ON BEING HUMAN at Southwestern College, Santa Fe
– Allegra Borghese
I sit in client-mode, staring at myself down a long, dark tunnel. I see a flicker of myself that has been mischievously hiding for a long time. The uncanny feeling that emerges is a potent reality check slicing through who I think myself to be, and the ugliness that is there reflects an undeniable truth that is longing to be accepted. I am surprised because I thought I had already accepted this part of myself, but my dumbstruck, frozen reaction confirms otherwise. What I see down that tunnel is the overwhelming emptiness of my soul, sucking in everything and anything it can to fill up. Shit; I am still a bottom-feeder.
What a few weeks of intentional sobriety have shown me (part of the curriculum for Consciousness Class) are the lies I feed myself and believe in order to placate that emptiness. The lies come in the form of projections, rationalizations, substitute gratifications and missions of colonization, namely, compulsive doing. I give up my power to these activities and they take on a life of their own, dragging me along in their wake. Yet, the lies are beginning to fail me and the emptiness is surfacing violently. It is hungry—starving—and eating me up inside. This isn’t new. It has been here since I can remember. I am just letting myself consciously witness and feel it for the first time in over a decade. I fear its destructiveness, but I don’t have the energy to suppress it anymore. I am too exhausted.
I am exhausted because I am being broken down into pieces. Successive disappointments in my effort to stay conscious have me feeling beat up, worthless and defeated. But this is okay, because only in this depleted state am I able to inhabit my own emptiness and surrender to it. Only in this state, as of now, does my ego-mind quiet so that I can listen to the inner knowing that peels me off the floor and helps me try again. I will repeat the cycle that leads to this place until I feed the emptiness with the unconditional love and acceptance it needs. I give myself a taste of this, but my mind resurges in terror to seize my heart shut. The inner knowing points me towards where I can access this resource, and not just when I am broken, but I block it out. Again I find myself in a frozen state, baffled by my resistance to healing.
So I have freeze points, and knowing this is progress in the work of consciousness. It is not easy, and no one said it was. Every day means taking lengthy inventory of my inner landscape and sitting with what I find. Every day is waking up not knowing if I will succeed or fail in hearing and meeting the needs of my beautiful but aching void. And every day I am thankful for Southwestern and the people in my life who help me face this inner battle that I tend to disguise in countless ways. So it is okay that I am in pieces, because I am at a place that is in the business of putting people back together. And they know, as I am learning, the value of the peace that’s at stake.
Allegra Borghese is a first year student at Southwestern College, and has more courage than the average bear.