ROUND 7~ EGO Makes a Devastating Comeback – SOUL Steps Back – Bob Marley Makes an Appearance

bridge starsI haven’t written in a while. When ego is running the show, my ability and desire to write gets crushed.  That should be my first clue.

This past week was like that.  One horrific thing after another. One step backwards after another.  I hate that.  The thing is, I need the steps backwards, because without them I would quickly delude myself that I don’t need to work at my emotional and spiritual life, and that i can just coast on what I have learned.

Just like a horse with its convex vision, I need to occasionally step back and take a clearer look at my life and what is in and around it.  I need to be honest with myself and look at what is working and what isn’t working for me.  The hardest things to consider are the situations that are not working or are causing you undue and unnecessary harm and pressure in life.  The second hardest thing to do is to set boundaries, end relationships or make any necessary changes to your current circumstances to allow you different, perhaps more productive and positive choices.  But, then again, any change you make to your life is really a crap-shoot.  We can only do the footwork, and really can expect no outcome, because everything changes so quickly and so seemingly randomly, you just never know.

During my first divorce, I experienced some life threatening levels of guilt. I remember my mother saying in so many words:

“Take the steps, do the footwork and let go of looking back for one year.  Just move forward, with no evaluation.  After a year you can sit down and see if the choices were good for you or bad for you.  If you don’t like how you feel, then you can change it again, because you always have choices“.

You know, I thought I was a pretty smart gal; I have read some books and gone to some good schools. But until that day the sure knowing that I had CHOICES had never really occurred to me quite like it did then.  Before I had felt stuck and governed by the situations that crossed my path. Unconsciously pushed around by life. My life had become one big “red alert”;  always waiting for the next shoe to drop, shrouded in impending doom, looking for a crisis to manage.  And let me tell you, I became an expert crisis manager. I perform fabulously in the midst of chaos.

EGO grows when we manage chaos.  It gives us self-purpose and direction and motivation – chaos takes the focus off of having to look at yourself, and allows you to focus on issues outside of your self. It coats you in the wrong kind of motivation. EGO loves to make us unhappy and depression is its coup-d’etat. EGO’s biggest lie is telling us that we have way more control over things than we do.  SOUL is all about “let go let God”, but EGO only berates and cajoles for not controlling the uncontrollable.  Like the promoter of a big illusion. Consciousness is its mortal enemy I have concluded.  Allowing continued ongoing frustration, feeling less than and being in the midst of a seemingly unmanageable life, will erode anyone’s joie-de-vivre.  Joy and serenity are our birthright, so identifying ego’s pull is our responsibility.

When life is quiet and balanced – SOUL can come into the light stretch her arms wide and expand.  Chaos stops us from being able to hear soul. It takes up the space where she should be.  The ironic thing is that it only takes a moment of knowing where you are and where she is to bring her back into full conscious force.  Everyone has this ability.  Some use meditation to call it back.  Now we are beginning to understand that SOul is available all the time, when chaos isn’t so loud as to obliterate her call.

It’s the quiet times I don’t do well with.  EGO works hard in my head when everything is going well, reminding me that i don’t deserve happiness, that I am less than and shouldn’t even bother trying. The times where everything seems ok and quiet and manageable, peaceful happy and balanced seem to only take up less than 5% of my life.  Even my dreams are insanely chaotic.  I have recurring dreams of always being in natural disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes. and in each on I am saving animals. Tons and tons of animals.  It’s exhausting!

So if your “daily habit” is to be managing chaos, and you get up every morning expecting chaos, I guarantee that you will be given what you are asking for.

It’s an entire other level of understanding to be conscious of a potential habit towards chaos, and consciously allow SOUL the uninterrupted quiet she needs to come forward and take back the helm of your thoughts. When you start to feel like you can accept all of the situations and people in your life, then you know SOUL is coming out to play. When you feel like you can handle the next door bell, phone call or surprise visit – you can be sure SOUL is in charge of helping you live in this moment.  And the fun part is that, you don’t have anything you need to learn. You have everything inside of you that you need to do what you need for today.  Isn’t that great news!  You just have to make the decision that it is the Truth.

