Sunday, October 3, 2010

Getting Better at Being Lost

Today I read in a book by Philip Sutton Chard that psychotherapy and other healing modalities all help us to be better at being lost, but that we are still, for the most part, lost.

I feel this applies to me very succinctly.

In the past, say, six years, I have learned a lot about how to successfully navigate my way through this world. I still don't really feel at home though, and depression inevitably returns when there is a pause in my life between activity, connecting with friends, and the occupations of school and labor.

What is depression? Is it a chemical imbalance, as drug companies would have us believe? Or is it a sign that we are out of touch with our unmet needs, as Marshall Rosenberg writes in Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life?

Or is depression simply a sign that there is something amiss in the context within which our lives take place? Mightn't it be normal to feel depressed when other beings, to whom we are intimately connected whether we see it or not, are suffering as well? Could it be that depression is a "natural" effect of drinking toxic water, eating toxic food, and breathing toxic air?

This is what the authors of some of my current reads imply. And I am not saying they are right or wrong. It meets my need for truth on some level though.

Today I was napping in bed after getting little sleep the night before, then awaking early to rock climb at Bald Rock, outside of Oroville. I awoke from my nap feeling as funky as I had when I fell asleep. I had no idea what to do with myself. I felt no motivation to do anything, so I just laid there. I asked myself, what should I do when I don't feel like doing anything? Fulfill obligations? (Homework, housecleaning, etc.). That was no motivation to get up. Pleasure myself? As if I don't do that enough. Read? I get more than enough sensory input.

Somehow I thought of what my mentor at U of Earth would say: Go wandering! Tell the trees and birds how you feel, be engaged with the more-than-human world. It got me up.

I stopped to get some seaweed salad on the way, remembering how delicious it is and how a recent Tarot reading I was given included a suggestion to eat more green things. By the time I got to the park it was getting dark, so I didn't stay long. I ate my seaweed salad by the public pool, not a very wild place, but safer at night. I read a chapter in The Healing Earth, and that is where I learned of this idea that most of the tools that have been offered and shared in psychotherapy and personal growth and healing communities have helped us cope with being lost, but have not helped us to actually find our way.

It meant something to me at the time. Now I feel doubtful. What would it be like to feel at home, in place, to truly have a sense of belonging? How many generations has it been in my family since one of my ancestors felt that? The nearest one of my ancestors who felt that sense of belonging was probably in the Cherokee line, which is a small pinch of my genetic make-up. The rest is European, and Europeans have been civilized (and by that I mean psycho-spiritually removed from the natural order of things) for many, many generations. Except perhaps the Irish. Something about living on an island seemed to help them keep their magic alive.

Hmm. Maybe its time to look into my ancestral roots. To see where I have been before I try to figure out where I'm going.

Wow. I wasn't expecting that idea to come out of this tangent.

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