The Spectrum of Being
''The wound is the place where the Light enters you.'' Rumi
.. And there comes the time where one is being called to be completely honest and transparent towards themselves first and, secondly, to others. We can not keep indefinitely turning our eyes away and keep lying to ourselves..
This post was inspired by the beautiful and inspiring documentary 'Crazywise' which Phil Borges and Kevin Tomlison have sensitively and with brutal honesty created. I strongly recommended to watch it, if you find it somewhere around the world: https://crazywisefilm.com/. It factually links mental health diagnosis, crisis and symptoms to its true origin..spirituality! and how different cultures choose to respond to it. I feel that movies like this one should be shown to every human being in this world, especially to the westerners.
The movie included for me all (or most of them, anyway) the narratives, experiences, facts, processes, perceptions, intuition and feelings from all the years that I have been working in mental health and as a therapist.
It really moved me and brought tears to my eyes again (this time via the screen) of how, mainly the western culture, has projected all its 'weaknesses', all it 'dislikes', all its 'fears' and 'ugliness' onto 'mentally ill' people.
'They are the ones who are sick, not us', 'Schizophrenic people are dangerous', 'He is crazy, stay away', 'Dont listen to her, she is a manipulative, she has biopolar' and uncountable other opinions go around for 'mentally ill' people'.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) for Mental Disorders written by the American Psychiatric Association and followed by almost all the western countries, has been continually questioned by scientists who actually dare to be honest to their own selves and ask the question: 'Where is the evidence for all this?'. None or very little is the answer.
Let me put that straight, every day hundreds of people are being diagnosed and possibly hospitalised (some of them without their consent) and heavily dedicated on the basis that there is some chemical imbalance in their brain with no evidence that this is the case as there is no test done to this person to measure the assumed imbalance!!
You are probably not very surprised as you hear everyday about 'crimes' against living organisms, so we kind of become numb and inactive.
Try to think though for a moment of someone you know, family, relative, friend, acquaintance who you know they experience or had periods of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, some sort of paranoia, the all very famous voices; what are your thoughts and feelings about that person: 'oh, poor him, he is ill', 'how sad, she didnt finish her degree', 'I always knew there was something 'wrong' with her' you might think. And this is the point where you are deeply involved psychically..
There are situations and fats in life that can be traumatic or extremely painful that can actually shatter ones' own perception of themselves and the world, sense of safety and security, worthiness of love and belonging, everything that makes us 'functional' beings to live 'normal' lives (while I am writing that these terms are already outdated).
The moment one uses the terms 'functional' and 'normal', then the spectrum of people's experiences becomes limited, with boundaries. Then, you have the 'functional' and the 'non functional' people, the 'normal' and the 'abnormal', the 'healthy' and the 'sick ' ones, the 'need-to-be helped' and the 'helpers'.
What about all these people who maintain a 'normal' job and drawn their sorrows or take drugs every other day (or even every day)? Oh yes, they are having fun..
What about those who have got a 'normal' family and they do not show any affection to their partner and children? that's true, they have a career and provide for the family..
What about those how have 'normal' lives and they abuse (verbally, physically, emotionally, through neglect etc) others. that's right, that was not actually abuse..
Hurtful and traumatic experiences are not objective experiences..
The whole life experience indeed is not an objective experience; it is a subjective one..
People might be hurt and traumatised, especially in younger, more forming ages, by things that would not touch you, but they did touch them because that is what makes Them. They are unique and special because they like different things, feel and think different things, love different things, have a different body, chemistry and soul.
Regardless how different we all are, we do have the same basic needs: we all want to be respected, loved, valued, appreciated, believed, understood, explored, cared for for who we are (which is constantly changing anyway) and not for what others think we are.
Life and definitely healing happen in relationship, nothing exists in isolation. I was inspired (or even guided) to write this post because I watched the movie. The directors of the movie were inspired by the stories of the people they heard and created the movie and so on..
We all touch one another all the time in so many ways that we can not even fully imagine (yet)!
