Posts tagged #depression

Misery is a spiritual emergency

So lately I've been thinking a lot about spiritual emergencies.

Spiritual emergency: a brief introduction

The psychiatrist Stanislav Grof coined the term "spiritual emergency" to refer to periods of intense transformation that in our culture often get interpreted strictly as an illness and only treated through materialist means.

Nigredo alchemy spiritual emergence spiritual emergency

A spiritual emergency is a kind of sickness, but it's also a birth, a coming-into-being of the spiritual self - i.e., an "emergence" and a crisis that requires attention - i.e., an "emergency."

In his work, Grof used the term "spiritual emergency" to refer primarily to episodes of psychosis and disassociation that were actually involuntary or unconscious shamanic explorations. It's my personal experience that spiritual emergency also can include extremely intense misery (i.e., "depression") and unease (i.e., "anxiety").

Misery as spiritual emergency

Intense misery is probably a vastly more common symptom of spiritual emergence than the visionary shamanic episodes that interested Grof.

Intense misery relates to emergence because when it happens in the life of a magically-oriented person who's aiming for awakening, lucidity and illumination - well, that means that it's actually the alchemical phase known as "nigredo" or "blackening, decomposing."

Misery is what occurs when our natural self-centered quest for pleasure and status leads us into our own personal underworld.

For many people not gifted with awareness and knowledge this journey to the underworld leads directly to actual death and degradation.

Suicide is now the second leading cause of death in people aged 15 - 34 in America.

How misery becomes ultimately-liberating nigredo

Misery becomes transformed into ultimately-liberating alchemical nigredo when it's met with honesty, compassion and awareness. We learn to look at our self-centered grasping truthfully, and then to gradually transmute the selfish misery into altruism that uplifts and heals us and everyone around us.

If you're experiencing a state of spiritual emergency lately, please know that I'm always available to talk to on the phone.

Love, Carolyn

image: [Abode of Chaos on flickr]

What to do in life: notes for those who have failed and are incredibly depressed

 I want to congratulate you on your devastating failure.

YAY! You've utterly failed! YESSSSS!

I am completely serious and not trying to be mean. I am truly, really, honestly happy for you. I'm thrilled, in fact.

I'm thrilled because you're an adult and you have no idea what to do in life.  Oh, it's not like  you never knew what to do.  You once did.  But Your Best Plan completely did not work.  In fact, it not only didn't work, it blew up in your face just like your face was Hiroshima and your plan was the atom bomb.  Thanks a lot, Harry Truman.

Now you're living in the nuclear winter of your discontent. You bitterly regret all that has transpired. You might feel like harming yourself.  At best, you probably feel like laying in your bed and only getting up to microwave a Hot Pocket, shove it in your face, read gossip blogs, smoke cigarettes and call your mom while hysterically crying.  At least that's all I felt like doing for six weeks when it happened to me.

That's okay.  Have all the Hot Pockets you want. But don't harm yourself.  You're a precious jewel. I don't care if you've massively fucked up.  My favorite people are the ones who have massively fucked up.  They're the really interesting ones.

So instead of hating yourself this as a way of finding what to do in life:

1) Take a moment to appreciate your uncomfortable state of being really clueless about what to do in life.  It hurts. Horrifically.  I know.

But! The fact that you're open and curious now about how to live life has put you leagues ahead of most human beings.

2) Consider how much your original plan, the one that failed so painfully and spectacularly, centered all around the effort  to gain security and pleasure and power for yourself.

This effort is called "self-cherishing." It's the act of trying to gather things up to make yourself safe and pleased.

It's pretty much everyone's default plan. The thing is, it doesn't really work. Think of how your self-cherishing has put in you in conflict with other people, especially with people that you love, and how much pain this conflict has caused you.

It's true that some people half-assedly make self-cherishing sorta kinda seem to work their whole lives.  They never wind up in the writhing state of abject misery which you now occupy.  But the thing is, they never really get the giant light bulb of freedom to go off either.  The fact that you're in total despair means you're unbelievably close, closer than all the middlingly okay people! - to genuine, deep awesomeness.

4)  Understand that you don't have to continue with your self-cherishing.

I know it doesn't feel that way.  It doesn't feel like you have an option way because you're addicted to it.  Self-cherishing is your smack, my junkie friend.  And you've overdosed.  It's either get clean now, die ingloriously, or dwell in derelection.

So know that you really can try something else.  Something very radically different.

