What if nothing works? Food, alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping, internet, tv, exercise. Is this the point at which checking out for good earns its appeal? When giving up is really all you can do because nothing, I mean nothing, is working. And what’s the point of fighting? Why not just surrender? Give it up, give in, let it go. Go to sleep never to wake up again. Stop the struggle, stop trying to figure it out, stop the agony. Is that really what it is all about? Struggle, fighting, war? The internal battles are so much more intense than the outer ones. You versus yourself. You just want it to stop. The fucking endless discontent which is what drove you to seek out distraction in the first place. Something that keeps eating away at your soul, this longing for something more, more than going through the motions, more than this.

The problem with the distractions is they are never enough. After the high, you are still there. The gnawing at your soul is still there. The ache, the hunger, the yearning; it doesn’t go away that easily. It is not that quickly sated, despite our best attempts. But goddamn do we want it to. Overdose and excess begin to make sense – the longing to keep that high, to keep the monsters at bay-  whatever it takes, I’ll do it, keep me out of the devil’s reach, for just one moment more. I don’t want to come back from this place- this place where all is ok, where I feel a bit of peace. I want to stay here, play here, not face the ugly reality that is my current life. Is this the curse of first world living? Where enough is never enough? I’m not talking about material possessions – I’m speaking of life satisfaction. When just doing your hours to earn enough to pay your bills is no longer acceptable. The question has now become, what is? Herein lies the problem. If I am not doing work that aligns with who I am and that pays me well, I am in a state of turmoil.  Add to this the pressure to be fit, healthy, mindful, and balanced. I am fucked. And hence I overeat. I overdrink. I engage in promiscuous behavior. I want out. And I will do anything to get there. Anything.

Here’s the real kicker: what if that ‘anything’ is the exact opposite of what you think? Instead of checking out, what if it actually means showing the fuck up? Are you as willing then to do that ‘anything’? No? That’s what I thought. It is so much easier to check out, hide under the covers, bury yourself, self-medicate, disappear. The ‘anything’ that is really calling you is your soul. It is tired of being ignored, medicated, and stuffed down. It wants to rise up. It belongs on center stage. And this takes work. There is no easy fix or instant gratification here. This is the excavation of the soul. The soul that has been buried under layers of abuse, neglect, addiction, and distraction. Yet, this is what we are being called to do. We are called to really, truly, show up for ourselves. No matter what. The question is, ‘Are you willing to do anything and everything to finally set your soul free?’ It takes courage. It takes vulnerability. It takes commitment. It takes vigilance. It takes profound love. It is a choice, as is everything. Start by choosing YOU. All of you. In every aspect of your life.

Choose to stay conscious and present. Choose to acknowledge exactly what is it you are feeling. Choose to bring presence and awareness to the food you eat- savoring every bite, appreciating all it took to bring this beautiful food to your plate. Do the same with alcohol. Bring consciousness to your drinking – stop using alcohol to check out –instead use it as an opportunity to check in. Check in with yourself. Is it alcohol you really want? Or is it perhaps a cup of tea? Or a chat with a friend? Or a long, leisurely walk? If it is alcohol, choose only the drinks that you love, that have a flavor that you truly appreciate, that enhance your meal, your conversation, and that very moment. And the same goes for sex. Bring the sacredness back to lovemaking. Dare to be fully, completely present with your partner – fully engaged, feeling every touch, noticing every sensation that arises in your body, appreciating the pure pleasure you are experiencing. Yes, it is scary. Going deep within yourself always is. It is also incredibly powerful. It is what we are here for. It is how this life is meant to be lived. Awake. Alive. Aware. Conscious. Present. This is where the richness of life lies. It is ours if we are willing to fully, completely, deeply show up and connect with ourselves, our true selves. Again and again and again. Don’t wait. Do it now. Now is the time. Now is the only time. Right now.

-Kori Gouge


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