depression

Notes To Echo, Volume One: The Human Condition – Pain

Hi all. Echo here. I apologize for such a long delay in returning to this blog. Over the course of 2018, I have suffered crippling physical illness and several bouts of depression. As I moved through the pain and suffering, I gained quite a bit of insight into the inner workings of the internal world. Lots of “ins” there, but it’s true.

Everything is within.

I am going to start blogging once in a while on the things that I need to remind myself, hence the title “Notes To Echo.” You are welcome to read my words and join me on this journey of exploration. I invite dialogue in the comments section if you feel inclined to share your views. For now, I am basically just talking to myself, reminding myself of those things I know deep down to be true.

The following is directed at me, but I feel that by sharing I may offer someone a bit of hope when they feel stuck in a situation that causes pain.

Today, I focus on the human condition and the reality of what is sometimes a very big part of our waking existence. Pain.

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All of us hurt in some form or fashion. A lot of us have mastered the art of burying our pain. We create the illusion of “all is well” just to make it through the day, day after day. We greet each morning with a smile. A smile that covers the sadness, brokenness, loneliness we might be feeling. All along the way, we convince ourselves that all is right in our worlds. Yet, at night, when the lights are out and we find ourselves in bed, struggling to sleep, reality pops into our awareness and we see what we’ve been trying to hide from ourselves all day long. We may feel:

  • Alone, even when partnered.
  • Scared, even when it’s apparent we’re secure.
  • Broken, even though by all outward appearances we are completely whole.

We may feel any and everything all at once. It’s so important at these times to feel what we feel. To allow ourselves to experience what it truly means to be human.

Pain isn’t fun. Pain isn’t comfortable. Pain sucks. But, all that said, pain makes us stop and look at where we are.

It isn’t fun to be in pain. It isn’t a joy to hurt, bleed and cry. It is, however, a part of what makes us us. It focuses our attention on the present moment. And, if we are willing to allow it to, our pain can show us in most cases what we need to do to move forward.

This takes bravery and the ability to allow ourselves to feel the hurt.

Some of the greatest lessons in life are learned while we’re in pain. I know that for me, going through a divorce and moving to a new city two hours away from home caused huge, gaping wounds in my mental, spiritual and emotional bodies. It was never easy, waking up to an empty apartment, going to a new job where I didn’t know a soul, coming home to loneliness. But I did it. And if need be, I’d do it again for not only did it teach me to look deep within myself and make a connection with what is real.

It showed me that I can survive.

So, Echo, next time you are hit with a bout of the blues, or next time you fall ill, remember to look inward. Sit with the pain. Sit with the emotion. Let yourself feel what you feel. Remember that stillness offers you the chance to look at where you are. Stillness can open up a pathway you didn’t know existed.

Stillness and awareness are your best friends in these kinds of times.

Pain is a part of life. It is just as much a part of our human reality as is good health.

Always remember that reality can be messy. Let the messes you encounter remind you of the times when everything falls into place. Times when you feel truly happy and in control of your moods and your life.

Balance is key.

Photo credit: “Illuminated Man” – Duane Michals

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Those Dark Moments, and the Breath of Light

Dark moments.

Everyone has them, some more than others. While there are those who may be in the midst of one right now, there are others who may be emerging.

No matter what, we all have those dark moments in our spiritual and emotional lives.

How do we cope? We all look outside for answers.

Which book to read?

What podcast to listen to?

Who is the best guru?

While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things, the truth of the matter is simple.

Sometimes, we each need to stop, silence ourselves, and look within.

Most people take breathing for granted. However, when stress and worry, depression and doubt, rear their ugly heads, we begin to breathe a bit less deeply. Our entire being suffers because of it.

Breath is life. Breath is love.

That said, the darkest times in my personal life have taught me to use my breath to find a solid space within where I can sit and look at the things that might be bothering me. Usually they are things of which I’m not immediately conscious.

Sounds a bit too simplistic, maybe, but it is a very important thing to make time to inquire within the self. This is especially true during those times when it seems like the sun will never shine upon us again.

Without going into a long, detailed description of how to reach that place within, I will share a simple way I use to focus my attention on my inner self and find that place inside where the darkness is brooding.

Take a moment to get comfortable. Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, holding each one for as long as possible. Expel the breath slowly.

On the first breath, imagine the light of the universe entering the dark spaces within. Breathe out as much darkness as you can. Sense the burden of that heavy emotion lifting.

On the second breath, imagine more light sweeping into the deepest recesses of your soul. As you hold your breath, see the light filling every corner of your Inner Room. Expel any remaining darkness and hold the emptiness until you simply must take a breath.

This emptiness is the entirety of the Void.

It is the essence and origin of Who You Are.

You are the Universe. Allow that truth to sink into every molecule of your body.

On the third breath, you should feel lighter. Buoyant. Simply breathe in as deeply as you are able, clear your mind of thought, and hold that breath as long as possible. Focus on the light within.

Expel the breath slowly. Open your eyes. If you need to take more breaths, do so. Hold each consecutive breath a little longer than the first. Expel the breath slowly. Hold the resulting emptiness until your lungs demand more oxygen.

By breathing deep, we draw life-giving oxygen deep into our core. And this life-giving breath will heal and nurture you on every level of being.

May peace be in your soul.

Photo credit: Pinterest

Doing the uncomfortable: feeling the blues

I think it’s human nature to run from things that are uncomfortable.

Today I am feeling totally out of sorts.  Nothing inspires me to write, except for this.  Feeling blue is a common experience for a lot of people, and today I’m doing the uncomfortable.  I am sitting here and allowing myself to feel the blues.

It’s not very comfortable.  At all.  I normally try to do something to pep myself up when the blues come to town.  Whether it is getting into a hobby or getting physically active or whatever, it seems that I can work myself through the blues with relative ease.

Not so today.

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