Sunday, January 23, 2011

Downward is the Way Forward

We watched Inception for the second time last night. I was hoping that some of the trickier plot points would be clearer to me with another viewing. I did connect some of the dots a little better, and some things confused me just as much if not more than before, but one line jumped out at me as poignant and true in my own life.

When the team is in level one of the dream toward the end of the movie, they begin to panic when they encounter setbacks that they didn't see coming. One team member wants to quit, and go back to reality, but he is told that it's not that simple, and he cannot simply go back. Leonardo DiCaprio's character tells him, "Downward is the only way forward." They had to keep going, as frightening as it was, deeper into the subconscious in order to eventually get back home.

I have lived this concept out recently, but didn't have such an eloquent name for it. The only way forward in terms of healing what is damaged inside of you, is to keep going down into what hurts. Most of us turn back at a certain point because the pain is too great, the wounds too old, and the process too frightening. The price can be steep for our relationships when we go down deep to get to the root of things which continually come in cycles to trip us up. But I understand now that there are no shortcuts to healing. Downward is the way forward.

We can't deal with everything at one time, but I for one have come to the end of my rope when it concerns the giant rug and the giant broom. Sweeping everything in family relationships or friendships under the carpet will get you by for a number of years, but every so often, the subtext (everything swept under the carpet) leaks out into the text of your conversations, because it's always there, fueling everything that is said and done in the relationship.

The stuff under the carpet doesn't go away until you lift the edge, smell the stink, feel the old pain, and stare it down, incident by incident. You touch it, hold it, remember the hurt, and eventually bring it out into the light so it isn't so secret anymore. Every relationship has these hidden depths, but I believe the healthier the relationship, the smaller the mound is under the carpet.

I've been slowly reaching under my own personal rug for the last year. It has been the hardest thing I've ever done, especially when my fingers grasp the oldest things, from early childhood, but when I bring them slowly into the light, and find the courage and freedom to talk about them openly, I find they disappear from under the carpet and no longer hold power over me or my relationships. It's a long process, and filled with uncertainty and pain, but inch by inch my carpet is getting flatter, and I have grown in my confidence and emotional stability.

Downward is the only way forward, and it has been extremely rewarding for me to revisit these areas, bringing the unconscious forward to the conscious, and working through each moldy item to the best of my ability. I never know what I'm going to find under there, and it has pushed some of my relationships to the breaking point, but when you see them starting to recover, with more and more out in the open, accessible to all, I see that it has been worth every tear I've cried, and I want to keep going.

1 comment:

  1. i just rewatched Inception and the phrase always gets stuck in my the explanation you give here as it is the only one and one that has gone through something like this knows. <3 hope everything has work out the way it should