It's called "other-cherishing" and it's the act of devoting yourself to the well-being of others rather than to the service of your own pleasure and comfort.

Hmmmmmmmm. I can tell if you're anything like me you're probably not too keen on this idea.

5) Don't feel bad that your mind immediately recoils at the thought of other-cherishing.

My mind recoiled intensely from it for years. "But I'm a human being, too! Who's going to cherish me?  If I devote myself to serving others, I'll just be taken advantage of and nothing good will be left for me.  Besides, there's way too many people out there, human suffering is too overwhelming.  There's nothing I can do that would truly benefit everyone."

6) Contemplate this answers to your objection: if you give up self-cherishing, the whole universe will cherish you.

The universe freaking LOVES people who are earnestly surrendering their self-cherishing more than preteen girls love Justin Bieber.  And that is a lot of love, guys.

Why? Because that's what life, the universe, and everything have wanted you to do all along.  Once you start to give up self-cherishing, everything else you do becomes massively easier and takes on much greater, more satisfying meaning. Synchronicities start whirling and the blessings start raining down.  They were there waiting for you.  But in the past they were too repelled by your grasping and greed.  Grasping and greed are repulsive.  They repel good fortune.

And also, actually, there is something you can do to benefit everyone.  You can liberate yourself from your own self-cherishing. I know I may be sounding repetitive here, but listen. This is massively, hugely beneficial.  It's so beneficial that the human race joyously celebrates for thousands of years people who have done it, people like Jesus and Mary Magdalene and the Buddha and Rumi and Mirabai and St. Francis.   You can wake up from your nightmare of chasing security and pleasure.  As soon as you do this, you'll no longer generate conflicts everywhere you go.  Instead you'll create joy and be a place of kind refuge and calm for others.

To understand this, just consider how much pain others have given you when they've behaved in self-centered, self-cherishing ways and trampled over your feelings.  Your own self-cherishing has caused at least that much pain for others.  If you relinquish it, you'll stop causing that pain.  You won't be irritable and easily offended.  Instead, you'll be welcoming and warm to be around.  Folks won't have to tip-toe on egg shells around you.  They'll feel honored and loved in your presence.  And this means there's a good chance that they will be inspired to surrender their own self-cherishing just by knowing you.  They'll succeed, and then they'll go around inspiring others to do the same.  Everyone will get freer and freer, safer and safer, happier and happier.  It's a virtuous circle.

Literally, you can deeply contribute to everyone waking up from the nightmare.

7) Consider that your belief that you can't give up self-cherishing isn't true.

I certainly used to believe that giving it up was impossible- I could see that it would be theoretically great to be able to let go of my self-centeredness, but I just had no notion how to do that.

At some level, I didn't really want to learn because I still thought I could make self-cherishing work for me.  Well, that turned out to be assuredly not the case.

Happily for you and for me, the processes for ending self-cherishing do exist if you've had enough of your confused pain and you're willing to try something radically different.  The four immeasurables cultivation and tonglen are a great place to start and can go a very long way to rubbing out your self-cherishing. Try them yourself.

8) Seriously.  Tell yourself that every day for a month you'll do four immeasurables cultivation and the meditation on exchanging yourself with others.

And then do it.  Make it a higher priority than watching cute cat videos on youtube.

9) The more you do those practices, the more clear everything else will become.

Your whole mental and emotional make up will shift.  Your perception will no longer be so distorted.  Your creativity will activate like never before.  You'll know what to do.

10) Write to me and tell me how it's going: sweetsongofjoy at gmail dot com.  I would love to know.

 

 

What Is Unconditional Love

Love Without Limits

Unconditional love is the decision to never enact emotional violence against yourself or anyone else, ever.  It's a decision that's radical and deeply freeing.

You can become free of self-hatred and misery, free from patterns of suffering that keep you stuck. It doesn't matter if your problem is sucky romantic relationships or a job that torments you or a giant creative block or a compulsion to use substances or engage in dangerous behaviors.  It just doesn't matter what your problem is because all problems manifest from one thing: a lack of love.  If you become willing to apply simple spiritual principles in your life (love; forgiveness; hospitality; generosity; honesty; hope - and the greatest of these is love) without condition and without reservation, then your life can turn into a stunning glitter bomb of joy and possibility and magic.

I know that this is true because I went from being someone who shot heroin every day and wanted to die, someone whose primary concern in life was whether or not I could get enough drugs that day to numb the stunning pain of the problem of being me to being someone who wakes up every morning soaked in gratitude and thrilled to be myself - even when I'm broke, even when I'm single, even when I've failed at major projects that were dear to me.  This same self that I literally wanted to murder - I now cherish and delight in, without condition and without limit.

