October 6, 2016

Reach for an Anchor when Overwhelmed by the Sea.



When you find yourself pitched about by the waves of life, when you can’t find the emotional strength to stay afloat and keep you head above water, when you feel have nothing left to keep the current from sweeping you away into the dark abyss: Reach for an anchor.

I consider myself to be a strong, independent person with a healthy emotional and spiritual foundation, but there have been times in my life where I was overwhelmed and sinking into the depths of pain and fear. What kept me afloat during these challenging times was the love and compassion of a trusted loved one—an anchor person, as I affectionately like to think of them.

Sometimes these special souls appear at exactly the right time and place when we need them most.

Such was the case when I broke up with my first love as a young adult. My boyfriend and I were taking what I thought was a “break,” not the best idea when you live with your partner, but my means were limited and I had nowhere else to go.

Shortly after this break, I walked up the stairs to our house and discovered my boyfriend cuddling on the patio with his female co-worker. I felt my heart instantly crumple inside my chest. My roommate’s friend witnessed this scene. He could see the heartache written all over my being. He reached out his hand and said, “You’re not staying here tonight.”

With that, he whisked me away and let me sleep in his bed for the night while he respectfully slept on the sofa. To this day, I am still in awe of his selfless and instantaneous act of compassion for someone he barely knew. This man will always hold a special place in my heart for showing me great kindness in what felt like the darkest moment in my young life.

Often times, it’s up to us to reach out our hand and tell our anchor person: “I need your support and strength for just a moment.”

A few weeks ago, I found myself in this space. For the last two years I have been doing deep soul work to shift my life and perspective to one of bravery, love and joy. The journey has been filled with extreme highs and lows. While I would never go back to the person I was two years ago, I reached a point where I felt out of gas with no reserve tank, out of tools to move me forward along my path.

I had done everything I knew to do. I felt I had truly given 100 percent to the areas of my life that were most important to me and I couldn’t see progress. I wanted to run away, to burn every bridge I’d ever built, burn it all to the ground and start anew. I was tired of being the phoenix, walking through the fires again and again. Time to burn everything around me instead.

I reached up my hand to a few loved ones and said, “Keep my head above the water, keep me from washing away.” They held me in their love long enough for me to stop treading water, to catch my breath, to rest. They listened with compassion and shared their wisdom to help me get my bearings again.

As synchronicity would have it, I came across a podcast from Good Life Project today where the amazing Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the same thing:

“When you come to the end of yourself is where all the interesting stuff starts… Where I feel like I’m collapsing is when I come to the end of myself, where I literally just don’t know what to do… like I’ll be in a situation with somebody on an interpersonal level and we’re having a problem with each other and I’ve tried all the quivers in my bow… I’ve tried A. I’ve tried B. I’ve tried C. I’ve tried D… I feel like we’re not getting anywhere and now that means when you come to the end of all the quivers in your bow. You’re at the end of yourself. You’ve got nothing left and that’s a point where you either can fall into total hopelessness and despair or you can say, ‘This is really interesting. Help!’ and then you ask for help from somebody who has the thing you need. You call on the wisest person you know and go, ‘Okay, this is what happened and I don’t know what to do. What do you think?’ You just open yourself up to the point that this must be a place to learn because I don’t know what to do… When you’re at the end of yourself, you reach for someone else.”

To those of you struggling, reach out your hand. If nobody snatches it up right away, seek out the mentor or loved one your heart is telling you to connect with in that moment.




Author: Valerie Byers

Image: Flickr/Dprotz

Editor: Travis May

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