Shades of Gray

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I didn’t want this. I untied my raft; it released onto the water. I bobbed, unmoored, kneeling on the 4 x 4 foot frame before letting out the rope, slowly, as I incrementally drifted away from the dock. I floated toward the sea, accepting the inevitable challenges. I could hear my breath, feel my chest rise and fall, feel my pulse, but I barely knew my own name. The raft wobbled on the gray rippling surface of the water. Thick gray cloud covered the low hanging sky, surrounding me. My gaze relaxed as I turned toward the sea. A smudged horizon loomed invisible in the indeterminate distance. I didn’t know where I was or where I was going in this intense neutrality.

The rest of my life looked normal. I worked, bought groceries, asked questions, answered when spoken to, did yoga, smiled, laughed. But an endless, ominous, null space occupied me that felt empty, empty, empty, without bearings or workable tools. There was no ground, no sky, no limits, no science, no time, or existence beyond this moment. The world made no sense. I felt frightened and utterly alone. Each breath defined the next moment, excruciating, slow, gruelling. I couldn’t see my own goodness and depended largely on others to validate my best attributes and efforts.

Despite the dense grayness, I felt kindness. Kindness, encouragement, love, acceptance, reinforcement, and others’ wisdom became discernable guides that lit the way through the fog towards clarity and greased the wheels of a better life.

A call to inhabit intense emptiness, a no-thing-ness of free fall and deconstructed identity, was the beginning of healing. This terrifying trip that I didn’t want, eventually, with willingness, perseverance, and surrender, opened to passages leading to abundance, grace, and joy.

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