The Unconditional Decision

How did I get to this point? It happened because I decided to give myself huge joy and love and respect no matter what. What does that mean? It means that no matter what I do, no matter what happens - I'm going to feel great. "Carolyn - you mean, even if you kill somebody you're not going to feel guilty, you're not going to feel shame?"  And my answer to that is: yes, precisely. There's nothing I could do which I would not utterly forgive myself for, and forgiving myself means letting myself feel happy and wonderful. It means refusing to ever reject or punish myself, for any reason.  And the thing is, when I'm willing to give myself unconditional love, unconditional kindness- which really just means I'm willing to never impose shame and regret on myself - when I have that willingness, I'm without violence in my heart.  I would never want to hurt someone or kill someone because I feel so damn happy and loving.

Sometimes people think I'm crazy when I mention the unconditionalness and unlimitedness of my love for myself.  And that's okay - they can think I'm crazy and they can tell me all about the conditions under which they believe that shame and regret and guilt are appropriate.  Usually these conditions are situations of violence.  What the people who tell me this don't understand is that regret and guilt and shame are themselves forms of violence: inner violence, emotional violence.  The use of them creates more violence.  Do you think that people who hurt and abuse other people are filled with self-acceptance and joy? No; they're filled with shame and regret and bitterness and rage.  They're inwardly filled with emotional violence and that violence manifests outwardly as harm to others and harm to themselves.

What I've learned over the years is any limit I'm willing to put on the love I give myself is a limit I'm willing to put on the love that I give you and the love that I give the universe.  And the smallest, most seemingly reasonable limit becomes a giant dam that plugs up the flow of delight and wonder in my life.  So I don't mess around with making up limits on love any more.  I just give it all, all the time, without holding back, without trying to play it safe.

A Limit On Love is An Attempt to Control 

I realized that any time I'm seeking to limit love, what I'm doing is trying to control.  I'm trying to control myself to make myself fit into some "acceptable" mode.  I'm trying to control you; to control the whole world.  But it's impossible.  Any time that I try to control something, I end up in pain.  The magic that I am, that you are, that the world is - is quite beyond control.  Have you noticed? I did - I saw that no matter how much energy I put into making myself acceptable I always fell short - I always found reason to regret something I'd done, something I'd said, something I'd failed to do.  And what I realized is that regret, shame and guilt - they're all forms of violence against myself, they're feelings but they're actually the result of  a belief that's a weapon.  What is that weapon?  It's the belief that I'm not always already fundamentally good, that I'm not fundamentally perfect and whole and valuable and innocent.

By becoming willing to be happy and grateful in all situations - even in situations when I've failed or where someone or something has failed me -- I can practice unconditional love, I can practice the truth that undoes the lie that myself or anyone else is less than wholly good, wholly innocent, wholly wonderful as God created them to be.

 

 

 

 

 

image: [Lel4nd]

 

 

The Love Healer Manifesto (a long read that's worth it)

<3Creative Commons License photo credit: Daquella manera

I Know Why

 

I know why you’re depressed. I know why you’re struggling.  I know why your feel angry, unseen, unknown, unvalued, unwanted.  I know why you feel like you have to fight every day to make a living and stay above water.  I know why some days you feel like you’re drowning.

 

I know why you get into relationships with people who touch you so deeply with their wonder and then burn you so badly with their selfishness.  I know why you can’t reach sexual ecstasy and why you find it so hard to relax.

 

I know why the whole thing isn’t working.

 

What gives me this prescient knowledge? Am I psychic? Well, yes, a bit—but really I’ve just realized the truth of the matter for myself and I’ve seen clearly that what is true in my own deepest heart is true for you, too.

 

So I also know that none of the mess is your fault.  None of it is because you’re deficient or you’re not wise or smart enough.  None of it is because you’re not energetic or clever or sexy enough.  It’s not because you’ve failed or gone wrong in any way.

 

Yet though none of it is your fault, you are the only one who can make it better.  And you can do that—make it wildly, incredibly, soul-swellingly better.

 

So if none of the mess is your fault, what’s going on? Why does this stuff suck so much? Why is life so unbelievably hard in so many ways? Where is all this stuckness and suffering coming from?

