Thursday, March 16, 2017

Floating To The Life We Hoped For

Often, my days feel like i'm floating.  Days later, when i look back on them they seem surreal, almost as if i didn't experience them, that i merely skimmed over them. I realized today that I spend too much time and energy  in the on again off again state of existentialism.  I am continually analyzing my self, my life, my situations and my environment.  

When i think of where I'm headed, I'm not always sure.  Before, when i had a real job, a company i called my own, I felt more safe.  But i certainly felt no more enriched, engrossed or satisfied  

I'm reading a short book called Becoming Earth, by Eva Saulitis.  She chronicles her journey and meditations as she battles breast cancer.  She was a marine biologist and a gifted writer.  Her writings will move you to a different place.  Bits of it may be difficult to read for some, but i feel the depth and beauty of many of her thoughts redeem the corona from the light her tragedy transcends.  

Last week, by chance, i met her brother John while filling our Eurovan with gas.  He noticed all the surf stickers on the back window and asked if we'd surfed Tofino in British Columbia. From there we ended up talking about life--as i am wont to do!--and at some point he reminded me that today, right now is all we have.  As he left he told me to read his sister's book, who has since passed away. 

When we look back, will we have lived the life we had hoped for when we were children? The life that seemed so attainable, and to me so obvious and natural?  Will we have realized the dreams that were always within our reach but too often were quashed by our own lack of guts or apprehensions or limiting beliefs?  Or were simply given up as we went on to make a living?

I can't let that be me. The best part of my story is yet to be written.  And i will constantly push back on--or befriend--the notion that the journey i take, viewed through the prism of depression will passively define or shroud my purpose in this life.  And in doing so, i will surpass it.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Our Greatest Fear. It Isnt What You Think.

The morning was a roller coaster ride of emotion. As I write this--and I'm not quite sure why yet-- I'm just tied up.  There is a feeling rising in my chest to my throat that is choking me up.  If I allow myself to go into it, to explore it and really feel it, I can tell it is fear that is behind it. Then I must ask myself, what is it that I fear?  I know I fear failure in my future. But I have come to realize I also fear success... I'm not entirely sure why. But I do have an inkling:

This quote from Marianne Williamson best speaks to my quandary: 

It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others will not feel insecure
around us...

...As we let our light shine we unconsciously give others permission to do the same...

I have read and pondered this passage for months.  Very few things resonate with me as this does.  I know that I have dimmed my light. I was beaten down by the world and I shut it down. I let it happen. And I'm not sure why. 

But!,  I also know that was "ancient" Chip.  And I know I am no longer that person. I have broken free of the dark and elegiac place that I allowed to keep me down. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

A League of My Own

I do my own consulting on depression because I know the current mental healthcare model doesn't work. I know because I'm a veteran of the model. I tried everything and did my best with it for 30 years.  And I have only broken through with the help of the tools I learned at The Clearing.

I don't fault all the well meaning and hard working doctors I've seen. The insurance companies tell the doctors that they will reimburse for 50 minutes a week to ''fix you."  50 minutes a week to dig into your head, to unearth your deepest emotions and issues, work a process through it (few, if any know this process) and put you back together so you can go back to work that day, or even just back out into the world. One hour a week is simply not enough time. 

First off, you cant get to the bottom of much of anything in 50 minutes.  And even if you did, the doctor couldn't help you get your shit back together at the end of the hour to have you walk out the door to continue your day.

So, 'talk therapy' is talking through your feelings while the person in the other chair optimistically questions your assumptions and offers some suggestions to help you see things in a different way.  This may work for some.  It didn't work for me.  I learned I was holding so much stuff inside that I wasn't even aware of.  No way 50 minutes a week is going to address it.  And it's not a one-shot deal.  Working through this pain is a series of doors opening, of peeling back an onion.  And, you've got to be lead up to it to embrace and understand it.   I would have done anything to alleviate my suffering.  I was at the end of my rope.  I cried a lot of the day and hid where and when I could.

As I've said before, my stuff was not big, over the top, ''traditional'' stuff that a lot of my compatriots suffer through. Like divorce or abuse, and/or alcoholism or drugs to mask it all.  No, mine was just emotional events that I took really hard, that scarred my spirit and took an insidious toll on me.  Mine were people to whom I'd attached my dreams leaving me.  They were the carrying of burdens that weren't mine, like my parent's marriage and my mom's pain.  They were festering little grievances that were somehow being tallied up and cashed in as lost faith, cynicism and negativity.

