I’d love to start with “Pro tip: Do your best not to fall into The Void in the first place!” But, if you could avoid the Void, you wouldn’t need this guide now would, you?
Pro Tip: It’s best to study up on how to survive a fall into The Void, BEFORE you fall into The Void. You won’t find much reading material in there—it is a void after all—and even if there were, trust that you will not feel much like reading up on complex issues at a time like that.
Here’s how it goes down (pun unintended, but remaining unedited): Should you suffer an unimaginable loss, the ground—not the floor— the very Earth below you, is torn away, leaving you in a freefall that feels as if intends to be endless.
There is nothing to hold on to.
Nothing above you, below you, around you.
Blank, black space for as far as you can see.
You clearly can’t fight it so you won’t even try.
You will succumb.
You will think about being scared, but you will realize that you must not truly be scared if you have to consider fear as an option. Deep fear does not reside in the the thoughts. Deep fear arises from the heart and guts. The consideration of fear is purely mental, which is good to realize, because your mind, you can train. You can reckon with your mind. Your heart, well, your heart is another story all together. Try to train your heart, to go against your heart, and it looks up at you like, “Bitch, please.” You will experience many other undesirable feelings, but being scared will not likely be one of them.
You will have seemingly bottomless gut-wrenching grief and sadness. The only way you know there is a bottom is that the enormous knot in your gut surely must signify the end of something. Nothing is getting past that monster, so it must be the end of something—you just won’t know what end it signifies. But there is more: You will have shock. You will have agony. You will have wonder. You will have horror. You will have awe. You will have an inexplicable emptiness. You will have vulnerability. You will have regret. You will have anger. You will have guilt.
I had a shit-ton of guilt.
I had Guilt with a capital G.
But scared? I can’t say I was scared. I was far too consumed with the aforementioned to be scared, I suppose. And what to be scared of anyway? My darling daughter died suddenly, and for no apparent reason. My flesh and blood, part of my heart, is on the “other side” now. The “other side” suddenly doesn’t seem so bad when a person you created from nothing but love has traveled beyond that invisible veil. I no longer fear death. And if you don’t fear death, then all the other stuff you fear is just pigeon shit in comparison. Laughable, really.
So, I wasn’t scared. I’m not scared.
Anyway, you probably won’t be scared, but who knows?
You will continue to fall.
You will stare wide-eyed at your surroundings despite the fact you can’t really make anything out. You will stare in wonder. In awe.
You will feel as if you are traveling through a place, places, no being has gone before.
But surely they have. They aren’t in this particular void, however, so you can’t really ask any questions. They aren’t here. They are either on their ground, or in their own little void. You will wish that you had listened to them more attentively when you were all still standing on the same ground, because maybe something they said could be taken as advice right about now. (Thus, this guide). But you likely won’t recall any advice about the current predicament in which you find yourself, so you will just fall.
Now that you’re thinking of other people, you might wonder, for a moment, if people will judge you for not keeping your feet on the ground, even though you won’t actually care if they do indeed judge you. Again, this train of thought gave itself away as just that—thoughts. It’s a purely mental exercise, and a punishing, ineffective one at that, so you will discard that notion too. No one else is in this particular void, so it’s as good a time as any to try not giving a fuck what anyone else thinks of you. Practice makes perfect, and practicing not caring about what others think is certainly easier when you are alone. You will seize the opportunity. You will feel like you have gained some magic power once you let go of the consideration of judgment. And, in fact, you will have gained some magic power. You will swear to enjoy it fully while it lasts. There little else to enjoy, after all, so you will savor it especially.
You will note that you feel like your heart was literally ripped out of your chest and stars are flying through it while you descend through this black hole. You will also note that this is trippy considering you aren’t on drugs or anything. It will feel like you are on drugs, but the reality of the odd feeling in your heart will be mind-altering enough without chemical enhancements.
You will continue to witness thin blasts of different colored neon lights just soar right through that gaping hole in your chest. It’s so pretty, it will almost make you forget the horrific loss that left the hole in the first place.
You will find respite in that nanosecond that you almost forget. Then you may feel guilt about that near forgetting, especially if guilt is your specialty in the spectrum of negative emotional states.
