My journey into the abyss started long before I actually realised I was in it. In fact I think most of us born into this 3D reality might feel like we were born into varying shades of grey never mind darkness. Even the deepest black can have tones and shade.
I remember where I was when I heard the term The Abyss without is actually applying to some deep-sea adventure or that 80’s film. I was standing on the balcony of The Boathouse a pub that is no more. In fact, it seems like quite a good place for a story about The Abyss to begin. I do believe it is the only pub that I have regularly drank in where I never made and actual friend.
Which might make it the loneliest bar in Falmouth (no wonder it closed). I did instead though get the thread to the very beginning of this story.
I was having a hard time. One of those times in your life where you are doing everything you can and nothing is working, when you begin to start to feel yourself slipping. You see it’s a subtle feeling to begin with at first. When you begin to break into proper adulting. Get a job, pay your bills, start to make a life, mix it with some adventure and hey presto. Then you realise that degree you worked so hard for wasn’t the solution to everything. That the jobs you are doing are still shit. The office politics is more toxic than the social dynamic of the bar you used to work in and well adulthood is not everything that is cracked up to be. The things you’ve been running from and too seem to be collapsing in on themselves and no amount of sunshine and beer seems to be able to stop it. The dragging was beginning to feel like drowning and relaxing beers were becoming relentless. You wanted to slow down but if you stopped it felt like your life might run you over with the car your were driving; that you would be a mile down the road before anyone had noticed you had been hit by a moving vehicle. Things were out of control and there was no way of stopping the hamster wheel of hell that you had become trapped on. It was no longer the case you had to keep up, it had become an extreme sport of holding on, as one by one each limb broke it was rapidly replaced with a new one. Life was moving at a terrifying pace which was both unfulfilling and fractus as you tried to hold together some kind of idea of what life could or indeed should be like.
It was here in the beginning of this realisation that I met Steve Martin and old school music producer who had moved to the sticks in need of some respite. As he spoke to me and I disturbed the somewhat fragile peace of a beautiful summers evening in a Cornish pub. He leaned into me to listen more intently. ‘Oh’ he says as glimmering of insight settled into his synapsis. “You are in The Abyss, it’s only The Abyss and the only thing you can do when you are in The Abyss is to keep on swimming. You just have to keep on swimming” it seemed so off-hand so impenetrably deep and simultaneously mediocre that I wasn’t sure if I should have bothered speaking at all. Of course curiousness got the better of me. “We’ve all been there” he says as he turns to another punter mate next to him. “The Abyss Pete you been there” and they both rolled off their own version of the infinite darkness that they had occupied in there life for somewhere up to the 10-year mark when the booze, the drugs and the darkness were just a bit too out of hand. That usually ended in some kind of spectacular radical mindset change. “All you got to do is change your mind” Some likely local chipped in and it was there that I felt the depth of The Abyss for the first time. That this was not the end of my painful journey, that in fact it might just be the beginning of the dull ache fo belonging that might never go away, judging by the characters that surrounded me. That maybe this was just a capacity test, to measure your pain threshold, commitment to resilience in this life. That we all ached and even burned with the desire for something better, something different to the crushing system in which we were forced to operate, live breath and play. I didn’t get it then. It would take me a good while longer for it to finally settle in, for now I was in The Abyss and so was everyone round me and we were all in it swimming, insight and out of reach, waiting for a brand new dawn in the murky sinister darkness that enveloped us all. That dominated the innerscape that screamed for the T.V and exploded in the Friday night drunk. All the beautiful ingenious radical people chained to the wheel that was breaking them. If you were awake, the pain was a privilege, the awareness a gift. A happy alternative to the anodyne numbness to the blindly complicit and the toxic destruction that fueled most if not all commerce. It was sickness, nauseating and crippling and yet here we were, standing up sitting down and eating the shit we were selling all for the price of our souls, begging to be broken.
This article was written to accompany the Trauma Wise Circle