There Is No Down and Out

I don’t get sick very often. In fact, I have enjoyed remarkably good health across most of my lifespan so far, but on those rare occasions when I do come down with something, it’s not pretty.

It’s not just whatever’s going on with me physically, it’s also the emotional or psychological grief that always seems to accompany whatever my body has decided to react to or rebel against. It just feels like something has gone really wrong, and I don’t deal very well.

Before I know it, I’m in a funk, sometimes wondering if some spiritual failure is at the heart of my obvious and eminent physical decline. The woe-is-me’s are never far behind, and pretty soon I’m on my way to not just being down with whatever malady has hit home, but I’m also well on my way to being down and out in terms of my mood and outlook.

And so from that particular pit of view, I inquired of The Shower Team, what it is that always seems to take me so quickly down that slippery slope—and how do I haul myself up from down and out?

There is no such thing, no such place, no such state as “down and out”. By that we mean that there is no low so low, no abyss so deep, no disease so dire, no despair so desperate that you cannot feel your way out of it and back into the light that is you.

You will quickly reach for arguments to this statement. We’ve heard them all. We know how you cling to your symptoms and your diagnoses and your dark dark thoughts about what ails you either physically or emotionally or financially or interpersonally . . . We know how you hurt sometimes and the extent to which you allow suffering to take hold and we understand the great pain that accompanies your focus upon whatever the perceived cause or reason for your suffering might be.

But in spite of all that, in spite of all your protests about how powerless you are to do anything about whatever terrible thing has come upon you . . . you will never hear us agree with you about that powerlessness. You will never hear us join you in lamenting the terrible terrible tragedy of what has befallen you and the injustice of it all as you sit or lie there in your misery.

And the reason for this is because we know—just as You do—how far from true all of that really is. We know that you can at any moment, choose to turn your attention in the direction of something—anything—that feels better to you than the suffering you are fixated upon . . . and as you begin to give your attention to what feels better, you will begin to feel the relief that is always an immediate indicator of your having turned back in the direction of well being.

You know instantly when you are seeing from the perspective of Source. You know instantly when you have turned toward the knowledge of who You really are . . . because you instantly feel the flow of relief. You instantly feel the softening of tension or anxiety or physical pain. You instantly begin to have at least some small sense of what you can do—if you choose to—and that is to decide the direction of your thoughts and in doing so, to decide how you are going to feel.

It does not matter how bad things have gotten. It does not matter how bleak the outlook you’ve been given by well-meaning others. It does not matter how much you hurt or how scared you’ve been or how down on yourself you may be. There is no pit you cannot move out of. There is no darkness that can descend upon you that you cannot turn and walk away from—back into the light of who You really are and of the bright, blessed wellbeing that always flows all around you.

You can choose to sit and look harder and harder at whatever you think is wrong with you. You can give more and more attention to what hurts or what aches or what paralyzes or what frightens you. . . and in doing so, draw more and more of that to you . . . Or you can decide that nothing you are looking at . . . nothing you are experiencing or observing . . . nothing anyone else is saying to you matters as much as how you feel. You can decide that feeling good—or feeling better—is the most important thing to you. And when you decide that, and as you decide, that, you can begin to find the thoughts that feel a little better and a little better and a little better and you can bit by bit, thought by thought, begin to turn in the midst of any malady, any misery, any misfortune, and you can choose relief. You can choose to give your attention to what brings you hope, what brings you comfort, what brings you joy, what brings you appreciation.

And as you turn, bit by bit and thought by thought in the direction of those things that offer you relief, you will immediately feel the response of Source, the response of the you, You really are, flowing back to you, surrounding you in the love and light that never really leaves you, that never abandons you, that is never shut down or switched off except to whatever extent you are refusing to see it.

You can tell yourself any story you want to about how helpless you are or how powerless you are to do anything about what you think is wrong. You have the freedom to tell any story you choose and to live out that story as you see fit. But do not think for one moment that it is anything but a story you are choosing to tell and to believe—and you can choose to tell a different story anytime you want. You can turn any story of pain into a story of healing. You can turn any story of defeat into a story of triumph. You can turn any story of heartbreak into a story of breathtaking and blissful love.

You are that powerful and that beloved. There is no down so low, no down and out . . . no place of no return . . . there is only your choice to see it that way—or to see it as You really know it to be: an endless, gleaming horizon of eternal possibility . . . waiting for you to claim whatever it is you want as you continue to go toward it.


Well, Mary Poppins and her spoonful of sugar sure got nothing on The Team. I can’t think of any sweeter tasting medicine for the powerlessness that sickness so often brings than a healthy reminder of the freedom to tell a well-er story.

It’s pretty easy to pooh-pooh talk of freedom and the power to choose when your belly or your head or your whole body aches. But the beauty of ‘thinking’ you’re down and out is often that you’re willing to try almost anything to feel better—even something as seemingly trite as reaching for a better feeling thought. And then lo and behold, some relief follows. And then you reach for an even better feeling thought—and more relief follows.

Then almost as fast as you can say, supercalifragislistic . . . . you’re feeling a little better. Maybe it’s not movie magic, but there is something magical about the discovery that no matter how down and out I may feel, there is never a point where I can’t snap my fingers and feel my way to a better feeling place. It’s magic that’s real and it’s medicine that’s good for whatever may be ailing.

Knowing that there’s never a time when I don’t have some say in how I feel leaves me with much more hopeful and healing things to say to and about myself. And that leaves me feeling like the road to recovery is right at my feet—and that I’m on way to feeling complete.

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About Dan

Published novelist, poety, essayist, photographer and college educator. Visit me at www.firstadream.com.

Posted on December 9, 2007, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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