Who we think and feel we are ourselves has a continuous and direct impact on how we view the world, how we operate in it, how do we feel about others, who do we choose to relate to (consciously or unconsciously) and how.
Thus, until take the brave step to really see ourselves for who we truly are, to acknowledge, curiously listen to, respect, love and share our deepest fears, pains, anxieties, difficult feelings (including, shame and guilt);
until we are ready to let go of stories, scripts, scientific illusions and behavioural patterns and roles;
until we allow ourselves to experience, understand, accept and worship that light does not exist without dark;
until then, we will be the 'normal' ones and someone else will be the 'ill' one and the one who suffers and has got problems.
until then, we will continue to ignore that being 'broken', hurt, wounded, traumatised admittedly is another face of life that does happen and can lead to a deeper knowledge of what it means to be human, spiritual, alive.
until then, we will live our 'functional' lives within our predefined Spectrum of Being, losing out on the curses and gifts that lie on the other side of the fence..
..The choice is yours!
Working with people in one to one therapy, in this sacred, deep and intimate space we inevitably encounter one's own whole being. That includes an exploration of the present situation and its roots to the past, namely the past that still lives within, and if unconscious and unprocessed, it still reenacts itself in present relationships, work situations, activation of potentiality and other areas.
Thus, inevitably, one comes across some painful moments that has experienced and arrive into some difficult realisations about the environment one grew up in, if it was attentive, understanding, nurturing to one's qualities and interests, loving, caring, compassionate, forgiving, stimulating, hurtful, abusive, neglecting and much more. Based on these experiences one would form feelings towards the primary care givers, family members, siblings and subsequently would form beliefs for oneself and the mould of how the world is and works. Based on those feelings and beliefs for ourselves, others and the world, we drive and continue living our 'adult' life.
If there were many painful situations then we form patterns of behaviour that keeps us safe, we fear to try anything new and form relationships, we feel less and not enough, we feel hate and shame towards ourselves, just to name a few. If we had mainly positive experiences that we have to anything to maintain the status, we can not fail, can not break up, can not feel unwell or low and many others.
Regardless if these early experiences are positive and/or negative, nurturing and/or abusive, they form part of our programming. We feel we are this person who does x and z, who likes and dislikes the a and b, who has these strengths and that weaknesses, who can and can not do certain things. This is the Limiting Narrative, the collection, the books upon books of all the things we are and are not, who form our sense of self, our identity, our face and 'body' shown to the world. The more attached we are to this Narrative the more we make choices and decisions that will evoke results that will enforce that Narrative. If I feel I did not get much love from my parents, they did not understand me or they favoured one of my siblings, then I will probably get a sense of self that is not worth to be understood and loved and it is less worth than others. Consequently, I will feel that no one values me enough to be with me or understands me or that I am enough for that person or that I deserve to get that job even though many other people have applied for it. The cycle repeats itself and we are trapped within that Narrative of our identity of who we are and what kind of lives we are living.
As we progress with our lives we sometimes naturally do things that we would be terrified of doing in the past, like going to interviews, try a new hobby, talk to strangers, flirt that cute person at the opposite table and yet at these moments we break that identity, that closed circle of all the things we have been telling ourselves that we can and can not do; at these moments (and hopefully the ones following these) we form a 'new' identity which can resemble more, little or not at all of the previous one.
At these moments we are starting getting a glimpse or start developing our Creative Narrative. At these moments we get in contact with something deep inside that tell us that 'there is a bigger me' and later 'a bigger me' and another 'bigger me' and how big is big can be limitless. De-attaching from the previous identity can be a painful experience as in order to break that previously complete circle one has to experience pain and maybe after pain comes the unknown where we do not know exactly how we are going to take the next step, what is going to look like, it can be scary and disorientating but deep inside we know that we want to take that step and follow that bigger sense of self.
Having a Narrative as human beings at some level is part of our nature, it keeps as human, within a story from our past which can be extended to many past lives we can make sense of some of our experiences and put them within a context. I am sure you have heard people referring to themselves a few years back that what they did was part of another life and yet it was within the same lifetime as we call it.
