“Something’s missing. The world is meaningless and I feel encompassed in fear. I’m stuck in the sounds and syllables of my story and everything is shifting beneath the veil of my good intentions. I’m in trouble. Help me continue to want to live. How can I burden my beloved family much longer?
These were my words…written long ago. I came across them browsing through my old journals searching for an inkling of wisdom or source of inspiration to help someone I care about. Instead, I discovered my own desperation; my own call for Love.
I realize now how fortunate I was to have been immersed in that transformative place, lost in the dark spaces of my vulnerable being. It was there I unveiled the flickers of faith and strength I needed to illuminate my own state of torment. It was then I found an opening to the immense presence within that guides us out of the depths of our illusions and into the vortex of our powerful potential. And it is now that I feel re- ignited, by the flames of deep compassion, respect and understanding for anyone awakening to the call of depression. To answer this call is to rise above the pain of the world…and when we do, the world has a way of changing us, taking us out of some ancient and ancestral emotional undertow.
There was a case study that I read about a few years ago (Mark Bekoff: The Emotional Lives of Animals) which completely transformed my own misperceptions of profound loneliness. This documentary monitored the lifestyle and welfare of a group of apes in Africa. A small number of them had been diagnosed, through an array of clinical observations, with depression. These misfits wouldn’t eat very much, did not mingle with the other primates, nor try to engage in what appeared to be an enthusiastic involvement in monkey business. The study revealed an unusual experiment to determine what kind of impact the removal of the “depressed” apes would have on the remaining apes in the colony. After 6 months the primates were brought back to the colony. The resulting discovery was highly unexpected…if not shocking. All the apes that had previously inhabited the small colony were dead. The depressed apes were evidently the guardians of the community, the sensitive alarms to the arrival of danger and the intuitive protectors of the families. They ultimately had a vital role to uphold and the community could not survive without them.
There are times when all of us experience everything around us in the saddest light possible. There are always valid reasons for this sadness but when we let these deficits persist, they translate into, addictions, bad habits, poor health, and high stress. Many people who experience clinical depression suffer tremendously.
I remember, one Christmas morning, looking at my child playing in the corner of her room. This precious sight had often brought me to my knees with feelings of profound joy and deep gratitude:
“How is it that I can feel such bliss, so blessed, so fulfilled at the mere sight of my own beautiful child?”
But lenses of perception can be coloured by the unforgiving, unloving and uncompassionate thoughts of a negligent self. On another day, this same delicate vision had become a harsh and blurry image: a projection painted by strokes of soul despair and a tainted prophecy that left me drowning in the depths of my own demise.
Once again, I was on my knees:
“Is it possible that my cherished child would be better off without a mother whose illness will ultimately bring her more pain than joy?”
These ponderings surfaced from deep within me on several occasions. Trapped by barriers of my own unworthiness It is also true that breaking down the wall in that Holy Instant transcends precise moment can bring us to the threshold of transformation, awareness, growth and opportunity: the moment you discover you have been called to return home to your authentic self.
A homeless man once said to me with a twinkle in his eye:
Sweetheart, you will be back to work this crap out at another time, on another day, in another life. Get her done now. Stop wasting your precious time in your beautiful life”
But that was another another page, another chapter, another
Fortunately, for them, several “corrective medications have proven to be a tremendous source of relief but for many others better living through pharmacology” only alleviate the symptoms and not the root of the depression. Depression is always the effect of helplessness and an indication that we are out of harmony with ourselves.
It takes an enormous amount of self-discipline to lift oneself up to the realization of one’s own emotional habits. It demands honest self-inquiry and the grace of time to gather the strength that is needed to redefine oneself as a powerful embodiment of incredible love, possibility, vitality and transformation.
Know that your presence is a blessing upon this world. You are a remarkable, unique and sensitive being in alignment with the despairs of this world.
Understand that in a deeper sense, your depression is a spiritual imbalance; a separation from Source…God…Truth...The Inner and Teacher and Voice that calls us and gently guides us home.
You are the master of your thoughts, the molder of your character and the maker and shaper of your condition, environment and destiny. You are always the master, even in your weakest, sickest and most abandoned state. The proof of this truth is in every person. As a being of power, intelligence and love and the guardian of your own thoughts, you hold the key to every situation and contain within yourself that transforming and regenerative agency by which you make yourself what you will. You are not alone.
Happiness is a Decision we must make one moment at a time.
Do what you have to do today, to be happy.
Read inspirational literature.
Do something constructive.
Show up for your life.
Show up for the people who love you.
Show up for your work.
Practice being who you want to be.
And when you do that something amazing happens. You start to live the life you want, simply because that’s the life you showed up for.
Be sad when you have to be, but never ever put your suitcase down and decide to move in. You don’t have to; it’s a choice. Life is simply a series of choices. The wisdom of experience is our universal teacher that supports us in making the best ones. Depression might have chosen you, but you don’t have to choose it back. Choose joy. Claim your life.