SOUL just whispered in my ear – sounding remarkably like Bob Marley;

“I said don’t worry, about a ting. Cause every little thing…is gonna be alright”.

~Namaste~

ROUND SIX: Is it real…or is it memory-X??

Wow…what a weekend.  Spent in a bevvy of community activity. First on Thursday we participated with some friends and neighbours in the One Billion Rising choreographed worldwide flash-mob in opposition to violence against one billion women yearly.  It was a GREAT event. Had a really hard Debbie Allen dance to learn – wow am I ever a bad bad dancer :) No one cared thank goodness.  EGO was a little shy because of my lack of dance-skill…

“What will people think??”, inquired EGO with a small shudder.

“Who cares? Hush up and have some fun for once !” replied SOUL lightly.

So, when the groove picked up, especially outside int he snow and cold, I left EGO in the house and SOUL threw up her arms and stopped caring about what people thought, and just had a great time.celtic-horse-2-by-unionjack04-on-deviantart-d-v-tattoodonkey_com

Then Sunday I had the first chakra retreat on meditation here at my farm.  That’s an interesting time to have to keep your ego in check, because I had to continuously remind myself that we are ALL students and we are ALL teachers.  There are things we learn along the way which we can choose to share, like we do in this one day retreat event. But, my experiences are only really relevant to my learning and growth. If it helps another person, then woohoo, if not, it’s none of my business.

My EGO was in constant check all day. fear that things would not work out as smoothly as they did melted away within a few minutes,a nd suddenly I was sitting with friends and people who are tying to find the same kind of peace I enjoy in my life.  I was really happy to share and have such an awesome day.

Then of course comes my favorite day – Monday. here we go again.  I have a PLAN! I have a drive and purpose  this Monday, so am not so tended towards depression.  So why then have I fought tears all day?  I have no idea.  |everything is great on the outside…maybe it’s the fall after the high of feeling so spiritually connected to the group on Sunday?  Maybe too much relaxing and my body is trained to go on auto-stress?  I dunno.  Not enough chaos maybe, I am trying to create some so I feel more at home in my skin? Or maybe it’s just the chemistry of my brain…

The brain, especially if it suffers from some biochemical disorder, is a really funky thing to get a handle on.  The hardest part about depression is when you aren’t sure if what you are feeling is legitimate, or if it is chemically driven. Is it real…or is it some memory from the past or some sub-conscious (memory-x) thought I don’t even have awareness of, driving my moods into the ground?

I have a fabulous therapist who insisted that everything I felt was authentic, and maybe in a  way she was right, but if where it is coming from has no bearing in reality, then it isn’t exactly a “feeling” as much as a symptom?  I read today that a beautiful young country singer killed herself today. She was only 37 years old and had had many prior suicide attempts and struggle with addiction.  My heart hurts every time I hear of someone giving in to their temporary symptoms.rough day

“This too shall pass”, whispers SOUL gently in my heart.

It’s the end of winter, and I have a ton of people who are struggling with their moods and feeling blue in my life.  When I see them continue on, persevere and come out the other end – I am enlivened and hopeful!

“But I want to tell you how HARD and HOPELESS your life is!” EGO stomps his feet.

“Not today”, SOUL replies. “Go back to sleep”.

SOUL and I will spend today planning our garden and planting seeds of hope :)

~Namaste~

ROUND FIVE~ Ego vs Soul – The Week In My Head

There are certain things I have trained my mind to do.  I am trained like a ninja-commando-marine to hate Mondays.  Not only is hating Mondays part of our subculture agreement, but I just have never adjusted well to the shift in routines between the happy carefree weekend and the quiet work and bad news filled week day.

