Here’s Episode 51 of Turning Towards Life, a weekly live 30 minute conversation hosted by thirdspace coaching in which Justin Wise and Lizzie Winn dive deep into big questions of human living.
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Our conversation opens with a piece written by Lizzie, reproduced below, which launches us into a conversation about openness, shame, and the nothingness we often find when we make contact with ourselves. We consider that such ‘nothingness’ is another way of talking about the ground of all being from which we come and to which we return, and the life-giving and healing possibilities that come when we’re open about the aspect of ourselves with others. Along the way we talk about the importance of being met and seen, with simple welcome, by others, the gifts of community, and how the lives so many of us live keep us away from such straightforward and life-giving possibilities.
Here’s our source for this week, written by Lizzie specially for this project.
The Abyss of Defunctness. And the joy of one another.
There’s nothing here, nothing to hold me.
And maybe this, right here, is where all of life comes from. The nothingness that you can’t even begin to account for and yet we’re all running around trying to fill ourselves up with stuff, or food, or experiences, or money, or speed, or status so that we don’t have to feel what I’m feeling now.
What I am feeling I will call ‘The Abyss of Defunctness’. Like I’m not worth a thing. Like I truly am nothing. Like all my strategies for living have failed. All the ways I have tried to make things work are just a collection of thin and useless, failed and flawed efforts to have things turn out in ways I think they should.
And in this nothingness I have you. My fellow traveller, my friend, my sister, my brother.
There are real beings right here as I feel this; joining me in the abyss as I dare to bare this truth to another who is settled, open and kind – I glimpse the possibility that even in this state I am OK. Because you are here and you didn’t run away.
If we join with another when we or they are in The Abyss, The Foresaken (or so it feels) Place – the fruits of relatedness are borne.
In the loving, accepting gaze of another (who is not trying to fix or change the situation) – the parts that we’ve rejected become welcomed. The opinions of ourselves that hold hurt and shame are held warmly, gently in an open heart, body and mind. The unacceptable becomes part of the conversation.
How do we face ourselves in all our glorious opposites, our brokenness, our wounds, our joys, our hurts, our truth? Maybe this kind of loving, accepting connection is the answer.
Imagine a world where our appetite to be seen is satiated, where our wish to be witnessed is fulfilled, our hunger to be seen is met with just what we need.
On the contrary, if we’re repeatedly unseen, maybe that’s what we become. If we are repeatedly blind to one another’s goodness, others, then, become this.
We perpetuate unseen-ness. By unseen-ness I mean a presence that doesn’t know / see or feel its Self. A presence that has no idea of who or what it is because no one is here now (or was there then) to mirror back to us the bright and shining truth of our being.
Maybe the ones who welcomed us didn’t have it to show us? (Maybe we didn’t have within us as part of the welcome of the ones we once held ?)
It’s possible it wasn’t it in their eyes when they greeted us. Their bodies didn’t tell us who we were, so we didn’t get answered in our call for love. And by then we’d forgotten who we truly were – it slowly slipped away as we became more and more embroiled in this physical world.
We didn’t get received in our wish to bring love because the space in the people who welcomed us wasn’t cultivated to see or receive us. They had not received this space from those who welcomed them.
And maybe this is the game changer. The time in our own personal histories where we come together and change the story. And bring to one another what we so long for.
Maybe the ultimate act of growing up is becoming this loving space – even when we don’t know how.
I wonder about softly edging into the vulnerability of feeling like we have not got it to give. And then doing our best to bring it alive from the nothing that we find in that place that feels so empty.
From a space of emptiness, of not knowing, we begin drawing on something that feels real and we begin offering it to the soul in front of us. And we might even offer it to ourselves when we get practiced at it.
All the ways we feel wounded, deadened, deaf to the call of this particular life, lost and afraid – this togetherness makes it OK. Because togetherness means we can learn from it all, make it our path.
When someone is there with us to live this life alongside us and show us again and again, in our darkest moments, that it’s good to be alive because there is our togetherness, it shows there’s hope and purpose here.
Simply because we’re us, because we’re connected and our nature is to love. And we’re here together. And this is our path.
We’re bringing each other alive.
Together we awaken into life.
In separation, we stay asleep and our true nature remains hidden.
By Lizzie Winn