When the Sun Rose Again

Smile Fondly

In the end, the only way you can appreciate your progress is to stand on the edge of the hole you dug for yourself, look down inside it, and smile fondly at the bloody claw prints that marked your journey up the walls.

Ryan Holiday, Ego is the Enemy

You Are NOT Your Pain

cancerofthesoul

Depression is a cancer of the soul.

Yet you are not it.

No cancer patient is cancer.

barnacles

Depression is barnacles encrusted around a boat’s hull. After a while, they seem and feel like a part of the ship.

But they aren’t.

With effort, they may be scraped off, revealing the boat underneath.

5

So with depression and anxiety and fear and doubt.

You’ve worn it like a coat of armor. Now, it feels inseparable from you.

But it’s NOT you.

armor

Take a deep breath.

IMG_1334

Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

 

Then, look at your pain.

Hold it up to the light like a fascinating scientific specimen.

Turn it this way and that.

jeanettewalls

  • What is its shape?
  • How does it smell?
  • What is its texture? Is it jagged or smooth?
  • Is it heavy or light? Can you lift it? Throw it?
  • Does it fit in the palm of your hand or stretch out beyond the horizon?
  • If you threw it in a lake, would it float?
  • If you spun it on its axis, would it wobble?
  • If you served it on a plate, what would be the condiments?

tastyjuicy

I know, I know: those last few are a bit strange! If you want, come up with your own ways of interacting with your pain.

The point, in a nutshell, is this:

If you can interact with your pain…

…then you and it are not the same!

And if you and it are not the same…

…then it need not rule you.

claim your freedom

With time and work and guidance, you will make space for your pain.

You will cradle it tenderly, grateful for all it has taught you.

At last, when you are ready, you’ll

let

it

go.

 

Unfold

aristotleacorn

Pick a tree.

Now, look at it. Really look at it.

Imagine being it.

go on

Imagine being a tiny acorn, a lifetime of potential encased in its shell.

Imagine sprouting.

Growing.

Evolving.

Imagine doing so effortlessly, without struggle or exertion.

acorntotree

It is just you…unfolding.

trust unfolding

Every time you see a tree, trust this.

Trust that you, too, are unfolding.

Trust that you, too, are becoming who you are.

Trust that your struggles are just growing pains, plus the occasional thunderstorm.

tree on cliff

Breathe.

Trust.

Unfold.

 

 

 

Most People Don’t Give A Shit (And That’s A Good Thing!)

When in pain, it may seem like others just flat-out don’t care.

Good news: they don’t!

Uhhh…how is that good news?

mybrainisfulloffuck

Good question.

It’s not that others don’t think they care.

Most of us see ourselves as authentically compassionate, authentically empathetic, authentically…well, authentic.

But are we?

When you pick up any self-help book, listen to any motivational tape, or get fired up by the words of a motivational speaker…whose voice are you hearing?

The author’s or speaker’s, obviously.

But here’s the thing…

wait for it

What you’re actually hearing is an amalgam of their upbringing, training, life experiences, anything and everything they’d ever read or heard or seen or were told by parents, friends, teachers, loved ones, advertisements, radio DJs, TV pundits, mentors, lobbyists, politicians, hippie types who detest all of the above

you get the idea.

dude wait what

Good news is, you need not take my word for it!

do tell

When you meditate, tune in to the cacophony of thoughts in your head.

  • To whom do these thoughts belong?
  • Where do they originate?
  • Are any of them truly mine?

Next, focus on the thoughts and opinions you’ve always considered your own. These include positive thoughts (“I’m destined to be a great scientist someday!”) and negative ones (“I am utterly worthless and will never amount to anything“).

  • Examine each one.
  • Trace its origins.
  • Weigh it on a scale.
  • Hold it up to the light, turning it this way and that.

Is it truly, authentically yours?

Or…

did it drift into your awareness from elsewhere, got pulled into your orbit, and eventually passed for your own?

So, so much of what we believe, of what leads us to think and feel and act and pass for autonomous human beings…isn’t even ours!

stopthatrightnow

Ok, you might now say, letting out an exasperated sigh. You’ve made your self-serving, long-winded spiel. Why did you claim that all of this was a GOOD thing?

Here it is:

  • If what drives others to treat you as they do is inauthentic, you need never take it personally. The insults they hurl at you aren’t truly theirs. Tragically, few of them ever realize this. This may fill your heart with compassion towards them, even as you take a firm stand against their behavior.
  • If others may seem not to fully get your pain, it’s because they don’t. How can they, if they don’t fully get themselves? “Their” advice isn’t truly theirs. This, too, may make your heart well up with compassion.

If all that others think, say and do isn’t truly theirs…

…then you need never let ANY of it define you.

That is why it’s a good thing.

 

Depression: The Only Way Out Is Through

FullSizeRender

THERE IS A DOOR.

Gargoyles and gorgons and gremlins stand guard.

The firm hand of trauma or brain chemistry or genetics shoves you through.

The door slams behind you with a deafening clang.

WELCOME

TO

HELL.

THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH.

Gnarled, withered trees and weather-beaten rock formations greet you. Your own psyche, eroded and embittered and erased.

Your memories after centuries of acid rain.

You, you.

Everywhere you look is you.

THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH.

Step.

Step.

Step.

Dead dessicated branches.

Now the slurp-slurp-slurp of a fetid bog.

Sink.

Strain.

        Scream.

Pull yourself out.

Keep going.

THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH.

Trip.

Snap.

 Pain.

Crawlcrawlcrawl. Don’t you DARE stop.

  Crawl.

Scream.

Bleed.

Razor-sharp rocks rend you open, cutting through skin and tendons and bones and fantasies and illusions and the entire protective carapace encrusted around you over a lifetime, made up of trite TV talk and other people’s dreams and anything and everything that you were not, no, never you, always others, barnacles growing on your soul, broadcasting their own truth while yours sits in gaol, weeping.

Cut and scrape open until this carapace of artifice no longer suffices, no longer satisfies.

See and hear and feel your scaffolding crumble around you.

Crawl. Crawl. Crawl.

THE ONLY WAY OUT IS THROUGH.

Ahead: a hulking, merciless slab of stone, stretching beyond sight.

No. NO.

I crawled so far and scraped myself to shreds for THIS?!

Wail.

Shriek.

 Rage.

Pound the wall with your shredded stumps until it’s smeared with blood.

Collapse in a heap as you water the barren soil of self-pity with tears of blood.

With the last of your strength, look up.

The blood smear on the wall is a face.

Your face

 but

 not

 YOUR

  face.

The eyes, the ears, the hideous grin, each horrid brushstroke painted by a doppelganger’s arm.

Horror.

Anger.

Realization.

YOU ARE A CONSTRUCT.

A portrait painted by the people around you.

Other people’s intentions and neuroses and desires encrusted around your soul until your armor became you.

Now, the armor lays strewn about on the battlefield through which your broken, battered carcass crawled.

Realization.

YOU WERE A CONSTRUCT.

What are you now?

NO!

Don’t say it to me.

It’s not my place to know.

Tell your truth to hold its tongue.

Here, at this dead end, your ego decayed and dissolved and your soul naked and raw and free at last…WHISPER YOUR TRUE NAME.

As curtains pulled apart by a gentle hand, the wall moves aside.

At last…you are you again.

Welcome to life.

Vlad Skaletsky, Jr.

A Photographic Journey

Sara in LaLaLand

Welcome to my world.

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