The only thing that is the same for me on Mondays is the impending doom I awaken with each time. Like clockwork my brain is trained to expect the sinking feeling, each Monday morning.  This is bad because Mondays set the stage for the week. It feels like a day where I don’t quite have my land legs on the weekend ending. My house has gone from insanely busy with kids, people, music and activities, to dead calm and full of work and possibility for disaster.  I become hyper- aware of how loudly my black lab snores in the cavernous quiet of my big old farmhouse.

I have a terrible attitude. Mondays are a day to be diligent and aware.  Kinder than normal to myself even.  They are not a day for big earth shattering life altering decisions.  These are definitely best kept for a Friday I’d say.

EGO and SOUL are each in their own corners.  EGO pouts incessantly while SOUL sits calmly by and observes the maelstrom activity that I seem to be in the middle of.  That seems to be an important difference between Soul and Ego – SOUL does not take actions to demand my attention, she observes uncritically.  EGO on the other hand devotes its time to distracting me and judging each thought or action in a deprecating way. Exhausting.

My mind worries at the beginning of the week – I recognize EGO flexing his muscles trying to get in as much time with me as possible from the start.  Life can change in the course of a day, or a minute. SOUL reminds me that all problems  and challenges are a merely cause and opportunity to practice what I preach.

I look behind me and see Soul and Ego now engaged in a thumb war, initiated our of sheer boredom.  I have filled my time and space with work these past two days- which allows me to ignore them both. But don’t be mistaken, there will be a time where I have to pay the piper.  These things can’t be put aside indefinitely.  I’d like to say I’m beyond paying attention to my EGO at all, but I’m not.

Each day needs some time where we can connect to where we are at, how we are feeling and not just fill our minds and  with work and material “earthly” issues. This is what we call living rather than just existing. It seeks a balance and a real conscious effort at maintaining it. I am very lucky to live in a world that allows me an incredible balance. Being in nature and having at my disposal an incredible herd of horses and friend with whom to commune and share days with, is such a blessing.  I am looking forward to sharing it with other people this weekend.

The first retreat is coming up and it is so well organized and the activities and food so amazing, that I actually wish I were attending rather than organizing it 🙂

For now,  I will take some time with SOUL quietly and put EGO to bed.  I am too tired to deal with tantrums right now.

Peace

SCORE: The judges have declared after much deliberation that the past couple of days have placed SOUL in a very slight lead, barely maintaining her presence in the face of some rather monstrous challenges.  EGO meanwhile has been caught in a backroom shooting steroids – who knows what the future brings!

 

 

ROUND FOUR: THE AWESOMENESS OF NOTHING

ROUND FOUR: The Awesomeness of Nothing

Round four folks –  both EGO and SOUL are having a little nap today.  These are the days when my mind goes to sleep and I celebrate doing NOTHING.  By not trying to do it all,  I feel the quiet hum of peace wash warmly over my chest.  Days like this are important.  We can’t always be ON, even if SOUL is out front.  It is true that when SOUL is out and EGO is not, I am more energize, creative and excited about my life.  But there are times for quiet, for reconnecting inside myself -for DOING NOTHING –  to which I dedicate today.

Doing nothing isn’t as easy as it sounds for some of us. No thinking, no fear, no negative self-deprecating thoughts, no future projecting; it is time for quiet. Shhhh….the world won’t fall apart if you’re not thinking it into the way you believe it should be. bubble-baths-good-for-skin-1

I feel SOUL beside me, like a steady companion, patiently awaiting my attention.  I know the minute I give it to her, in meditation, prayer or creativity,  she will transport me to some other miraculous inspiration.  But for now – just for today, I am peaceful and happy, unafraid and equally unmotivated to do anything but nothing.   It is a day to just BE.

My husband came home the other night to find me sitting in a chair.

He said “what are you doing??” Since he is use to seeing me either springing into action or laying half dead with exhaustion.

“I am just doing nothing”. I smiled at him.

