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Archive for February, 2017

MR. DEPRESSION. . .

Four days ago Mr. Depression came a-calling.  The door was open, unlocked.  Of course, as always, Mr. D. did not come just for a visit.  His intent, as it has been for more than 55 years, was to stay, make a home for himself – redo the place.  You might ask: Where does he reside when he is not with you?  Well, it depends upon the metaphor I use.

At times Mr. D. resides in the deep, dark woods.  It is a woods that we mere mortals strive to avoid at all costs.  Yet it is a woods that is always nearby; most of the time it is not visible.

At times Mr. D. resides in the deep, dark waters.  The place that even Grendel and his mother would not dare to visit.  This water is also always nearby.  Like the deep, dark woods it too is seldom visible.

Then there are the times that Mr. D. is patiently waiting off-stage.  He is waiting for his cue to move to center-stage and take over the play, re-write it and change the story-line and the ending.

Mr. D. also has another residence.  Geographically and metaphorically, this one is closer than the others.  Mr. D. resides in my psyche – or in my soul, if you will.  This, of course, makes him a permanent resident.  He is my darkness that is the twin to my light.

Why did Mr. D. show up and move in?  The simple answer: I invited him.  Now, you might ask: Why would you do that?  Why did you extend the invitation?  Again, the simple answer is: I chose certain ingredients and when these came together a loud and clear invitation was sent out.

In this instance, two major ingredients were needed and they both emerged at the same time.  At first they were distinctly separate.  Then, almost in an instant, they merged into one.  The invitation to Mr. D. quickly followed.

You might now ask: What were these two ingredients?

One ingredient was ‘Rage Turned Inward’ and the other ingredient was ‘Deep Emotional Pain.’  I understand well each process that ends up with each ingredient in place.

‘Rage Turned Inward’:  Here is the process.  I experience frustration.  Frustration is the feeling that emerges when either I don’t get what I want or when I get something I don’t want.  If I do not attend to the feeling, then my frustration will morph into anger.  If my anger builds then it morphs into rage.  At times I can use the rage-energy in positive ways or I can at least drain enough of it so that rather quickly it dissipates.   If I do not use it productively or if I do not drain it then I will turn it inward.  This process occurred four days ago.

‘Deep Emotional Pain’: When I observe another in pain and when I am fully present at the same time, I will feel pain.  When I observe a number of people in pain within a brief period of time my pain level can increase exponentially.  This process also occurred four days ago.  As a consequence, I found myself in deep, emotional pain.

The two intermingled, I was quickly whelmed-over and Mr. D. showed up.  He and I have been engaged in an intense process since then.  I came close to permitting Mr. D. to stay and redo the place (‘Me’).  But I have enough coping skills and I had enough energy in order to keep moving and keep him off balance.  I awoke this morning knowing that I was close to draining off enough energy.  Within a few hours I asked Mr. D. to pack his bags.  It is now 1:20pm my time on Saturday and I can see Mr. D walking down the path towards the deep, dark woods (which, by the by, I can also clearly see).  He has just paused.  He is looking back at me.  His smile is inviting me to call him back.

Well, not right now Mr. D.  He has turned around and he is now sauntering away.  He is patient – one of his strong suits.  I close the door.  Turn away.  Turn back.  I lock the door.

 

 

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LIVING PARADOX. . .

As I have noted a number of times in previous postings, as a human being when I am at my best I am a living paradox.  I am virtue and vice, I am light and darkness, I am good and evil.  There is another paradox that resides within me – that helps define the ‘Who’ in ‘Who am I?’

This paradox is composed of ‘The Daemon’ and ‘The Resistance.’

My mind, the entity that drives me crazy and makes me special has two distinct parts: ‘The Daemon’ and ‘The Resistance.’

‘Daemon’ is a Greek term (the Romans’ term was ‘genius’ – the Latin plural is ‘genii’).  The Greeks – I just love those guys – believed that the ‘Daemon’ was a separate being living inside of us; it was a person’s attendant, creative, sustaining spirit.  This ‘living spirit’ would strive to express itself – in writing, speaking, art or some other creative endeavor.  When the Daemon decided to show up then great things happened.  When the Daemon decided not to show up or when she was blocked by the ‘Resistance’ then the person was sort of out of luck.

The ‘Resistance’ also lives inside of us.  It spends all of its time seeking ways to insulate the world – and ourselves – from the Daemon.  Why were so many great artists – I am now thinking of E.A. Poe – struggling with mental health issues?  The Greeks would say that mental illness and often physical illness and certainly spiritual illness and intellectual illness (think: writer’s block) were the consequence of the on-going, intense, struggle between the person’s Daemon and the Resistance.

Artistry and Anguish seem to be siblings.  Our creative spirit is nurtured, sustained, and thrives when being fed by our Daemon.  Our Anguish is nurtured, sustained, and thrives when being fed by the Resistance.

‘Anguish’?  Yup.  It is the by-product (consequence?) of the conflict.  My Daemon wants me to become the fully human being I am called to become – which, to say the least, is a risky endeavor.  The Resistance wants me to play it safe; to choose mediocrity.  The Resistance wants me to follow the employee handbook rather than seek to follow the spirit of the handbook (at their best Nordstrom took this seriously and so their employee handbook contained two ‘rules’ – (1) use your common sense; (2) when in doubt, ask).

Our work in life is to allow our Daemon to do its thing and to be awake and aware to the Resistance that is always seeking to stifle our Daemon.  This, of course, is no easy charge.

Every one of us – every single person – has experienced his or her Daemon.  Each of us has at least one time, winged it, invented a way to deal with it, created their way out of it.  If we did it once we can do it again (this is my Daemon writing; my Resistance is not enthralled with this idea).

The Resistance is fear-full.  If my Daemon is released then I will begin to take risks.  The Resistance fears, not failure, but success.  Wisdom figures for thousands of years have reminded us of this.  At times the struggle becomes so intense that we choose to do violence to ourselves – ears will be cut off.  The Resistance reminds us, over and over, that the risk of self-violence increases because of the Daemon.  This, of course, is not true.  The risk of self-violence increases as a consequence of the struggle between the Daemon and the Resistance.  This is also another of those human paradoxes that continue to perplex us.

We all know the Resistance is lurking about.  We’ve all felt it.  Perhaps we were not able to name it (the Resistance does not like to be named for then it can be engaged by the forces of Light).

In each of us, the Daemon exists and so does the Resistance.  Am I willing to silence the Resistance or at least soften his voice and create space for my Daemon to take center stage?  Ah, that is the question.

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