Following the Creative Narrative we can consciously create a flexible framework, almost a flexible self that keeps exploring itself all the time, keeps trying and failing, keeps being curious about its core and existence, keeps enjoying the pain that comes with the excitement and discovery. Yes, there might be specific lessons that we came to experience and learn in this lifetime but there will not be any lessons, any growth, any expansion if we are hanging on and tightly attached onto our Limiting Narrative, our programming, the way that some people once thought we were, the way that we once believed we were (and maybe for good reasons if we were to survive abusive environments).
Change is an inevitable component of life; everything is in constant change and if we might not wish to do anything different, sooner or later life will challenge us to try something new and then we have got a choice of which Narrative we are going to follow or create.
Every moment is a subtle invitation to the Creative Narrative and from a humble, painful and joyful place I invite you now to create your own next story about yourselves, your next circle that will break for the bigger, infinite 'You' to appear.
Happy New Year to everyone!!
Every year we seem to want to feel different about ourselves and lives; 'it will be a better year', 'I want this to go and that to come', 'let the happiness in and the hard times go' etc.
Every new year there seems to be amongst people a new hope for things to get better, to finally achieve the long standing wishes and goals, to become our new, better selves. We set resolutions, we make wishes, we gear ourselves towards big changes such as quit smoking, change job, make more money, move to a bigger house, find our lifetime (or many life times) partner etc.
Change is an inevitable part of our lives, of 'who we are' and as a matter of fact of the nature of the world. We are definitely not the same as we were when we were born and not the same a year ago or even yesterday. Constant change whether we like it or not happens all the time, regardless if we are choosing it or not. Of course we enjoy the ones we plan and achieve and we are reluctant, fearful and uncertain about the ones that 'happen to us' without necessarily having much control over them. Accepting that both exist and have their own merit provides us with the freedom to chose if we want to fight, resist, follow or facilitate them. Being oneself in this world will never be a 'smooth', 'easy', 'straightforward' ride; the world is not solely made out of comfort and ease these are not its purpose anyway.
This and every (new) year might bring many nice, positive, pleasant things and some unpleasant, negative and not so nice things. You do not get to choose all of them but you get to choose how you respond to them. I know, it is the cliche which points out that 'shit happens' and we have somehow the power and responsibility to 'make them work', 'to integrate them' into our lives and learn to live with them or make something out of them. Any change can affect significantly the way we see, understand and experience ourselves, others and our lives. But why change can be so difficult?
We are all used to our own ways of being, doing, thinking, understanding and all these constitute the 'I'; 'I am, I do this, I think, I feel, I know, I understand, I see'. Change challenges the 'I' by presenting us with something different (a situation, an experience, a person, a feeling) that we do not know and unsettles us from what we are used to. The full scheme, circle of what we are and what we are not breaks and we encounter 'the unknown', 'the other' that invites us to recognise the otherness and relate to it.
My first though and message for 2018 is that being oneself is all we have at this very moment.. and it will change. So love it and be with it, it will soon be a past that you might not be able to relate to. Accepting, being and loving oneself now is an act of wholeness, because we are going to break again and again on order to grow and expand. And if we wont choose it, life will break us; nothing stays the same. If you are longing for something to change than work towards it, work hard and love every single step of that process as every step is the whole within the whole. It is the part that you can not miss and if you try to miss then it will be coming back again and again until you accept it. It almost feels like we are all moving consciously or unconsciously towards wholeness, towards acceptance of everything, even the worst of our nightmares (mainly our worst nightmares) as real as a potentiality as the possibility that might not necessarily happen to us but it can happen to the person next to us. It doesn't matter, because in any case we will be affected; every change affects all of us and our response affects it back.
Every single word we say to ourselves and to others affects us and them equally. If you hate a part of you or someone else (consequently liking more another part), then you are favouring something over something else whist all is life, all is change, every single part is a part of the wholeness of your temporary 'I', of the 'I' of the other, of the 'I' of the world that you either accept and flow with, either it will come back (in this or any other life). It will come back until you accept and love it equally.