” Are you ok? What do you mean “nothing” did something happen?” his questions come at me in a concerned barrage of machine-gun fire queries.

I smile at how much he loves me.

“I mean, I am sitting here, and not meditating, not praying, not thinking – not nuthin…I am doing NOTHING”.

He looks a little baffled, but shuffles out of the bedroom leaving me for my five more minutes of mandatory nothing.

04_rider_on_the_stormBeing overly active in our lives gets to be a bad habit. It creates chaos. You train yourself and those around you to become habituated to constant motion, thought activity and action. NO one can sustain this their entire lives!  The body has to rest, and if you’re like me, even sleep isn’t rest.  I travel, save animals, put out fires, handle floods, fire, famine…craziness. My sleep is better than TV.  Last night I had meteors raining down on the farm and I was saving children and dogs.  Sleep is not restful for me.  I think SOUL has a whole other life going on while my body is asleep.  Then when I am awake, even if my body is still, I think. I think and think and think about everything. I realize that if I’m thinking about a thing it doesn’t actually mean I’m doing something about it, right? Wow…only took me half a century for that one.

From my waking moment to the minute I put my head down to sleep, inevitably, I am active.  I am fixing solving, planning, doing, running.  I get up and go…and go,…and go. It’s a bad habit borne of being raised in a  family that put a high value on how active you were.  If you were doing – then you were useful. Not doing meant laziness, to which few sins could compare.  Breaking bad habits takes conscious decisions to make a different choice about what to do with the minute you are existing in right now.  Becoming aware of the [patterns and habits we are taught from infancy, the most pervasive of which are the ones which are not spoken, but exemplified, is a part of growing up and becoming your own person.  

This kind of programming had me believing that if I wasn’t like a “June Cleaver” 50′s mom, while I was upholding a  singing career, running a barn full of horses and managing my home – then I was a failure.  Stopping and doing NOTHING helps me realize how wacko this kind of unconscious thinking can make me.

I fight the habitual urge to get up and do laundry, read a book, clean a floor or yell at my teenagers for making another catastrophic mess in the living room.   I instead  choose not to care for that moment, simply not to care. The mess will still be there, the bills will (unfortunately) wait for me to struggle to pay for them.  I can just be for a while. When thoughts of worries, unpaid bills, how will I handle next week, what is going to happen to my mom…stuff…came up in my mind, I just reminded EGO that for a little while, we were just going to do NOTHING.  I reminded myself that the world would not fall apart if I wasn’t directing traffic for fifteen minutes.

I am not meditating.  Meditation holds within itself another kind of intention; purpose to reconnect to our spiritual energetic centers. I’m not looking to do anything that fancy right now.  I am doing nothing. and when I am compelled to do something, I once again give myself permission to be slack, loose and I fall easily into peace.

I stand up renewed and ready for the next leg of my day.  I feel my shoulders softer, my belly less tense and my smile comes more easily and less contrived.  I could get used to this “doing nothing”.  Try it – I promise you’ll like it.

~Namaste~

UPDATE: The past four rounds have been up and down. Ego wining the first round clearly, SOUL making a slow but steady come back. EGO could make a come back next week as real life events and stress management become of key importance.  I will need SOUL to be rested and ready to come out fighting…on Monday.  For now, our score remains at: EGO – 1 SOUL 3

ROUND 3: SOUL vs EGO

Well folks, we are approaching the critical third part of our Ego vs Soul Winter 2013 Match of the century. They were really duking it out today. Ego sprung out of nowhere when someone offered me the MOST AMAZING project on the planet, and I have suddenly become mute and unable to write anything or create anything to give to her in a proposal tomorrow.

This is the mostly absurdly perfect job ever.

Let me start at the beginning.

One of my kids has a friend who has started doing barn work for me.  He attends an alternative school for kids who don’t manage well n the traditional system. I think these school are amazing, and one for the few institutions that actually try to create personalized programs for children to build on personal strength and capacity rather than making them fit into a preformulated model of education originally conceived during the industrial revolution and which has barely been updated since the early 1800’s, it seems.

