Swimming in the Deep End


In memory of my Buddhist friend, Miguel, who died on Valentine’s Day.

“It is often said that in today’s modern and postmodern world that the forces of darkness are upon us. But I think not; in the Dark and the Deep there are truths that can always heal. It is not the forces of darkness but of shallowness that everywhere threaten the true, and the good, and the beautiful, and that ironically announce themselves as deep and profound. […] It is an exuberant and fearless shallowness that everywhere is the modern danger, the modern threat, and that everywhere nonetheless calls to us as savior.” ~ Ken Wilber, “Sex, Ecology, Spirituality”


These days, if I am being honest, it’s hard to not want to opt for the toddler pool version of life.

Aren’t we all feeling the pull of nap-time versus crap-time? Zoning out and slathering one’s sorrows in grilled cheese and a large glass of vino sounds pretty good right now.

So much for my productive life.

Our desire to check out (mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually) in the face of the tidal wave of problems about to hit our shores is, at best, a bad idea — and, at worst, catastrophic.  If there were ever a time when we needed to actually engage with life, now is it.


Because — collectively — humanity is like a frog that’s been placed in a pan of warm water on a stove, readying to boil. If we acclimate to the warming water (instead of immediately jumping out) we will be cooked. We will be signing off on our own funeral.

We are at a real crisis point.

This longing to check out — to live only on the surface of things — will kill us if we don’t wake up. If we don’t start to notice the terrible damage we are inflicting on the world, we can kiss everything — and everyone we know and love — goodbye.



Coal ash spills. Blizzards. Ice storms. Ruptured oil pipelines. Polluted water. Blackened rivers. Dead fish and poisoned wild life. Increasing drought. Forest fires.

You may find yourself wondering: What on earth can I do? I am just one person. How can I possibly make a difference?

Pay attention. Deal with discomfort. Do the work. Awaken.

We’ve been sleepwalking for long enough.


Become a deep sea diver…

The answers lie buried inside us. The world we see simply reflects that reality.

Each one of us has that capacity to become a person who can automatically manifest what we need. We have the inherent ability to revolutionize our lives.

By doing so — by stepping up and taking on that mission — we will affect others and their ability to do the same. Doing our own spiritual work functions like a flat stone skipping on still water. The ripples reverberate outward endlessly.

The question is, will we do it?

Right now, we consume rather than create. We compete rather than collaborate. We see ourselves as separate from our environment instead of as a tiny, silver thread in a colossal, living tapestry.

We couldn’t treat the world the way we do if we understood that everything above us, and everything beneath our feet, is our kin.


“I must be a mermaid… I have no fear of depths, and a great fear of shallow living.” ~ Anais Nin

Although the deep end of the pool of life likely harbors monsters, sea urchins, and jelly fish whose sting could incapacitate us, we must opt for a deep life. That is the only choice.

Living Out Loud

I came to this world to live: loudly, flamboyantly, openly. I want a life that tastes of persimmons and pomegranates, lemons and rosemary. I don’t want to skim the surface of decades of beige. I don’t want to live in quiet desperation (like so many do) obliterating my unhappiness with alcohol or food or drugs. I am not a tract home in a row of little boxes on the hillside. I was born to stand out, to shout hosannas, and to live the life I promised to live before I was ever born.

(And Here’s the Thing. So were you.)

If you’re like me, you want to taste everything you can; you want to sing and marvel and discover coral the color of sunlight growing on the ceiling of an underwater cave. You want to bring light to wherever you go. You want to dance with trumpeting elephants and scoop up a sea of stars.

You see, we know we are inexorably linked to this luminous planet. Whether others believe that or not, we know we are.

These days I pray we will all finally see how interconnected things are. I fall to my knees and bow my head, hoping against hope, we will love the earth in time to save her.

© 2014  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

Feel free to share this post with others, as long as you include the copyright information and keep the whole posting intact.

If you like this piece please share it with others.  You can like me on Facebook to see more information about my writing and my spiritual journey.

2 thoughts on “Swimming in the Deep End

  1. Reblogged this on THE COMPASSIONATE LIFE and commented:
    I am reblogging a post from one I read called Falling Into Wonderland by Shavawn M. Berry. It hits the nail on the head: the threat to the world today is nott evil as much as shallowness, the threat of a world in which we simply don’t step up to the plate and really pay attention, get involved, take the first step, BE the change we want to see. (I especially love the quote from Anais Nin: “I must be a mermaid . . . I have no fear of depths, and a great fear of shallow living.”) Hope you enjoy it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s