul, and all you need is that, your truth, the hollowed out grief shape of you standing there in the bakery aisle (the produce aisle works too), and a willingness to do whatever it takes to see it through.

And you’ve got that, baby. Oh, you’ve got it.

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