You will know this with certainty: You don’t fight the heart (bears repeating). Certainty is not easily found at a time like this, so you will doubly commit not to fight the damn heart, which, at this particular moment, means going with the “neon-stars-flying-through-the-giant-hole-in-the-heart” feeling.
You will wonder if there is a bottom.
There will not appear to be.
You will kinda wish you knew if there were a bottom. And how long it would take to get there. It will feel like this fall might not be so terrible if you knew when you would hit bottom. You will feel like this even though you’re pretty sure you’ll die when you DO indeed hit the bottom.
“Just tell me when I’m going to hit bottom and cease to exist,” you will scream into The Void.
But know one will be able to hear you, and they couldn’t answer for you even if they could hear. And, most importantly, you won’t know, because you can’t know.
So, you will eventually accept the fall, for all that it is, and all that it is not.
It is infinite. It is not secure.
It’s sorta the very nature of a fall, of a void, silly.
Except, during most falls, you can see what lies below you. You have the illusion of security in knowing how long your fall will likely take. In the wake of the sudden loss, you cannot see what lies below you. Or even if a “below” exists at all anymore. “Maybe there is no longer a top/bottom/side/side?”, you will wonder.
You just can’t be sure.
You will be left with no choice but to accept the fall, to accept the loss. And this acceptance will feel like another loss, because the grief is all you have left of the one you loved—you love—because, oh, you still love. You will realize that you also have to accept the acceptance of the loss.
So, eventually you will accept it all. You will surrender completely into the void. It’s not so brave as it is necessary, because there is nothing firm to hold on to anyway. In the ultimate oxymoron, you have been forced to willingly surrender.
You will try not to think about that too hard because the last thing you need is another damn existential conundrum clouding your already failing, flailing, judgment.
The surrender will bring a softness. The acceptance will bring a calm security that is pretty surprising; it’s not really what you expect to find on the other side. And tears, so many tears. But the more you cry and survive the tears, the stronger you will feel, and the more concrete your surroundings will begin to appear. You will begin to realize that you are where you have always been, but the intense feelings left you feeling otherwise.
It’s the feelings falling through you, not you falling through the feelings. This is a very important distinction. Don’t forget this. If you ever fall through the Earth for any number of reasons, you may look around to ask someone, “What the hell is going on/how long does this last/is there anything I can DO to stop this?” And when you do, you may find no one that can answer those questions for you. You may harken back to see if anyone has ever said anything to you at anytime that might be helpful. When you are in that place remember: the feelings fall through you, you aren’t falling through the feelings. The more you feel what falls through you, the easier it becomes to allow those feelings to just fall through you, and the less you try to grab—to hold on to—those feelings in order to self-flagellate with them, or wear them as a badge, or use them to hurt others. The more you feel the feels, the more they just fall through you, the steadier you become, and the more defined the Earth becomes beneath your feet.
You just have to stay relaxed and focused—and, dare I say “grounded”— and let those feelings rip right through you. Otherwise they take you with them. Otherwise you can’t tell what’s really you, and what’s just passing through. And you need all of you that you can get right now, because you’re in a crisis, honey. Do what you have to do to keep your physical body as loose, and vulnerable, and soft, and flexible, and relaxed, as possible. That way you can stay you, and the feelings just pass through unimpeded, and, therefore, more swiftly.
You will come to see that you will not die from grief. You will be afraid that you will, but you won’t.
You may even want to, but you won’t. Sorry.
What will get you every time is trying not to feel that which must be felt. You will begin to see that is really is the basis for just about all the problems, including physical problems, that we create for ourselves.
The feelings can just fall though you, see? And no, you may never hit bottom, and no, you will no longer be the person you were before you fell through, and no, there is no security. And when you stop fighting against that, well, then it may sound cliché but it’s true: That is when you are REALLY ready to live. And that is when you will begin to see dry land. And that is when you will relearn how to walk upon it.
How do you fall through The Void? It’s a process, for sure, but finding the end of The Void, comes from letting The Void have its way with you as it passes through you, without expectations. No one can prepare you—not even this joke of a Guide.
A note from the author: If you have experience with voids and think that I’m wrong about all of this, please, don’t tell me just yet. It took awhile to arrive at this place in infinity and I’d like to catch my breath for just a second.