The way through is down.
I really struggled writing this installment in The Way Up Is Down series. The fact is that I am IN the process of “through.” It’s also true that I’m scared as hell doing the “downward” work, yet…
To get through, we must go deep.
We all can get through, but unless we go deep and address the issues that we are facing as we go through, we’ll be back here again before too long.
When I first posted this thought experiment on Instagram back in January, a friend of mine commented, “the enemy’s gate is down…” Immediately I began to debate in my mind the meaning of down in his comment, directionally down or functionally down. Of course, it is directionally down. But you can’t take down your enemy’s gate unless you go down to do it.
My next question was, “Who is my enemy?” I knew the answer to that right away. Me! I am my enemy. To overcome your enemy, you must know what makes him tick. That means I must discover and take responsibility for the actions and decisions that got me here.
“A lot of people…have a problem being true to they self. They have a problem looking into the mirror and looking directly into their own souls. The reason I can…walk around, the reason I am who I am today is because I can look directly into my face and find my soul.”
— Tupac Shakur
If I can “look into my face and find my soul,” then I will no longer be my own enemy. This takes courage. This is deep work. I may not like what I find, but unless I do the work, I will only be getting by instead of going through.
There is so much more to say, and I’ve left out a lot, but I will finish with this. Though this is personal work, it’s not solitary work. I have sought the help of friends and professionals to do this downward work. In a way, this is another aspect of going down, because it forces us to embrace humility. It’s allowing others to see our shadow side, trusting they won’t reject us, and taking their hand as they help us up.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 5:3 (NIV)
This is the hope of all of this. That we would find our way up. That we would rise with a new appreciation for life, love, and community, with our feet firmly grounded and our hearts centered in these realities.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
— Serenity Prayer
Grace and peace,