So, this is where I step off.  After 30 years of banging my head against the wall and never getting to the true bottom of issues, Spiritual Psychology and other lessons learned at The Clearing taught me to identify and track back the slights and the seemingly inconsequential events I had rolled through but never come to grips with.  As I dug deep each day, these events surfaced. We set them up and knocked them down, like shooting tin cans on a wall.  The more we dug, the more we found and the more we shot down.  From there I learned forgiveness. To forgive myself.  To discern the judgements that I had made and the limiting beliefs which had ensued.  These limiting beliefs stop us dead in our tracks. We all have them. And the judgements are just excuses.  Judgements are scapegoats with shackles.

If you're in pain from depression and anxiety, fearing to dig in to yourself and dig out is not an option.  Do you actually fear this process more than the constant, unrelenting suffering you endure each day?  It's a path to healing that is right there for you.  You have it all inside but you need to be taught. 

My consultancy will take you for a day.  Or two.  We will explore what it is that's hiding inside. And, you will learn to heal yourself.  You will be courageous.  And the weight will be lifted from your chest. 

One week into my stay at the farm the pain in my chest dissipated.  By the end of it, the pain was gone.  Do I still deal with it today? Yes, I do, but it's on such a reduced level there is no comparison.  And I have tools now.  Mental, emotional and spiritual tools to work through the crap.  I can actually challenge myself mentally and break on through the rantings of the 'shitty committee' in my head.  They stop. It is a transformation.

I know depression. I'm an expert.  And I finally know a way out.  I've earned my stripes and know there isn't a therapist any more qualified to help pull you through. I will teach you the tools, step by step and teach you to open your heart.  When you do, you will be transformed.  I never thought it was possible until I learned and worked at it.  I work at it everyday, and I can teach you how to change your life. 

Friday, February 17, 2017

A possible diagnosis

Saw my new Dr. today, this time was the 3rd visit.  I've been having all my past doctors send all their records to him so he can put together my profile for the past 20 years or so.  He's great, he wants to put together my history so he can build a comprehensive picture before offering any solutions.  

What's the deal with our medical records system?  I have seen probably 15 or more different Dr's the past 20 years and had every kind of test they've conjured up: CAT scans, EKG, Sleep study, MRI, ALL SORTS of lab tests, from lupus to Lyme disease, heavy metals to MS.  Yet, Dr's don't often share information, all operating in a vacuum.  Each Dr. has their own system or tool they use to keep info and no one can agree on one universal system to share info.  Good thing is, after all this I will have a historical record I can call my own.

So, Dr. Conway thinks sleep apnea is the problem.  This is based on tests I had done in Laguna 3 years back.  I tried one of those CPAP's for 3 months but it made no difference in the way I felt.
OK, so we'll try it again.  He's convinced this is the issue.  The idea is, if I can fix the issue of daily sleepiness I will be energized to get a leg up on my other endeavors. 

Also, had more blood drawn to check for various other maladies today.  Results later.  Meantime, Dr. Conway wants me to try Provigil.  Its a drug that effects neurotransmitters in the brain, helping you to stay awake.  This suggestion was bitter sweet to me.  Since I have worked hard to clear my self of all drugs, save for one, I'm worried about beginning to add new mind altering stuff.  It's an odd emotion, I cant quite explain.  I've worked so hard naturally, and to start adding traditional western psychotropic drugs feels like a step backward.  I don't want to go back to being on a 'cocktail' of drugs, hoping something works. 

But I think I'm going to have to give it a try.  The Dr. said, "It's a cost/benefit analysis.  Do you want to continue feeling the way you do or (essentially) give this a shot?"  Fingers crossed.  Love, light and gratitude to all of you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Suffering and the Glass Half Full

Yesterday was a day of suffering. Ugh.  It usually abates by around 2 to 3 in the afternoon.  Sometimes, for no particular reason it seems, it is gone earlier.  I work my mental magic, which has really changed my reality--and my belief system--and I'm able to feel results.  So, for today I'm determined to see suffering in the rear view mirror. 

