In the Life of Pi, the character survived the storm. He survived the pestilence. He survived almost starving to death and survived a tiger. He survived almost losing his mind and was lost, floating atop harsh ocean conditions in an underperforming lifeboat. And yet, when he finally arrived at a safe place, he held on to the boat, as though afraid to let go, fearing that he would get that close to deliverance and drown in six inches of water.
Why is clutching onto the boat in six inches of water seemingly so needed for survival? Particularly now when we have been through so much more. What do you do when the voice of your common sense is not matching your response to the circumstance? When the optics are blurred, and your self-talk seems reasonable but is repeatedly refuted? When those nearest you challenge your intuitions and tell you your thought on the matter is not to be trusted; and then proceed by telling you what is true?
You may have become emotionally exhausted. And though you have overcome the worst of the journey with strength and alertness of mind, now you are whipped, with a self-talking narrative that has you thinking that you’re going to drown, but you’re not. You may think you won’t make it, but you can. You think of yourself as being in danger, but you’re as safe as you will be while living in this dangerous habitat of earth.
These past two years have, in many ways, felt like a social experiment. We’ve been tossed to and fro in a proverbial lifeboat, with no sail with which to direct the wind and a rudder too small to make a difference in such high seas. And now we have a citizenship with attitudes and agendas. We have developed a society of exhausted emotions.
I have learned that when you get tired, you can’t trust how you feel. When your emotions are exhausted, they will send you false signals. They will make you think you are in danger when you are not. They will make you think you cannot trust those you can. They will make you think people hate you when they love you. Emotional exhaustion can make you lash out at people who are really trying to help you, because you have exhausted emotions.
When you get tired, your perception of a given situation is altered. You will be scared when you are safe. When you get tired, you will be holding on to what is familiar and hold on too tightly. As a result, you can make poor decisions from exhausted emotions and take away the pleasure of having survived.
You don’t even have to be able to swim to survive in six inches of water. All you have to do is be able to stand. And if you can stand, you can say to your neighbor, “It’s going to be okay”. Perhaps by your encouragement, he too can “stand”.
Stand up! Stand up!! It’s time to rally your memory of what you have achieved. The battles that you have won, and the Source of your power to win again, and again. Get up! Stand up!! You can get out of the water!!!