It is Holy Week here in Orthodox Greece and these days call many people for peace and reflection.
Believing in Christianity or not, we cannot help but acknowledge that for those who believe this week it is a series of rituals with many important messages. I therefore wanted to refer to one of these messages that I consider to be more present and important because of its humane nature.
For me every religion is about humanity, it is an existential 'proposition' about how a person can live his life, what is the meaning of it, what is there after the earthly life and so on.
At the risk of sounding like a priest, the message I keep from Easter is the direction of attention to the resurrection.
Whatever kind of life one has chosen to live, it has her worries, anxieties, reflections, difficulties, joys, achievements, sorrows etc, that is the complex wave of life. In this constant busyness and alternation we may not have the time or energy to locate (i.e. find the space) for other things that are not obvious at first glance and be present at the forefront.
The intention of this article is to draw the attention, albeit briefly, on these things that exist and we do not often look at. It may be a desire that we want to fulfil but we never find time and energy for it, it can be a conversation with ourselves that we avoid, it can be a behaviour we repeat and we do not know exactly why, and whatever else that might be.
Everything we feel, think, desire acquires the importance we give to it. If we do not pay attention to it then either is being resolved as not important (having fulfilled its role) or it remains dormant, inactive, dead. In the second case, we end up continue living- with more or less consciousness of- with something dead in us, which can with its decay touch and other previously 'healthy' parts.
In this very resurrection I refer to...
To the one that we realise that something within us is dead and we have the choice of either let it be removed from our organism, or bringing it back to life by activating it, giving it meaning even for the first time, doing something about it in the same way we give food to our bodies in order to remain alive.
Everything in order to stay alive and healthy or to revive require some kind of 'food' which might be showing care, express feelings, show attention, acts of love, interest etc. Often by simply acknowledging what is happening to us or why we are doing something, it may be enough to feel some relief and continue the flow of energy within us.
Nature teaches us every year through the cyclic process of seasons how birth, blossom, death and rebirth are part of the cycle of life.
Always seeking the completion and the expansion of consciousness, days like this I cannot not recover the forgotten and significant, the unspeakable, the things that exist in the room and somehow need to be arranged in the space. By giving them the meaning we want to give them we can maximum the space that is available to us and have all our parts active and ready to be used. This might not be easy and may require acceptance, forgiveness and change within.
For all these things that are waiting to become alive again or to be lived for the first time, like children who want to play freely after school with only an open heart.
This article stems from my recent observations, findings and experiences that I wanted to share as such and less as thought provoking reflections (as if there should be a distinction between the two).
In theory we know that each one of us is special, who consists of combinations of different genes, thoughts, emotions, behaviours, experiences etc. In practice, however, we tend to put people into categories, to say such a group behaves in a certain way and another group in a different way; to a certain extent it has proved useful, in order to somehow understand people and the world. Moreover, it has been useful in science to understand that what happens in one's body occurs in others' too, so the impact of a particular surgery will be the same in more than one patient. But maybe the result will not be the same.
Based on my experience in learning about mental health drugs, while common effects are observed, the overall effects vary from person to person. So no matter how much we try to simulate an average person, he will always be relative and escape the absolute definition.
When we say that each one of us is special and unique means that each person exists or experiences something completely unique at any given moment in terms of kind, quality and intensity that cannot be compared to anything else that ever existed or will ever be again. There will clearly be similarities with other experiences, but two occurrences, for example, of the same surgery can never be identified as the same.
Staying with such a realisation everyone will have their own thoughts, senses, worries, reflections etc. By staying with this thought we may realise a great deal about our lives, e.g. how worthy we all are as a mixture of matter, energy, life, God, how reasonable it is to feel alone when others do not exactly understand us or how much we need to explain our experience for someone else to understand us.
I personally do not think it is one of the easy discoveries that someone can make and assimilate, but it is still purely personal.
Many times writing these articles and indirectly describing something I have experienced myself or noticed or want to express, I realise that other people may have experienced or noticed the same, opposites or different things.
So I often wonder how much we actually allow ourselves to hear something outside of ourselves and how much we think we know or understand others. If, for example, while listening to someone describing one of their experiences, it reminds us of a similar experience then it is highly probable that we will not hear that piece of information shared by the other that will not be in line with our own respective experience.