So, his school gets in touch with me and wants to attach the work he is doing with me to his apprenticeship requirement for graduating high school. Basically, if he works well enough and responsibly, then he gets four extra credits to contribute to graduating from high school Wow! What a great chance for everyone!

So the school case worker came to meet me and check out the farm. Of course, the way it is when the universe lines up something very cool for you, it was one synchronicity after another.

We talked about the school and her work.  The alternative programs works with kids who otherwise would not have graduated from high school. In general the kids who go to these schools are nice kids. Maybe with a history of physical or drug abuse, maybe mental illness or some form of physical or mental challenge that doesn’t allow them to complete high school in the regular system. The ones that don’t suffer from some sort of congenital condition, generally are nice kids with nice, sometimes (but not always) troubled families who live in the suburbs. They play soccer when they are little, and grow up being given everything because These are our lost kids. They are the ones with two working parents, maybe a little too much financial stress at home. Mid life crisis hits, and bang, 50% of marriages go belly up because we haven’t taught anyone how to deal with the fact that life is FULL of misery and tragedy , but you DON’T have to let it crush you.

I have to also give credit to these kids, because for many of them, there is a general sense in the adults around them that they are hopeless. They have bad attitudes and this sense of strange entitlement that makes them often irritable and obnoxious to deal with. In other words, it is my experience that these are not teacher’s favourite kids, and in the regular system, they would rather “weed out” the trouble makers, and send them into the alternative system.

So, the potential job I was offered , was to create a program for teaching kids about spiritual and energetic living. WOW!  teaching kids who don’t feel a lot of hope and don’t have the tools  and skills to deal with the inevitable difficult times in life to handle things and see things in a  different way. teaching them to prioritize themselves and not blame others.  To focus on what they do have control over, not what they don’t. Helping them to realize when they are acting in fear and turn that into courage.

I mean, the potential is ENDLESS!!  I can’t imagine all of the important things I would include in such a program.  I have always thought about this…and here it is. Wow.

My focus is always on suicide prevention, because it is a topic that has touched my life in so many ways.  I think the fact that 850,000 people kill themselves each year is one of the most horrible things I have ever learned, and I intend to try to dispel the myths and bad attitudes regarding mental illness in my lifetime in some way.  If we aren’t ashamed of being depressed or having whichever symptom causes us pain, then we are more likely to reach out for help. Many of these deaths are preventable by the simplest idea of creating a situation where a person is more self-aware and feeling inherently purposeful in their life.  people need to have a life outside of themselves.  They need to feel like they are contributing something good and positive to the world.

Simply put; people who feel a purpose and a sense of acceptance don’t kill themselves.  Teaching them how to deal with emotional reactions, and what the difference between depression and a bad day is something that should have been integrated into our learning systems decades ago.  But here it is, and I am so happy to have the chance to maybe become a part of it.

OK – all that optimism…that is SOUL talking. She is just so excited and motivated.  Sending ideas into my consciousness, I feel restless and excited to start working on this right away.

Then I hear a door creak open, and in the hallway I am standing waiting to see which  door I will choose, I hear the sound of footsteps behind me.  It is EGO. I know without even turning around.

I hear a sharp intake of breath and then a sigh

“You know you’re not really capable of  doing this”, he says. “Why bother trying”. I hear a sardonic smirk in his voice.

Yah, that is what worked with me in the past, but not this time buddy.

I remain silent.  I have learned that in times like these, when EGO is on the defensive/protective to just be quiet and listen; I take a breath and remind myself not to take it too personally.

“Fuck off”, I whisper a little too loudly.

Self awareness can bite sometimes.

