The Gift in the Valley

Many of us have experienced this. That very uncomfortable moment when we realise we have hit rock bottom. It is a scary and often humiliating place to be in. Fear and a feeling hopeless are often the dominant emotions we experience in such a situation. We are vulnerable and feel sorry for ourselves. At the same time, we feel angry and upset and look for someone to blame.

Yes, it is a daunting experience, but what if we look at this from another angle? What if it is actually a gift? What if we view rock bottom as a perfect foundation to build on? Do not knock the valleys in your life. We are being told by motivational speakers and self-help gurus to always reach for the mountain top. That is when we apparently will know we have made it. Nothing wrong with aiming high, however, the reality is, life has mountain tops and valleys. Life is not only about mountain tops.

Life is also about the valleys. It is in the valley where the river runs. That is when our true power comes into play. We want to be on the mountain tops because then we feel victorious, but we were also called to be wise, strong and kind and that we mostly learn to become in the valleys. As Glennon Doyle Melton points out, we are admired on the mountain tops, but we are beloved in the valleys. All the magic is in the space between the mountains where we have to let go of everything we thought we were and start from scratch.

A rock bottom experience is a painful experience and can either leave us feeling bitter or better. Truth is, it always bears a gift. A gift, however, we will not see as long as we take our cues from the ego. This only becomes visible using the lens of the soul. This will determine whether the experience will break us or help us make a breakthrough.

Remember, a bad day for the ego is always a good day for the soul.

Our natural instinct is to avoid pain and find relief as soon as possible. In this case, the pain comes in the form of uncertainty and our instinct is to scramble out of it and to grab blindly for the familiar. But when we rush out of the valley, we miss gathering all the wisdom, strength and kindness we need for the next climb. We have to learn to sit by the river and be still enough to claim its gifts. May we have the wisdom to do exactly that, when we are faced with a challenge.