“The only way out is through.”
I don’t know who uttered that statement, but it popped up when I came across a photo of a cat walking through a barbed wired tunnel. Human beings, at one point or another in our lives, can relate to that walk. Kitty reminds us of a few life realities in this thing called humanity.
The Sharp Barbed Wire is There.
“When,” not “if.”
Sooner or later, something precarious, serious, or dangerous shows up for us. We are at a fork in the road. We are faced with choosing something with significant consequences attached to it. The barbs in the barbed wire are in full effect.
Most of us are not prepared for that. We are not taught about this in the same way we are taught how to spell and do math. So, it often blindsides us.
Wait, we’re not ready.
It’s not personal. Life is not picking on us. This is part of the stuff of life.
The barbed wire is there. You and I will need to deal with that. Kitty’s walk captures that reality.
There’s Not Much Wiggle Room.
Looking at this photo of the cat, moving through the tunnel, there’s not much space between the feline and the sharp barbs. How fitting is of a metaphor is that for life, huh?
Painted in a corner. Trapped. No-win.
All are descriptions for that feeling, for that perception, for that reality, of being constricted. We cannot move; perhaps, we feel we cannot breathe.
This situation can try to sway us into believing it is hopeless; things will never change for the better. It’s during these instances, as trite as it sounds, we need to remember that the situation is, indeed, temporary, and it is subject to helpful resources being offered to us. There is a way out. We may be narrowly making our way with a dangerous and serious situation, but if we keep going, we will move out of it eventually. The cat, pictured in the photo, is portrayed as midway through the tunnel. Yes, there are still sharp barbs. Yes, the cat needs to be careful in its movement.
But movement is still going on.
We’ll Need To Go It Alone.
Perception versus reality is a part of life. A case can be made about both concepts. Yes, there is perception; yes, there is reality. And “being alone” covers both.
We’ve all heard the expression, “we come into this world alone; we go out of this world alone.”
Yeah, true. What each of us, on some level, experiences in life, directly impacts us in an “alone” kind of way. We cannot get away from ourselves, our thoughts, emotions, bodies, and spirits. We need to address and tend to this reality, doing our own work. There is the element to our lives that requires we do our own work, face certain things by ourselves.
AND we can reach out for extra help, support, and resources. Still, we need to keep in mind that the baseline of dealing with our barbed wire issues needs to be a self-directed, internal work first. We need to deal with ourselves. The barbed wire, whatever it may be, is something that is ours. Ownership of that concept can aid us in moving through the tunnel.
Kitty is doing the work; Kitty is walking through, with no other creature on site.
We are Going THROUGH It.
The Kitty Image portrays a cat in motion. The little furball isn’t parked and stagnate. There’s movement there. Neither here, nor there. On the move. On the way.
Kitty is our wise mentor here. We keep moving, even if all we feel is immobilized. Movement and forward momentum are always so clear cut. Much of the time, we look like nothing is happening, maybe even, things are worsening. What if it appears we’re regressing?
It can be argued we are still moving. No one is one hundred percent static and inert. Mental and emotional decisions can gain traction, where the physical appearance of movement appears to be stuck.
And that’s another thing. The word, “appears.”
A synonym to “appear?” “Seems.”
These words are powerful. They call into question the reality of what is going on. Is what looks to be a situation, really, in its entirety, what’s going on?
Chances are, that answer is “no.” there’s more going on than meets the eye.
Let’s get back to Kitty in the barbed wire photo. It looks like the feline is moving through the dangerous and painful tunnel. Legs and body are in motion. Kitty is looking ahead at something. Kitty is mid-way through the tunnel.
What we don’t see, in the photo, is how fast or how slow that walking movement is occurring. Maybe Kitty is sprinting, lightning-quick, through it, hoping not to bump up against the stabbing barbs in the process. Or, maybe, it’s happening at a slower, more cautious pace, seconds, or minutes taken with each cat step.
We don’t know about the speed; we can only see there is movement.
It’s highly unlikely Kitty is posing in this stance, doing some Madonna “Vogue” tribute.
It’s possible, but the likelihood of that “strike a pose” situation probably is less likely than “Feline Walking.”
Are you and I moving and making progress?
Does it appear that we are stuck, hopeless, and personal failures, forever imprisoned by bleak fate?
What is that one thought, that one move, that one insight, choice, or determination that makes the difference?
And how close are we to reaching the end of the barbed wire tunnel if we just refuse to give up on that thing?
Perception is everything. Perceive that progress is being made, and eventually, it will become that self-fulfilling prophecy. Life is change and change will hit our lives.
Life/change, sooner or later, will move us into another spot.
It’d help if we decide to allow that to happen.
There is a Destination.
Kitty is looking at something. Kitty sees something. Kitty is focused on a destination. There’s no swiveled head, distracted or unfocused quality to the feline as the walk is happening.
There is a destination.
Now, I know there can be the risk of “destination addiction,” the concept of the perfect, unattainable, ever-moving target of happily ever after, if we just keep chasing the destination.
No, that’s not what Kitty’s destination is about.
Kitty doesn’t know, with absolute certainty, if that destination is better, safer, more fulfilling, with better food and catnip. Kitty just knows to go “there.”
Why? Because the previous location was so painful? Because Kitty’s bored?
Or is it because Kitty knows that the destination is the next place to be?
“Destination” can speak to more than “location, location, location.” It can also speak to the “how” of well-being, the “why” of the need to get healthier, and the “who” of who we have been avoiding in ourselves, until, one day, we decide, “no longer’ to do so.
It’s that. It’s the necessity of evolution, of our personal evolution. We need to grow and change. We can no longer do it “here.”
We must do it “there.”
Here’s where we have an advantage over Kitty. We can access the tools of destination, like therapy, support groups, addiction sponsors, books, and meditation, to ensure that, in the name of destination, we are going somewhere healthier and better, and not just doing the running away of “destination addiction.”
Doing the real work, living the truth, and embracing accountability are a part of “destination.” Without them, we’re probably just in another version of hellish nowhere.
Kitty, with eye on the prize, reminds us that, when we’re on the move, going somewhere, we need to be intentional about it.
Life, in the Process of Danger…
There’s no avoiding it. Life is painful and dangerous. No one is immune from a barbed wire tunnel. It can show up suddenly or gradually. It can be trauma, a relationship, an addiction, a circumstance. No one escapes the precarious situation of having to face something daunting, with potential for destruction or fulfillment. The barbs are sharp. There’s room for error. We don’t have the luxury of opting out.
“The only way out is through.”
How are we choosing to live and move in that tunnel?
Copyright © 2022 by Sheryle Cruse