I know enough now that when a possibility of something so spectacular enters my life, in the past, EGO has won, and I have found a way to destroy it, walk away from it, screw it up or just change directions in mid-stride completely ignoring it.  EGO wants to stay in control and if I am following my life’s necessary path of joy and bliss and using what God gave me to be a part of this life – someone who makes it better or helps people understand more, EGO looses its power over me. It’s always been a power struggle. But if I did this course, wow…I think I would not have one regret possible in my life.  Because my greatest and probably only regret in life  would be that I had not ever pushed any of my human creative potential to the limits to see what could happen.  I had never lived bravely.

cheval%20chamanLast night I pushed some big limits; and EGO suffered. It felt great. Free, relaxed and uncritical of myself. That’s when I really know I have scared EGO away – when I don’t hear anything negative about myself. This positive mind sets me on fire and I love playing music in this state.

Today, I simply had to acknowledge EGO – trying to tell me I wasn’t enough – for such an amazing potential project with the teenagers. Of course I am enough. We are all made to be doing exactly what is in front of us. Even in my greatest moments of doubt, I have learned to never question that where I am is where I am meant to be.  All those questions are not from my certain sense of self, but from the part of my mostly inactive left brain that asks unanswerable questions and creations unimaginably disastrous scenarios for me to watch over and over again.  But just like in a movie theatre, once you realize what is real and what is not real, the lights go on and the movie fades into the background.

I will continue to be brave now.  It’s harder in the winter – but as I told my daughter today, I am going to have a plan now. A desire. A Wish. An ambition. Wow. Even goals.

It will be a thin line for me to walk between wanting a potential outcome, and dwelling on it and becoming attached to it.  It’s more of a process of doing the footwork, having a loose plan, and following th yellow brick road of intuition, coincidence and synchronicity.  That’s what we call taking a physical action to allow a Higher Power to be in charge of a choice or course of action. So many years of raising children, I never really planned for myself. Only for the group. It is really a strange shift of focus.  I feel awfully self-centered at times – but the results are good. I am more happy, excited balanced and forward thinking in my life. I am proactive and I don’t last in depressions as long, although especially this winter, they have been frequent in their visits, I try to pay as little attention to them as possible.

So, Miracles continue to unravel and I am reminded we are always where we are supposed to be – even when it is SO unlikely! I am not a doctor. I’m not even a teacher, but I have found myself teaching high-school many times. I’m pretty sure it’;s part of what the universe intends for me. I can;t seem to get away from it (not that I wanted to).

So, with this news, SOUL was VERY happy!! Ideas started pouring into my head. I almost cried when she suggested it. What an AMAZING opportunity.

Ah, but where is EGO, you may now be asking yourself.energy clearing  painting

Well, what happened was, when EGO felt the first shining rays of SOUL’s joy, he (ego is male for me…sorry guys. No generalization or insult intended. 🙂 pulled out his old sure-fire weapon – self-doubt.

TEACHER??

I’m not a teacher. But I am. I mean – doing that kind of job feels so incredibly natural to me. But it’s not what I went to school for.

HUGE WORK TO DO…ugh.peace-quote

I can’t translate the entire thing overnight (that’s a longer story than I will tell, but everything in this province has to be done in both french and english. A proposal to the school board included.

What I found interesting is that my book that I began writing so many years ago, suddenly is coming in useful, when I had long ago put is aside as irrelevant and not good enough (another one of EGO’s little outings in my head). It’s always about worthiness…

So, I’d say just because I took the time to understand what was stopping me…I think EGO had to take a little step back and have a nap.  Awareness is like a flashlight…and ego is a cockroach.

Ego – Ziperonee SOUL – ONE!

Nice job!

ROUND 2: EGO vs SOUL

So, we are up to round two of Ego vs Soul.  I am happy to announce that after an awesome night of music, where I was forced again by circumatances to surrender, Ego went to sleep and Soul came out with miracles and magic!cropped-n624896475_1820149_5563023.jpg

We arrive at the venue, which I figure on a Wednesday night will hold about 8 people.  But I forgot…hockey is back.  There were three hundred people there. We had never played together, had no set list and basically were going to have to rely on my hippy folkie guitar basics for dummies.  Oh Boy.

