Finding Peace When the Bottom Drops Out of Your World

Finding Peace When the Bottom Drops Out of Your World

By Catherine C. Bastedo

Have you ever felt your world was spinning out of control? That your feet barely touched the ground? 

It can be terrifying. 

When I was a teenager, every summer my girlfriends and I went to the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition) in Toronto and rode the scariest rides, including the petrifying Giant Rotor. This was a large, upright barrel that rotated faster and faster, until at full speed, 33 revolutions per minute, the floor retracted. We were then stuck to the wall of the drum, suspended with the ground far below! At the end of the ride, the drum slowed down, and as gravity took over, we gradually slid down the wall and our heartbeats came back to normal. 

For many of us, there are periods in our lives that can seem like that. When my 17-year-old nephew went body surfing in a river one fine August day and was caught in an undertow, the bottom fell out of my world. Inexplicably, this happy, athletic, handsome young man was gone. 

During the recent Covid period, loss of work, ill health, poor or inexistant relationships, and grief brought on similar worries and tensions.

Stress and strain can create toxins that affect our health on all levels—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Our world can seem like a wild, unmanageable place. Sometimes, in an effort to forget, we resort to alcohol, drugs, overeating, or addictive behaviors such as blame, poor relationship choices, overworking, or shutting ourselves off from the world. We may not even realize we have developed bad coping patterns, and if we do, change can be difficult. 

If your life feels out of control, what practices do you use to restore yourself? In my case, Reiki, walks in the woods, meditation, and yoga all helped. I was muddling along in a destructive work environment where my colleagues were constantly in tears and seeking my help. Eventually I realized I could no longer deal with my own buried stress, as well as other people’s problems!

One week, three people mentioned Reiki to me, so I thought, there must be something in this. I discovered that Reiki is a spiritual energy that helps facilitate the elimination of toxins and the promotion of health and wellness by correcting any imbalances of energy. I looked up the local school board offerings, and out of the norm, someone was offering a first level Reiki class at a reasonable price. There was one spot left! I decided to give it a go and that was the start of my healing path.

A few years later, when a young colleague suddenly died on a business trip, I thought, life is fragile… what should I be doing right now? And the answer came like a bolt of lightening, more Reiki! I had been dabbling in various forms of energy work searching for answers. Now it was time to really study Holographic Reiki, Sekhem-Seichim Reiki, Jikiden Reiki, and Holy Fire® III Karuna Reiki®. I learned how to clear accumulated stress by being honest with myself and others. Instead of saying, just fine, if my partner asked how I was, I could tell the truth! Junk that I did not even know I carried around slid off my shoulders. The Reiki principles of Just for today I will not anger, Just for today I will not worry, I am grateful, I work hard, and I am kind became my morning and evening mantras. This led to meditation and longer walks in the woods. Attuned to nature since my childhood, I became more aware of the birds and animals around me, the changes in the seasons, the beauty of the outdoors.

Over time, I found that when strangers told me their stories, I could listen and empathize without picking up their stress. Beautiful synchronicities started happening—people showing up when I needed them, phone calls at the right time, books passed to me with the wisdom I needed. When my sister passed away from cancer, I became a Reiki volunteer to cancer survivors, and my life was enriched by their strength and their stories. I started writing, teaching, and holding retreats. I developed a Reiki Master program based on the various courses I had taken and my own experiences. 

Then all my background and practices came together in the creation of a deck of meditation cards based on birds and their spiritual guidance. Inside my Bird Vibes Meditation Cards, there is a picture of an American Woodcock with the message: “Learn from Adversity.” This bird, a bit smaller than a pigeon, launches itself into the air and then makes a steep dive downwards in an aerial display to court his mate. And then he does it again. What an image for the spiral of life! The message on the cards says, “If you feel close to rock bottom, remember you, too, can rise. The journey may bring a new perspective.”

What are you facing right now in your life? Are you carrying around too much stuff, whether yours or from others? Do you have any practices that help? It may be time to reflect, to take your courage in hand and do a little soul-searching, or perhaps time to let go of any patterns that no longer serve you and find a new perspective. Ground yourself. Try meditating. Ask for help and guidance from your Higher Self, from the Source energy in us and around us. Ask yourself what lessons you are meant to learn and how best to move ahead. 

When your world is spinning, and you think the bottom has fallen out, go within to find your center and your place of peace. 


Catherine C. Bastedo has taught Reiki at all levels, led workshops and retreats, volunteered as a wellness coach and Reiki practitioner for cancer survivors, and sat on the board of a nonprofit organization devoted to women’s health. She practices yoga and meditation, teaches Reiki, and writes online articles related to complementary health. Catherine spent her childhood in northwestern Ontario, obtained her MA in Canadian Studies, and now lives in Gatineau, Quebec. She enjoyed a career at a senior level with the Canadian government and then was executive director of an international nonprofit that promoted and supported Canadian studies, before turning to her writing and energy work. She loves spending time with family, being outdoors, and traveling, and is always curious to learn about the flora and fauna of other countries, especially the birds! Learn more about her work and the Bird Vibes Meditation Cards at