I read so much about how "suffering" is "good for us."  The Buddhist philosophy tells us all life is suffering.  This is certainly not an uplifting thought.  And then we wonder, because it's been around so long and is so often stated, must it be true?   I'm a believer that these bromides we grow up hearing generally originate from a kernel of truth.  Ya know, like "don't judge a book by it's cover," or point at something and there are 3 fingers pointing back at you," (These two ARE true, by the way!)  But when it comes to 'all life is suffering'' I just cant get on board.  It feels like you're giving in to negativity.

So, though our existence seems to have a fair bit of the "glass half empty,"  I choose the glass "half full"   It feels natural to me.  And I'm thankful for that!  And, I'm thankful for you, as well

Love and light today.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Running, Red Herrings and Re-thinking

No big 'smoking gun' on the 23andme front.  Just a couple of supplements I seem to be missing.  Started taking them on Friday but yet to feel any difference.  What has been helping in the morning tho, is good old running.  A mile is all it takes!  The other day I had the emo feeling in my chest so I hit the track.  4 times around and it lifted.  Hallelujah!  It was a break-thru, cuz up to this time exercise has always made it feel worse, more acute.

Counseling a friend today over the phone.  He's really struggling with alcohol and depression; spiraling downward.  He's blaming it on everything around him: his wife, family, house, group of friends, pressure to be part of it, the area he lives in. This is a red herring.  I've been there.  We must have the courage to look at ourselves first, deal with our own issues and filters which screen our perceptions and thereby free ourselves of suffering.  I've learned "acceptance is a life free of emotional suffering."  Trying to change everything around us, without digging into ourselves first, is a dead end.  I tried it. 

So much of what we do is ego based.  And we do it because we always have, it's all we know; we've allowed ourselves to become programmed.  Step above your default thinking and observe it.  Then change it.  We've been told changing your mind is weakness.  In fact, it is growth. 

Do the hard work of loving and accepting yourself`--first, and others will rise up to meet you. 

Paraphrasing a Rumi quote:  Beyond the forest of 'right and wrong' is a field.  Meet me there.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Hilarious World of Depression and 23andMe

So I'm working yesterday at a friend's house and decide to find a good podcast rather than listening to classic rock or old school hip hop for the umpteenth time.  Darned if I didn't stumble upon this:  That's right, The Hilarious World of Depression.  Really?

Man, what a breath of fresh air. This guy, John Moe has put together interviews with comedians who deal with depression.  Seems to be quite a link between the two.  The more I listened, hearing similar stories, similar feelings to mine the better I felt.  "Wow, there are others out there who sense things the way I do!"  Like Andy Richter, cohost of Conan O'Brien who said he used to listen to Bridge Over Troubled Water as a kid on a record player over and over and feel sort of melancholy.  Yeah, I remember doing that!  (And many other albums: Crosby, Stills and Nash, lots of Elton John and then later Christopher Cross.  Remember "Sailing?"  Man, that really did take me away.)

So, it turns out there IS strength in numbers.  And self acceptance.  Moe talked to Richter, and comedians Mike Drucker who writes for Jimmy Fallon, and Peter Sagal of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" fame on NPR.  Of course there are other famous folks with the ''disease."  ( I don't know why but I don't like to call it that.  Sounds like something inside you is deteriorating and that ain't happening!)    There's Alan Alda, Dick Cavett, Judy Garland and Sir Laurence Olivier.  And of course the most recent sad story, Robin Williams...

Anyway, something Andy Richter said resonated with me.  He said he looks at sunsets and wonders if others see them the same way he does, in sort of an existential way.  Man, do I get that.  The existential piece is the heaviest symptom.  And I'll have to write a post on that another day.

Meanwhile, i'm thinking of putting together my own show somehow.  Dunno, a podcast or just some interviews.  Not sure.  But I do love talking to people and understanding their story.  There's something there...

Regarding my 23andme results, I did get them back and reviewed with my ND.  She found a couple glaring omissions in the things my body metabolizes like folate and choline.  So I started on a couple new supplements and actually felt better physically yesterday.  I'm really hoping this ramps up to a solution.  I'll write more about the results as they come in.  And, fingers crossed, i'll continue to feel better!  

I'm sending love, positive power and light to all of you, my friends.