Sunday, December 25, 2011

It's not enough to survive. I want happiness.

These are the words that my friend Kalli (Popi) Ladon says in the video that just aired yesterday:
Popi has been fighting cancer for several years and winning. She ignores the doctors who tell her she has only six months to live. (Who gives doctors the right to put an expiration date on her?) More than surviving cancer, she is thriving. She is doing the things she loves--dancing for one--and is now inspiring others to do the same. When we are healed, we are not healed alone, states the Course in Miracles. Popi's miraculous healing is helping other cancer patients go beyond the limitations of medicine to the miracles of God.

And of course Popi is not just inspiring cancer patients. She is inspiring me. She is inspiring those who have suffered severe loss, as well as those who are dying a slow death because they can't leave a job they hate that pays the bills, or a relationship that is no longer loving and joyful, but is safe.

Too long have we bought into the idea that we are put on Earth just to survive. As children of God, joy and love and peace and freedom are our inheritance. We are here on Earth to inspire each other, to use our talents to create a better world, to have abundance not just of material things, but abundance of time, of energy, of health, of friends, of community, of celebration.

So on this day of celebration, I celebrate my friend Popi who is a powerful warrior, a beautiful goddess, and a loving friend.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Another perspective on depression

A few friends who read my last post commented that I was depressed and perhaps should see a therapist. I was a little surprised as I don't tend to see my state of mind as something that needs to be fixed, but rather as something that needs to be experienced so that it can heal. It seems to me that labeling something and coming up with a cure is the easy way out. It makes us think we know what's going on and that we're in control. So let me share my view on depression.

At the bottom of every ego lies a dark self-hatred, a feeling of unworthiness, and terror. Everyone has this unless they have actually done some serious spiritual/healing work. This is the human condition. Of course most of don't experience the intensity of it. Instead of stark terror, we feel worried. Instead of hatred, we feel a mild dislike. Instead of deep rage we feel frustration. We keep things at a superficial level so that we can feel comfortable and so that we can remain functional.

So rather than feel and heal the darkness within, we stay very busy--running constantly so that perhaps death won't catch up with us. Or we take medication such as prozac so that we can feel OK and continue to function. All we're doing is suppressing the feelings that are there. Rather than heal the source of the depression, we heal the symptoms. Or those of us who don't suppress the dark feelings wallow in them and become the victim. Oh, woe is me! We may go to a therapist and analyze our feelings to death, blaming our parents. But that isn't really experiencing the feeling either. And the darkness continues to run underneath, allowing us to go about our day, with just a slight feeling of uneasiness, that something is wrong.

There is another way. It's to allow the feelings to come up without labeling them, without making them wrong, without talking about them, without suppressing them. Just sit and feel these uncomfortable feelings of fear, of anger, of unworthiness. They are coming up to be healed. They won't kill you, and they won't last forever. Usually a few days will do it. And then they shift into something else and are released. At which point there is more clarity.

At least that's my take on how to handle feelings of depression. Allow them to move through you without judgment. At some point the light will return.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How can a path that lacks joy lead to joy?

I know it's been almost two months since I wrote in my blog. Frankly I was in such intense processing, feeling so disoriented and out of touch, that I had nothing to share. I've been in a nightmare of unhappiness not just in the last couple of months, but since my birthday in May. As I blew out the candles on my birthday cake, I remember making one simple wish: I want to be happy. What has followed is six months of deep unhappiness.

Be careful what you ask for. It seems that I needed to see all the beliefs that I hold that prevent me from being happy. The couple of months I spent in one house share showed me how I believed that I had no value as a human being if I had no money. It took being emotionally abused to break through this belief that was causing so much suffering. When I realized how I was betraying myself, a miracle happened and I got to move. But I can't say that situation was a happy one. Nor has my stay in Florida been happy, despite my mother's generous welcome. I don't belong here. I can't breathe here. It feels like a dead end. Then why was I brought here?

A few days ago I realized that I had a belief that awakening could only happen through suffering and loss. This belief did not come from my Christian roots but from advaita. "The path to enlightenment is a path of loss", I heard my spiritual teacher say. "You have to meet death, meet the emptiness." After all, that's how Ramana Maharshi woke up, by being terrified of death and meeting it.

It seems that I have gotten very good at loss and getting to a point where my life is so miserable that it feels like death. But reaching that point isn't waking me up; it's just making me miserable, out of touch with the world, and hoping to die to escape. The Course in Miracles tells me that God's will for me is perfect happiness. So God hasn't been doing this to me, I've been doing this to myself unconsciously. God forbid that I am happy, that I have a partner, that I celebrate with friends, that I have work I love, that I have abundance. If I'm so happy in this life I won't wake up. Really? The Course in Miracles says that God comes to wake us up after the nightmare has become a happy dream.

Well, if this world is a dream, then I am ready for a happy dream. I am putting aside all thoughts of awakening, as they are just concepts. I don't know how it feels to be awake. But I do know how it feels to be happy. And I am so ready to be happy. I share God's will for happiness for me. And I choose life. Bring it on!