 

Before I tell you my answer, I need you to slow down.  I need you to take some really deep breaths—and not pansy deep breaths, either.  Take giant, hearty, full-bodied deep breaths.  I need you to really let this sink in for awhile: none of it is your fault.

 

You are innocent, completely and totally.  Breathe in that truth for a moment: just be with it  It’s not you. Not your fault.  You are 100% absolved. You are 100% perfect.

 

Okay. So what’s the problem? What’s going on?

 

It’s this: you’re a love healer and you haven’t been shown how to own and take full responsibility for your talents because our culture doesn’t understand or respect love healing (although it needs it desperately).

 

When you know how to take full possession of your genius for love healing, when you know how to see and revere yourself for your amazing power, when you know how to deploy that power in your own life and in the lives of everyone around you, you will:

  •             No longer be depressed
  •             —you’ll be joyous.
  •             No longer struggle to make ends meet
  •             – you’ll be fully supported.
  •             No longer be unseen or unknown
  •             – you’ll shine like a beacon.
  •             No longer have painful relationships
  •             – you’ll experience rich harmony.

 

How Do I Know This?

I gained these insights by working through a 7-week course which I designed to be a kind of next generation of The Artist’s Way– it's called Awesome Your Life: The Antidote to Suffering Genius. the course put me and many others in touch with our innate genius and lifted us out of creative misery.  You can find its first few chapters here. That course contains some of the same wisdom I teach here and also a series of experiments that lead you through 7 steps of the mythic journey.

 

Working through the Antidote to Suffering Genius course put me in touch with my own genius for love healing (which had long caused me suffering because I repressed and denied it) and gave me the intuitive power to see and foster the same genius in others.  In the series of posts you're reading now, I share with you directly the knowledge that came to me about the genius for love healing—what it means, and how it works.   I offer this to you now as a kind of concentrated dose of wisdom which can use to stimulate your own inherent power to awesome your life.

 

You may find that working through The Antidote to Suffering Genius course for yourself is a wonderful way to supplement, process, and expand the truth I'm explaining here.  You also might find that the present work is all you need for your awesoming to commence.

 

Your History as an Oppressed Love Healer

Do you feel some doubt about the notion that you’re a love healer? Does that sound too good to be true or too fluffy and weird to be true? Or both? And “love healer”—what does that even mean, anyway?

 

I can answer these doubts and questions only by inviting you to think back to your very earliest memories.  Think back to when you were a very little child playing with other little kids, being with your family.  When did you feel the most alive, the most powerful, the most free and glorious and delighted?

 

I bet it was while you were loving someone or something (a person, a plant, an animal, a doll, a building, a group of friends, a patch of nature) and that someone or something responded to your love by becoming more beautiful, more strong, more whole, more vibrant, more wise.   In other words, it wasn’t just the act of loving that brought you joy (although that is wondrous in itself), it was witnessing the miraculous power of your love to positively affect and uplift what you directed it toward.

 

Put simply, I bet you felt best when you were healing with the power of your love.  Healing in the sense that I use it in this book doesn’t just mean fixing something that’s sick or broken.  It means raising something up to a higher level of order, beauty, and wholeness.  In other words, “healing” means “evolving” not just “fixing.”

 

Now think about all your time in school.  Were you ever offered a time and a place to practice this art of healing with love that brought you so much joy and aliveness? Were you ever encouraged and applauded, given an A+ for the magnificence your love brought forth? Were you ever given compassionate guidance and help in amplifying and focusing the power of your love healing?  Were you ever taught techniques for using it on yourself to heal your own wounds?

 

If you are like most of us who grew up in Western culture, the answer to these questions is “no.”  So what happened instead?  Your skill for love healing, which brought you so much happiness was completely ignored by your teachers.  It was something that you were only free to do at play time—something that you were taught didn’t “count” towards your success in life.

 

Did this happen to you? Was your love healing gift taken for granted, treated as unimportant and unlikely to bring you reward?  Was it glossed over with condescension and never taken seriously?

 

If yes, then your deepest source of power and joy was not nurtured.  Something sacred and stunning and core to your being was gravely insulted by your education.  To put it starkly, you were robbed.

 

 

How Our Present System of Education Generates Self-Destruction

 

At school they taught you to read and write, do science and math, understand history and maybe some other skills.  But they took away (ignored, smothered, insulted) the core talent which all these other skills are only meant to serve: your ability to heal with love.

This is why you’re suffering.  This is why you had or have an eating disorder.  This is why you cut yourself.  This is why you made suicide attempts and why you’ve done drugs.

