What to do when hopelessness sets in

While I was in Crete two loved ones reached out to me in a lot of pain. It’s one of the benefits of being in a wonky time zone – you can talk to family and friends at intimate hours.

Both of these special people are experiencing deep hopelessness – that point where you feel there is no way out from your pain.

We can leave aside what brought them to this juncture (if you must know: a horrible dumping and a prolonged set of setbacks, respectively), for hopelessness is the true and most brutal pain to be discussed here. It always is. Don’t you reckon?

Hopelessness is ambiguity, uncertainty, loneliness, free-falling all in one vast package. Hopelessness is what really gets us freaked out.

The day after chatting across time zones and communication outlets with these two loved ones, I came across this quote from Pema Chödrön’s book When Things Fall Apart. She argues for the beauty of hopelessness and says, far from being the end of the road we think it is, hopelessness is actually the starting point for the good stuff:

(Hopelessness) is the beginning of the beginning. Without giving up hope — that there’s somewhere better to be, that there’s someone better to be — we will never relax with where we are or who we are.

Which is to say, while ever we cling to the (false) expectation that there’s an ideal outcome, a fix, a way out, someone else who knows more than we do, etc.,  we stay in the tortured state of grasping outwards and trying to attain the impossible – certainty!

This painfully futile pursuit (for there is no certainty) prevents us from getting down to what we really need. Which is to fuck off the ex and the expectations of others (or whatever) and get cool with being us. Truly us.

What we really need is to reach that state where we’re really, really cool with ourselves. 

Isn’t this what it always comes down to? When we’re down super low, isn’t this what we really suffer? Isn’t this the ultimate pain… That we’re not yet really, really cool with just being ourselves?

Wonderfully, beautifully, ironically, it’s hopelessness that sees us sit in the shit of being ourselves. Right here and now. Hopelessness takes us there. And so the beast is made beautiful.

If there’s no hope, there’s nowhere else to go and nothing to reach out to.

If there’s no hope, you’re all you’ve got.

If there’s no hope, you finally learn to know yourself and be compassionate with yourself.

When you get to hopelessness, you know it’s all about to start flowing into place!

Chödrön again:

In the midst of loneliness, in the midst of fear, in the middle of feeling misunderstood and rejected is the heartbeat of all things…

I agree. You? Does this shift the pain you might be suffering right now?

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