The failure to fulfill one’s potential can be one of the most devastating and damaging things to occur to a person. A kind of gnawing emptiness, longing, frustration, and displaced anger takes over when this occurs. Whether the anger is turned inward on the self or outward toward others, dreadful destruction results. Edward T. Hall
Before you stands the vast rain forest where the road you once pursued has ended. It is no longer viable. The vibrant dancing shades of yellow, green, blue and red of the forest saturates your senses. The cacophony of sounds reverberate through your spine. Overflowing with energy and life, the unknown beckons. Your skin tingles with sensuality. Although frightened, you feel as if you are alive in a dream – a dream rich with possibilities. Do you suspend caution and enter the forest? Somehow you know, or maybe just hope, that within the mystery you will be able to re-build your spirit and find a new, desirable way of being. Will you risk entering and surviving your dark night of the soul? Perhaps for some, the need to be Awake and Present forces the acceptance of the challenge. Others might persist in re-tracing the well-worn path from which their misery emanated. A deep breath, conviction of need, desperate to find your unique authenticity, you jump off the path and embark on the journey to find yourself.
I’ve been there.
I believe that we are born with a diverse mix of strengths, weakness, capacities and gifts, or soul signatures as some say. Those of us who are fortunate, discover at an early age what makes them feel good – that which is right about themselves – and how to pursue and develop their unique combination of talents. Supported by family, teachers, friends and a myriad of fortuitous circumstances (environment, country of birth, economics, race, ethnicity, timely opportunities) they may find that rare unwavering path to the good inner and perhaps outer life.
Each of us self-define how much pain, misery and turmoil is too excessive to be tolerated. When it becomes over-whelming, the choice can be made to abandon consensual reality. In a way, it is an attempt re-claim yourself and to start over. Without a guide, and often with the censure of community, it is easy to get lost in a forest absent the street signs we always depended upon. With more experienced, trusted guides, there are more possibilities for success. Perhaps if we developed a culture where there is more sensitivity to people’s needs, there would be less necessity to make such dangerous journeys. Building bridges and more roads back from the abyss without sacrificing choice and freedom can make those unmapped trips less damaging for intrepid explorers. And those that are able to return from their immersion in the untamed wilds of the imagination often bring us remarkable gifts in art, music, literature and insights into the potential and resilience of the human spirit.