 

You self-destructed in these ways because our society (represented in your childhood by the school system) did not in the least bit value, nurture, acknowledge or celebrate your magnificent, essential gift for healing with love.

 

Your mother and father didn’t adequately protect you from the assault and devaluing that happened to you at school.  They may have ever perpetuated it at home.  Why? Because the same violence had been done to them.  They had lost touch with their own power of love healing.

 

Think: how joyful and free were your mother and father? How centered and grounded and calm were they? Did they impress you as people with full sovereignty and strength, or were they individuals scarred by shame and self-doubt, by insecurity and misery which they handed down to you?

 

So why did your teachers do this to you? Again, the same answer: it was done to them.  They had suffered the same insulting, ignoring and devaluing and didn’t know how to offer you anything other than what they had received.   Our society has been skewed and violent and messed up in this way (and maybe 1000 other ways) for a long, long time.  There may have only been a handful of cultures on the face of the earth that ever properly valued and nurtured love power.

 

So what am I saying? In brief, I’m saying that your life is so difficult and you find it so hard to be happy because at your depths you are a love healer.  Whatever it is that you prefer to love and whatever medium you use to express your love (we’ll talk more about this later), you are a love healer.  You are a love healer in a society that completely devalues, mistreats, and fails to understand love healing.

 

Everyone Asks for Everything Other than the Love They Want

Let’s talk for a moment about what this means for you today.  We already talked about how very tough stuff became when you were a little child.  So what’s happening right now?

 

You’re in some institution of higher education. Or maybe you’re working now. Or maybe you’re out of work.  What are you doing with your time? It could be just about anything: designing movie sets, waiting tables, teaching yoga, doing research, caring for children.  Whatever it is you’re doing, people pretend that they don’t want your love healing, they want you to do a specific service:

 

Get the food to the table

Make the movie set

Teach me a back bend

Keep the kids safe and fed

Produce new academic knowledge

 

Or any other thing.  There’s a rule in our society: you’re allowed to ask for, expect, and buy tangible goods and services.

 

But you know what? Beyond the very basics, most people don’t really want goods or services at all.  What they really want is to be loved, to be healed and evolved by love.  And that’s what they really want from you—love healing.  But in our society (I like to call it the mad world) there’s a profound taboo: you are never allowed to ask for, receive, or benefit from love healing.

 

So people never ask you for your love healing, even though that’s what they’re really craving from you (the taboo against asking or receiving love healing is so deep that the vast majority of people don’t even know that that’s what they really want and are looking for).

 

So because no one knows how to ask for or receive your love healing, they ask you for other things.  Actually, they don’t just ask, they demand.  And these demands can get very loud and very mean.  You hear messages all the time (spoken or unspoken) like:

 

  •                         This set design isn’t good enough
  •                         This dissertation isn’t up to standard
  •                         You’re not a brilliant yoga teacher
  •                         You’re not doing a good enough job with the kids

 

On and on.  People find things to criticize you about or demand from you endlessly.  You get fired, or let go.  Or you push yourself really hard to meet all their demands and you end up on the floor in a ball, heaving and crying because nothing you do is ever good enough for them.

 

What’s happening?

 

This is what’s happening: everyone who comes into contact with you senses subconsciously that you are a profoundly amazing love healer.  But you don’t know that consciously and neither do they.  So they ask you for a zillion other things, whatever they can think of.  And since you’re broke and trying to make ends meet you run around going nuts trying to jump through the hoops, meet the specifications, be up to snuff, win the race—get the pay check, the job, the fellowship, stay afloat.  This makes you feel frayed, frantic, miserable.  You don’t feel loved or loving—so you’re not offering love with your work.  You’re just trying to get by and hoping that they don’t completely devour you.

 

You don’t feel you have much motivation for doing anything, even things you at one time really liked doing.  Why? When the people you trusted devalued you as a love healer, they cut out your fundamental motivation for doing anything, for relating or for creating  They struck a very deep blow against the core of your self.

 

So you feel miserable.  The people demanding stuff of you feel miserable.  The taboo against ask for, receiving, or celebrating love healing persists.

 

Sounds grim, right? Look around and you see this everywhere in your own life and among your friends.  This is abuse.  This is wrong.  This needs to change. But how?

 

The Deep Change

 

Well, it starts with one person. You.

