Imagine you’re underwater, under a sheet of ice and snow, in total darkness. It’s so cold that you’ve gone numb long ago. Don’t worry about breathing. Which way is up? Where is down, forward, backwards, sideways? How can you tell?
Okay, now worry about breathing. You can’t just stay in the same spot, you’ve got to move, you’ve got to get to the surface, somehow. With no way to tell what direction is what, you’d might as well just pick any direction at random and start moving. Give it your best shot. Best case scenario, you’re right the first time, you swim up and up and up until you reach a dark barrier and break through the ice and the snow.
But what if you choose wrong? What if, instead of going up, you start to swim down instead?
Start swimming down before you’re completely numb and you might feel that oppressive pressure bearing down on you, getting heavier. Might feel things getting colder, too. But if you’re already numb? You won’t feel shit. If you don’t find your way up soon, you’ll drown.
What if you start moving sideways, instead of up or down? How will you know?
Well, maybe the ice overhead will start to get thinner, letting some light through to help guide you. Maybe the water will start to feel warmer, giving you some sense of feeling back. But if nothing changes?
If nothing changes, then it’s almost the same as if you weren’t moving at all, except now you’re spending more energy, just tiring yourself out for nothing.
At a certain point, you’ve got to choose whether to trust your initial choice, or to change direction.
Think of a seed, buried in the dirt. How does it know which direction to grow? It grows towards warmth first, feeling for the sun-warmed soil. Then it breaks through all the dirt surrounding it, digs its roots in, and reaches towards the sky.
People do the same thing.
Being numb could leave us like a seed sprouting downwards, shooting leaves into the soil, never getting the chance to feel the sunshine. To be numb is to not know when we’re dying, or when we’re thriving. It’s not worth it. We can’t let ourselves get numb.
Alive, yet still somehow dead.
Stay feeling. If you’re numb already, if you’re in darkness, just pick a direction. Movement is better than stagnation. You can change your direction if the path you’re on now doesn’t seem to be leading you where you need to go.
Find your warmth. Find your sunshine.
We have an advantage over seeds. For the most part, they can’t choose their soil. They get carried away on the wind, or in a bird’s belly, and land where they land. Hopefully, we humans have a little more control over where we end up. Don’t underestimate just how important that is.
Find your sunshine.
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