What ςe know of ourselves (as research from the field of consciousness informs us) derives from our memories, as our present moment is a continuous invention of ourselves.
Obviously speaking from a specific position and experience that of a psychotherapist (and of a person with the interest and temperament to become one ), I frequently have the honour of being a witness and a participant in the hidden and profound worlds of people. Of the things they fear, those that they have never been revealed before, those that were never recognised as desires, meanings and dreams, those who seek to be resolved by the entanglement that have been wrapped around over the years.
Every time I am amazed at the uniqueness with which life is expressed through each person.
When a person simply narrates, describes, expresses, communicates with sincerity and truth the complexity of all that she feels, experiences, thinks, lives there there is no ugliness but only beauty and art, there is no judgement of good and evil but only love, there is no right and wrong but only understanding.
It's like someone is watching a rainbow and consciously trying to forget that it's not related to the rain that just preceded it.
How one becomes aware, connected and manages the uniqueness of himself and others, is yet another personal question...
This article rather arises from a deeper need to understand and express what is related to heart and love.
Perhaps everyone to some extent has experienced a deep enthusiasm, falling in love with a person (or maybe with one thing, activity etc). We see in that person something that interests us and we want to get in touch with him and to a degree to make it our own. We recognise in him qualities that we appreciate and we fall blindly in a game of revenge, risk, connection, effort, battle, naivety in the new unknown territory that attracts us.
Of course, like anything else in our lives we do not choose it randomly. We may not be fully aware of the reasons why we chose it, but there are always reasons.It's like going to school, if we knew how to write, we wouldn't have to go to school. So we live things, precisely because we have to learn from them about ourselves, about others, the world and life.
Just like at school, there are lessons that we follow and learn from them with more pleasure than others depending on our temperament and interests.
From my own experience in life, the biggest lessons (mainly those concerning our own existence) are learned with a lot of pain and the reason is simple. When someone's going through a surgery to fix something in his organs, he needs anaesthesia so it doesn't hurt. The exact same thing is when someone 'grows' emotionally or spiritually, he passes through the respective 'surgery' procedure where something is being removed, something is added and incorporated in order for the person to incorporate the lesson, this new information. Thus, it acquires what I call 'new (emotional) body)' or ' shell', until the next time it breaks again.
This is the perpetual movement, change and evolution of life.
I am among those people who believe that the canvas of our lives consists of lessons that we learn through experiences.Everything we do we do it because we want to feel good, to fulfil a need, to feel in a certain way, etc.
So when we fall in love with a human being, we are voluntarily willing to experience ourselves differently in our lives, in a way that we are not accustomed to being and doing. While we wore a certain costume and played a few specific roles, all of a sudden we can change costumes, scenery and play various roles together with someone else. Like in a free fall, we become a perpetual stranger along with someone else whose adrenaline derives from the experience of self flexibility.
Like all things in life (pleasant and not) they end some time and there begins the question whether the 'game' will continue or not. For some people the answer is automatically 'no' because they continuously want to have this intense adrenaline rush. So they're going to orient themselves to finding the next partner for the experience.
Other people may perceive this experience as random and unexplained and let it perish as mysteriously as it came struggling to find a balance between their sanity and logic and this frantic feeling.
Other people may feel that these experiences do not happen to them very often and want to continue the contact and emotion with the person for whom they felt them.
It's not an easy thing to accept, but a characteristic of falling in love is that we like the other's desire for us and the effect we have on him. If a relationship remains in this aspect which is the bait,the stickiness of the honey, then it will not be able to sustain itself in this form for a long time, because at some point the person who is falling will meet the ground.
If people want more than this adrenaline, then falling in love can be transformed into love. And that's where most relationships end because we expect them to be maintained on the same terms. To love someone does not have the goal to make the other who we want them to be and vice versa. Loving someone means being free as adults to love one another for who they are, to ask for what we want and to have the option to accept or refuse and vice versa, to continue to evolve in parallel with the other and to deeply share the lessons and journeys of our lives.
