The Deeper You Dive, The Higher You Rise

“The cave you fear holds the treasure you seek." - Joseph Campbell

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The gap between where you are and where your being yearns to be can seem impossibly big. You may look around at your life now and think, “How the hell will I ever get there?”

Been there. The first few decades of my life were a total shit show: sexual abuse, domestic violence, a suicide attempt, multiple bankruptcies and more failed businesses than I could count. Like most of us do, I searched endlessly outside myself for success, thinking that if I could just “make it,” life would magically turn around.

Spoiler: It didn’t. It took learning to look within to transform my life from the inside out — and years of deep inner work, therapy and medicine journeys. And let me tell you: To crawl out of some of the deepest shit you can be in as a human and create a life beyond your wildest imagination, you have to go deep. You have to get really real with yourself about what you’ve been up; you’ve got to take a long hard look at how you’re living and the part you’ve played in creating all of your life’s experiences.

And the truth is, it won’t always be easy or enjoyable. I’ve personally done years and years of workshops, inner work, hallucinogenic journeys, somatic therapy, EMDR, hypnosis and other modalities; certainly more than my 10,000 hours worth. There was plenty of crying and screaming and hitting pillows with a tennis racket in therapy (I still do that sometimes, actually!). There were many sweaty, uncomfortable conversations, the kind we usually try with all our might to avoid. Once you reach a point of no longer being able to continue with the way you’ve been living, you have to bite the bullet and face them.

What I know is that to truly transform your life, you have to be willing to dive deep. The depth in which we dive is the height in which we rise, meaning that the more raw and real you’re able to get with yourself, the bigger potential for transformation. In my experience, the deeper you dive and the more layers you peel back, the more freedom you’ll find — and once you get a taste of that, you can never go back to living with blinders on.

In order to create a life you truly desire, you also have to be willing to destroy the shit that isn’t working. So many of us avoid looking within to do this work because we’ve been programmed to stay safe and small within our comfort zone. So instead of risking failure by pursuing our dreams, we stay for years at a job we’re not passionate about but pays well, a relationship that doesn’t satisfy our soul but that is stable, or a persona we’ve been playing that no longer fits us. We avoid feeling our feelings at all costs through distractions, medications and/or addictions — whether it’s overworking and hustling, social media and external validation, alcohol or drugs or even spiritual bypassing and hiding behind a mask of fake positivity.

People often choose to stay stuck because they want to avoid the discomfort and pain that comes along with big, world-shaking change. We’re addicted to not wanting to feel discomfort, so we suppress those feelings until something radical and shocking forces us to move. That’s why people so often have wake up calls that show up in the form of a divorce, a bankruptcy, a major illness or something else extreme. Trust me, I know all about that — and if you know you want to shift your life, get a move on now instead of waiting for that catastrophe to strike! Deciding to make a radical change isn’t comfortable, but it’s a necessary step to get to the other side of where you want to be.

We all have our own mountain to climb, and I actually believe the harder life you’ve had and the more challenges you’ve had to face, the more opportunities for real change you have. Painful or difficult experiences that shake us to our core can be the most transformative; it could be childhood trauma, divorce, family violence or any number of other tough experiences. Those things we perceive as bringing so much negativity into our lives can actually be transformed into an equal amount (or more) of positive energy if we’re willing to dive deep to discover the root of them.

When you become a curious observer of your own life; everything that happens to you is an opportunity for learning and growth. I just went through a major heartache, and because of the depth I dove — back through my marriages, all the way back to my relationship with my father — I was able to recognize my patterns, shift them and begin rebuilding from a completely different place.

If we can be brave enough to go into the darkest, scariest parts of ourselves that need healing the most, THAT is when we can reemerge to find true transformation and liberation. So let’s cut the bullshit and stop with the small talk. Let’s ask the hard, deep, intimate questions — of others, and of myself. It’s time for us to radically change, to break down all the old systems that aren’t working… to destroy so we can rebuild.

If you’re truly committed to your own evolution and transformation, if you’re tired of the way you’re living and ready to get real, get your wetsuit on and get ready to DIVE. Let go of the old and welcome the scary and exciting new life that’s emerging. As Joseph Campbell said, “The cave you fear holds the treasure you seek.” What have you got to lose?

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