"Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better.”
―Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
“ So when you realise you’ve gone a few weeks and haven’t felt that awful struggle of your childish self — struggling to lift itself out of its inadequacy and incompetence — you’ll know you’ve gone some weeks without meeting new challenge, and without growing, and that you’ve gone some weeks towards losing touch with yourself. The only calibration that counts is how much heart people invest, how much they ignore their fears of being hurt or caught out or humiliated. And the only thing people regret is that they didn’t live boldly enough, that they didn’t invest enough heart, didn’t love enough. Nothing else really counts at all.
“ When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
In an article for The American Scholar, T. M. Luhrmann presents a new understanding for how to deal with disturbing voices:
“Voices arise when the person is confronted with overwhelming emotional trauma he cannot handle,” Marius Romme explained as he strode across the stage at the Maastricht conference. “We know this.” It is generally agreed that the concept of dissociation was coined by Pierre Janet, as the 19th century turned into the 20th, to describe a disruption in the normally integrated processes of identity, memory, and consciousness.
If it is true that distressing auditory hallucinations are the dissociative consequences of trauma, the implications are enormous. Dissociative disorder has a positive prognosis, one of the most positive in the realm of psychiatric disease, whereas schizophrenia is often thought to have the worst. Dissociative disorder is understood to be a reaction to events in the world; schizophrenia is usually imagined as a largely inherited vulnerability. Dissociation is best treated with therapy and interaction; schizophrenia is assumed to require medication, often heavy. The new way of thinking opens the possibility that people do not hear voices because they are crazy, but that their apparent craziness may be the result of the brain-numbing chaos that can result from hearing voices. It suggests that we can help by teaching people to cope with their voices, rather than viewing the voices as evidence of organic damnation.
“ Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day.
Yes. If you haven’t read this article, it’s not one to be missed.
“ Change is not a bolt of lightning that arrives with a zap. It is a bridge built brick by brick, every day, with sweat and humility and slips. It is hard work, and slow work, but it can be thrilling to watch it take shape.
From The New York Times, The Outsourced Life:
As we outsource more of our private lives, we find it increasingly possible to outsource emotional attachment. A busy executive, for example, focuses on efficiency; his assistant tells me, “My boss outsources patience to me.” The wealthy employer of a household manager detaches herself from the act of writing personal Christmas-present labels. A love coach encourages clients to think of dating as “work,” and to be mindful of their R.O.I. — return on investment, of emotional energy, time and money. The grieving family member hires a Tombstone Butler to beautify a loved one’s burial site.Via Luke
Focusing attention on the destination, we detach ourselves from the small — potentially meaningful — aspects of experience. Confining our sense of achievement to results, to the moment of purchase, so to speak, we unwittingly lose the pleasure of accomplishment, the joy of connecting to others and possibly, in the process, our faith in ourselves.
There is much public conversation about the balance of power between the branches of government, but we badly need to confront the larger and looming imbalance between the market and everything else.
“ To find the universal elements enough; to find the air and the water exhilarating; to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter… to be thrilled by the stars at night; to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring - these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
Pico Iyer on the joy of quiet:
The urgency of slowing down — to find the time and space to think — is nothing new, of course, and wiser souls have always reminded us that the more attention we pay to the moment, the less time and energy we have to place it in some larger context. “Distraction is the only thing that consoles us for our miseries,” the French philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote in the 17th century, “and yet it is itself the greatest of our miseries.” He also famously remarked that all of man’s problems come from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
Weekend in the internet-free zone was good. Always is.
Do you ever take an Internet-free weekend? What does it look like? For me it likely involves spending several days with friends on a farm in north Texas, or camping alone in the woods of a national forest. Either way, it doesn’t happen enough.
“ If we have goals and dreams and we want to do our best, and if we love people and we don’t want to hurt them or lose them, we should feel pain when things go wrong. The point isn’t to live without any regrets, the point is to not hate ourselves for having them… We need to learn to love the flawed, imperfect things that we create, and to forgive ourselves for creating them. Regret doesn’t remind us that we did badly — it reminds us that we know we can do better.
- “An obvious instance is that of ordinary and happy marriage. A man and a woman cannot live together without having against each other a kind of...”
- “Trauma is not just the result of major disasters. It does not happen to only some people. An undercurrent of trauma runs through ordinary life, shot...”
- “While the astronauts, heroes forever, spent mere hours on the moon, I have remained in this new world for nearly thirty years. I know that my...”
- “When people talk listen completely. Don’t be thinking what you’re going to say. Most people never listen. Nor do they observe. You should be able to...”
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