I panicked. My bass player says he has chest pains and is looking around wild-eyed. My harmonica player, who has never played with the bass or guitar player, says “I’d better take allll my harps out”, because we have no clue what we’re doing. The guitar player, who is the nicest teddy bear of a guy you have ever met, says “Let’s just have fun!!” he was right. and we did.

We played between periods of the game – Montreal vs Bruins. Playing music in a bar on hockey night in Montreal has its special challenges. a) don’t interrupt the game and b) cheer up the crowd when the other team wins (which they did…bah), c) remember that just for the sake of tradition and rivalry…Montreal hates Boston. Remind the audience of this frequently. It makes them cheer.

The guy who picked up my djembe and kept a great rhythm the entire night (act of God…we had no drummer)…was celebrating his birthday and was wearing a Boston hat and tee-shirt. Almost a life threatening thing to do in Montreal. Brave soul. A few folks at the table in front of us came up and played joyful music. They were incredibly good and we had too much fun.

So – my dear Soul completely took over the performance, and ego went to sleep. I got up on stage, looked at the huge crowd, and just turned it over. That’s what you do when you have no other choice. One song after another rolled out of my guitar, George on guitar beside me, able to fit into whatever I played. It all felt like magic. ego-soul-article

So, 1 point for SOUL!! woohoo!! Keep up the good work 🙂 Creativity is MUCH more productive when I am not focused on self self self. Ego ego ego.

Today is a day for resting all my 2000 parts…I’m exhausted. Anyone want to come clean some horse poopie stalls?? It ain’t gonna be me today. 🙂

~Namaste~

Follow your bliss!

ROUND 1 ~ EGO vs SOUL

imagesCA5RDS46How’s your winter going? I’m pretty much hating it all.  I am quiet and tired and often finding myself a little depressed.  I dyed my hair sexy red today…thought doing something about the outside would help.  ANd I did feel better.  You can’t feel completely bad with good hair right? But then, knowing that I felt better made me feel that I must be shallow lol.  Oy…ya just can’t please some people

So, I call this winter the holy war between my ego and my soul. To be honest, I’m not sure who is winning at the moment.  I have fleeting crises of faith that make my brain feel disconnected and misused. Mostly, I’m just trying to get through each day.  It seems it has been all bad news lately, and frankly, I don’t care how hippy Buddhist spiritual I am– anyone would shudder under this weight, quite frankly. I have this terrible thinking learned over years of surprise disasters, which makes me see things as unrolling always negatively and disastrously in the future…impending doom,  I carry it around every single minute of the day.  Then at some point, impending doom (life’s imagined dramas) and real life collide – and I am hopeless beyond reachable. The roller coaster is a little exhausting if you ask me.

ENLIGHTENMENTSome would say Buddhism would do me some good.  Most importantly, the concept of dissociation and detachment.  You stop identifying everything as right and wrong, because this is a judgement you are making, and really since you don’t know the entire past or future of humanity, you can’t really know if anything is “good” or “bad”.  So, each life event is viewed as, quite simply, a life event. That’s easy to say when you’re not depressed though. When you’re in the thick of it, there is no such reasoning happening in your brain.  It’s a terrible place to be.  Having someone tell you to just “try harder” or “think differently”, really doesn’t help either. < div>It’s bad enough that the feelings are so inexplicable that you are busy invalidating your self, but to have someone else invalidate you further, isn’t helpful to the person with depression. I have taken meds for this extreme fluctuating of my moods in the past, but over time I came off of the plethora of shit they had me on.  I have to say, that over the past few years the thawing process has been excruciatingly painful, interesting and challenging.