 

One person who is willing to completely own, value, cultivate, celebrate and revere her own talent as a love healer.  One person who is willing to revere and celebrate the same talent in other people.  One person who is willing to offer her real gifts with no apologies.  Who is willing to stop trying to jump through hoops of false demands and instead stand in her strength and give people just what they are really asking for from her: love, radiant love.

 

The more you do this—offer your love gift freely and support others in offering theirs—the faster the fire of love will spread and the quicker our culture will heal.  You will free others from the taboo.  You will free them to appreciate and value you at your depths.  Gradually, you feel much less confused and threatened when people seem to be making demands of you or criticizing you because you know what they’re really trying to do: ask you for love healing.

 

I want you now to imagine a world where every child’s talent for love healing is nurtured to the utmost—where it is cherished and cultivated and applauded.

 

And I want you to realize that you’re not miserable because you’re not good enough at what you do. You’re miserable because you’re not grounded and centered in the deep knowledge of who you are.

 

Think about it—if you felt totally seen, known, cherished, valued as a love healer, wouldn’t you….

 

  •                         Feel relaxed?
  •                         Enjoy whatever you’re doing more?
  •                         Feel brimming with inspiration for grand ways
  •                                     that you could offer your love to the
  •                                     world?
  •                         Love making stuff?
  •                         Love everyone around you, and yourself a whole
  •                                     lot more?

 

A Big Vision

 

So here’s my vision for you:  you are fully seen, known, celebrated and valued as a love healer—first by yourself and gradually by others who are inspired by your knowledge.  You express your love healing in the world in a way that perfectly delights and strengthens you.  You are richly rewarded for your love healing in wealth and honor.  You see the world evolve, within your lifetime, into something radically different and radically better—thanks in part to the love you shared.

 

I want you to know this:

 

  •                         You are a love healer.
  •                         Just you being in the world makes everything
  •                                     way better.
  •                         Your value is immeasurable and crucial to the
  •                                     survival of our world.
  •                         You deserve to be richly supported just for being.
  •                         You deserve all respect and all beauty and
  •                                     comfort.
  •                         In a just society, you would be richly supported
  •                                     just for your very being.

 

We can make this happen.  Stay tuned for ideas on just how.

What is Depression?

Reitdiep RainbowCreative Commons License photo credit: The Wolf  

 

Depression-- hopelessness, dread-- waking up in the morning and feeling like there's no point to being awake-- what is that, really? Is it just a chemical imbalance in the brain?

Yes and no.

The brain (like the rest of our bodies) is a physical manifestation of our soul.  This means that chemical imbalances in the brain reflect spiritual suffering. No treatment for depression is really complete unless it addresses both the spiritual and physical dimensions of the affliction.

Depression is a symptom of suffering genius. Our genius suffers when she feels trapped, unacknowledged and unable to express herself fully in the world. This happens all too often in our present society-- which, for all it's celebration of commodified individuality is actually quite opposed to genuine expressions of soul-- like love and ecstasy.  (If you're curious about this hostility, try having an ecstatic transport in a grocery store and see how people respond.)

Yet no matter how harsh the external conditions, this feeling of being trapped is always an illusion.  We're always free to express our genius, even if we sense the consequence of that expression would be something scary-- like losing our jobs or losing a friend.  Just acknowledging the fact that we are choosing to restrain ourselves because we don't like the potential consequences to being who we really are can allow us to regain a sense of our basic freedom and begin to lift the burden of depression.

At the same time, we also need to overcome the fears that would keep us in our limiting position.  We may need to honor the fact that when we embrace our true selves, we lose some safety and security, some approval and predictability.  We may need to deliberately give up the comfort that we've known in order to embrace the radically unknown world of our possibility.

When I'm struggling with a limiting belief or situation, my friends like to remind me that I'll change "when the pain becomes great enough." This is true.  I will.  Yet some people don't change when the pain becomes great enough-- or rather, they change in far too dramatic a fashion.  They kill themselves.

I've endured depression many times and I've felt tempted to make that all-too-radical change from life into death.  What I've discovered each time depression gripped me is that it's always true: "I" do have to die.  But the "I" that needs to die is never the real me, my physical body and my actual spirit. The "I" which needs to die is the little ego who wants and demands that life go a certain way and is incredibly pissed that it won't. This "I" despairs.  This "I" judges me with intense cruelty and harshness.  I've found that depression is the invitation which asks this "I" to die.

So if you're feeling depressed today-- let me ask you-- what demand are you holding on to that isn't getting met?  And what would happen if you just let that demand die-- if you just let go of it?  Who would you be without that demand?