Drawing From an Empty Well
When life has taken all I have to give and then some, my well runs dry. It goes way beyond physical energy reserves. This goes deeper, to the core of me. I’ve not experienced this for a long time, but in the last few weeks, life has hit hard. Over and over again. From just about every angle. Relentlessly and sometimes silently, its winds have battered me around from the inside out. Now I find myself with nothing left to draw on and there isn’t much I can do to change that in the short run.
There is no fix when our well runs dry except pray for rain, and if you live where I do, that hasn’t happened for far too long. We are in a serious drought. Plants are dying in my yard from the scorching sun and fiery heat. Even those that are supposed to thrive in this climate, seem to be saying they’ve had enough. There is nothing left for them to draw on because the soil has turned to dust.
That’s exactly how I feel now. When I reach down into my own soil, down into my well of strength, I am unnerved to find nothing there. So much so, that it is causing constant anxiety when I do. This is a state I’ve been in before, but not for a very long time. Now that I am, I am humbled to my knees. The only thing to do is set aside anything and everything that requires my focus and strength and pray for rain. For my well to begin to fill again. I can’t make it rain, just like I can’t open the skies and pour water onto my dying plants. I can only ask to be filled up again and trust that I will.
What do I do in the meantime?
I have no desire to create. My juices have run dry.
I have no desire to engage with others. I have nothing to give.
I have nothing to share on social media, nor do I care what others are sharing at this moment. Its all too much to take in. Too much for my delicate nervous system to manage.
I know this feeling of being nothing and doing nothing and wanting nothing, except peace and love. Being with my family, watching movies, cuddling on the sofa with my dogs. Wrapping myself in one of my blankets and hugging my pillows. Letting the rest of the world do its thing and not caring at all what anyone else is up to. I don’t have the strength to care. That’s a state of nothingness. When all I can do is breathe and just be.
But this is different from the state of being I’ve actually wanted to achieve. This nothingness is not a peaceful one. It is not simply empty. This state is one of total depletion, a dry well that cannot provide nourishment any longer. It’s important to make that distinction because one is a state of emptiness that allows for openings and expansion. A state in which the new has a chance to spring forth. The other is state of emptiness from which I can only pray to be re-filled with life force. The first came from surrender. The latter, from draining all reserves.
Dare I say that it is a rare case when we have no choice as to how much we allow ourselves to be drawn from? Sometimes life just happens, like gunshots being fired in succession and there is nowhere to run. I feel as if that’s what has happened in this case of late. I wasn’t aware until I was already drained, that my well was in danger of running dry. When this happens, as it does to some of us during the course of a lifetime, caring for others, a family, a business, health issues, finances, unexpected tragedies, what do we do to replenish?
The way I see it from where I sit now is this:
Get down to the basics of what it takes to sustain my life, not in terms of simple survival, but in what I need to refuel.
Demand little of and give much to myself.
Know that it’s OK to disappear from view because sometimes being seen takes way too much.
Sit with my face to the sun and soak it in.
Let the shower rain over me a little longer than usual until I feel like its raining inside my soul.
Don’t give what I don’t have to give and know that those I love will understand.
Remember that less is more, and to fill up I need to use less and take in more. More of anything that feeds my body and soul. Whatever that is, no judgment. Just love.
These times happen in life. The longer we live, the more chance we’ll experience this. The more we take on, the greater the chance of this happening. And if you are highly sensitive, no matter how much you want to give to others, when this happens, the oxygen mask has to be placed on your own face first.
Now I know that this might feel sad to consider. It all sounds as if I’m in a terrible state, but there is another side to this that I want to share.
In my experience, times like these are also opportunities for growth and expanded awareness. For instance, this time for me is helping me to see more clearly what is most important in my life. When all else is stripped away and I only have enough in me to breathe, what do I know is essential to my life? What naturally falls by the wayside and what do I know I will pick up again when my energy returns?
Clarity comes at those times when everything falls away and we can see past our normal range of vision. What I am seeing now is that there is nothing more important to me than the love and support I have right here in my home. There is nothing I care about more than those I love. And if I only have enough in me to give to something, it will be to them. So any fear I have of losing ground in my work, of missing something important in my business, or of letting go of whatever I have been spending my energy on, has slipped away. That is an eye-opener to me. Those things that I thought were so important that I had to hang on no matter what, pale in comparison to what I know is essential to my life.
You see, even in the times that appear to be so grim, there is always a light shining on some new awareness that I couldn’t see any other way. There are blessings in every experience. And if we see our circumstances in that light, we’re never lost.
Since I wrote this I've been graced with an even wider perspective. This emptiness is preparing the way for the beginning of "labor." I feel it coming. A shift. "Living a New Life" is taking on a new meaning, one I sense will grow clearer in the months to come. I wasn't aware at the time of this writing that I was this close to the passage I have been working so hard for, one that will eventually lead me to somewhere beyond the limitations of my mind. Stay tuned....
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