And please don’t think I have any opinion AGAINST meds…I certainly do not.  I believe they saved my life for a period of years, and I am forever grateful to people who researched a took depression seriously enough to create what they believed was a solution.  But mostly I think there is a  time an da place for everything, and everything changes all the time. Not being on the meds made a huge difference in my life. roseSome aspects were challenging.  The feeling of being out of control, or not understanding the strength and level of my emotions, because of course the meds diminished the size of feelings to make everything more “manageable”.  My doctor explained that they would enable me to “work within the lines”. Wow. I can’t believe I ever thought that was a good idea. I felt more awake, aware and creative within a few weeks of weaning myself off very slowly.   But, the problem with the way we treat mental illness is we always fast track it.  They send you to a psychiatrist who doesn’t want to hear anything about you really past the basics, then he writes you a prescription or three and makes the next appointment.  I remember interrupting my own psychiatrist once as he was busy telling me about his luxurious wine tasting trips on bicycle to the swiss alps, and I said,

“Do you think I should see someone to try and figure out why I FEEL like this all the time?”  he gave me a small deprecating look and jotting down the names of two or three people, and they were either so expensive it was prohibitive, or they didn’t speak english.  Lovely .As time went on I slowly bwriting-on-paperegan to wean myself off the meds as they had for all intents and purposes ceased to function properly for me, but had in fact begun creating WORSE symptoms of the diseases they had diagnosed me with.  I made my decision to try stopping the meds when on two occasions I hallucinated.  I was not impressed.

I found other methods of self discovery, like journalling, writing, sketching, meditation, yoga, african drumming – anything I could get my hands on to find out more about myself.  I took it on  mostly like a treasure finding expeditiion when I was ina  good frame of mind.

This self discovery often requires that we understand the deep impact our past situations have had on us.  How have the impacted how you see the world and how you make decisions? Without this kind of introspection, a human life is mostly wasted and robotic.  Eventually did find a psychologist who was perfect for me and she helped take my understanding and expanding interests up a few notches.   A good therapist I believe , is one who gives you a safe and supportive method of finding the answers yourself.  It has to be an empowering experience.

Some great things happened once I got off the drugs.  The first and most important is that I became aware that no drug in the world would work if I did not take responsibility for my feelings , reactions and thoughts.  I couldn’t anything on missing  a pill or the leveling off process that occurs when your body begins to acclimatize to having these chemicals added to it.  I became more aware of myself.

I paid closer attention to my reactions.  Through various teachers that began to cross my path in remarkably synchronous ways, I began to learn how to observe myself rather than jump into it all with both fists swinging.  I now cherish this sense of peace and balance more than I need chaos and drama. This was a HUGE change in me. One which could only have come about through the diligent peeling back of multitudes of layers of denial and misunderstanding about myself and my role in the events that have shaped my life.

Buddhism was and is appealing.  Even when I am in a crisis of faith, Buddhism rests more on logic rather than blind faith…and sometimes all I can mange is to hold on to what it black and white and deliciously earthly and easy for my little mind to absorb.  Sometimes we all get a small mind.

And yet with all this KNOWLEDGE….the winter feels almost impossibly difficult for me this year. NO ONE  can THINK their way out of human experience.

So, I am watching these awesome people in my family rise above themselves during this experience of my mother’s cancer, and I am so moved. But I have learned in these 46 short years here, that the universe waits for no one, and the motion forward of life is not contingent upon my ability to handle it.  Buddhism is a good idea – because it stresses having fewer “ideas”. Fewer opinions. Forgive more, judge less.  I think we could all use a little more of this in our lives.

So, that’s how my winter’s going.  I call it the battle between my ego and my soul.  Every other part of me feels like it’s in a holding pattern, waiting to see which end I will come out on.  But frankly, I should remind myself that it isn’t the destination that counts, it’s the journey. And the journey is right now, right here – in the cold dead of winter.

~NAMASTE~

FIGHT UPDATE: So who’s winning?  Right now I’d say Ego is up on Soul.  But I’m sure Soul will make her valiant come back any time now.  Stay tuned …