Love calls for much more vulnerability, maturity, enquiry, honesty, dedication than the party of excitement of falling in love.This is why it is much more difficult to achieve. Love calls for continuous voluntary surgeries to cure and evolve ourselves within the safe environment of a trusting relationship.
But Let's not misunderstand love with flattery.
Love does not keep anyone free and limited, does not judge and criticise anyone for his past, present and future, it does not condemn anyone for his choices and actions in moments of strength and weakness. Love appreciates, understands, forgives and embraces seeing beauty in everything because it knows that perfection and imperfection are two sides of the same coin, that of existence.
The heart as the vehicle of love does not make mistakes and always chooses someone that it can learn from.
I am wondering how often do we let ourselves listen to and follow our hearts?
Some time has passed since the last article and this was because sometimes it requires silence and time for assimilation rather than expression.
In this article I want to discuss something that it concerns me and a lot of people, it's the 'letting go' of something. This may be an idea, a situation, a job, a dream, a person, a relationship, a habit etc.
I believe that everything that we 'hold on' start from an interest, a bit of curiosity for something that moves us and interests us. Let's not forget that we are primarily made up of energy that is either spent, either stored in our system. If we follow this interest and get the information or experience that we want from it, then we create what the corresponding therapy says, a gestalt, a comprehensive total that is more than just the sum of its parts.
So, having experienced this whole for something specific, we can go on to the next interest. These interests could be whatever we do in our lives be something very complex to something very simple.
Imagine, in other words, while we brush our teeth at the same time to attempt to cook, try to dress up and talk on the phone. We would probably feel frustrated and dissatisfied that maybe we did not do any of the tasks with the competence and pleasure that we would have liked because we were trying to squeeze them all in at the same time.
The completion, that is, of any act, energy etc that we do with relative sufficiency, brings satisfaction and pleasure.
There are things we cling onto intensely or for a long time e.g. a job, a relationship, a goal. Over time (as much or as little) we may forget or lose our attention from the reason why we were initially interested in that particular thing. This reason (or reasons) is more related to us and less to the thing itself. It Is our gestalt that, of course, concerns something external but its home is within us.
If, therefore, the external circumstances, information, and responses that are being received change, can our original interest change? For some things, maybe so, for others, it maybe not. If, for example, we just got our first job as a lawyer and the company we work for doesn't appreciate us, then it doesn't mean that the law profession doesn't suit us but maybe we either have to ask for changes in our working terms and conditions or change company.
The principle is the same for any area we are concerned with, of relationships, work, goals, etc.
Each one of us is unique in the world and it has his own value and shines on her own, whether we recognise it or not, whether it is recognised by others or not.
This glow looks like a spotlight when we show who we are,what we want, what's important to us. We cannot control whether the others recognise it, but we can control whether we recognise it.
If we do not recognise it then we will remain in jobs and situations that will not appreciate us for whatever reason, in relationships that will ask us to change (or we will ask the other to change), in projects that we will never be enough to fulfil.
Our individual value and preciousness is not relative depending on the environment. This is the external view of the preciousness through the eyes of someone else who will always be relative. Here I'm talking about the worthiness and preciousness of someone's existence.
The process of 'letting go' is a complex and painful process, as we must opt out or transform something that has been of interest and of value to us. We often get prematurely disconnected from people and situations because it feels almost impossible for us to enter a vulnerable position and say how we feel, what we think and what we want as responsible adults (not so much for the other but to ourselves because it shows who we are recognising ourselves the rights to ask for what we want from our environment – and maybe we get it or maybe not).
If we have not tried enough to achieve healthy interdependence or understand enough about what we are attached to and why we want to 'let go', then attempts at detachment will be unsuccessful and will bring more pain.
If, for example, we remain in the job that we do not feel appreciated, after we have expressed what we want, waiting to be appreciated and feeling angry when it is not done, then we suffer in utopia waiting for something to change in the other, while essentially we need to change how we look and behave towards ourselves. On the way to adulthood we often transfer the responsibility to the other for the things we do not do for ourselves.
Along with the pain of loss (real or mental separation from a part of ourselves), when 'letting go' is done consciously and from the heart, is essentially based on the longing for freedom, on the choice towards a healthier relationship with oneself and with others and on the acknowledgement of his preciousness.