One of my pet peeves about “recovery,” is that there is an underlying unspoken message that unless you’re grateful, you’re not getting “it.” I belonged to a Facebook site that had to do with depression. This nice lady put up this mantra, you know one of those “truths,” about life.
I always struggle with mantras, of axiomatic perfection and grace in life that people want to hold onto. Statements like “Everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be,” or “Acceptance is the key.” The problem I have with things like this is they’re all expressed through the unspoken duality of this culture.
This nice lady puts up this axiomatically “spiritual” statement and I post a little response saying, “I disagree with this. It shaming and condescending.” So the bleeding deacons of the Facebook site decide to come on and tell me that no matter what I think this axiomatic spiritual mantra is still “true.”
“If the ship is veering into the iceberg with a gaping hole in the hull, and you cross your legs and meditate–is that where you’re supposed to be?”
I don’t like telling somebody that if they’re not grateful that they won’t find happiness in the future. Because I don’t know what’s going to happen for anybody else in the future.
So this other lady comes on the site and says that statements like the axiomatic statement, “that if she is not grateful now, she wont find happiness in the future,” makes her feel suicidal. The message is that she has to suck it up and be grateful or that something is wrong with her?
This other lady, who doesnt like the axiom then writes, wait a minute, people are suffering tremendously and you want them to be grateful or they wont be happy in the future? That she has to be grateful now even though her world is fucking hell, or she won’t find happiness in the future?
I pointed out to the group, and got a lot of criticism for it, that not all people are going to see the statement that if you’re not grateful for what you have today then nothing in the world is going to bring you happiness in the future as being positive, as being helpful.
Hillman talks about the same thing, that why are we in denial about what the hell is going on around us? Don’t tell people that you meet only on the Facebook site that if they’re not grateful now for what they have that they won’t find happiness in the future. That’s criticism. It’s duality. It’s poison, it’s toxic.
“Isn’t that an insult to everyone else on the ship? Isn’t that a denial of what’s happening?”
Someone came on this blog the other day and posted a comment to something I wrote, saying that I should think about writing things that are more positive. I wish I was able to be happy joyous and free all the time. There are a lot of wonderful things in the world that I see and know.
I’m really glad that “my” Oakland A’s are in first place today. That brings a smile to my face because I’ve been following the Oakland A’s since 1968. I see a beautiful mountain out my window right now and I am more grateful than ever that the Ggods have allowed me to sit in this position.
But I also see my friends dying. I see people with over 30 years sobriety wanting to commit suicide. I see my friends and my family suffering. Not just physical suffering, but more than anything else psychologically and emotionally suffering. Isolated. Afraid. Alone.
When I hear souls cry, when I hear my friends suffer, when I suffer like I sometimes do isn’t my job to do something about it? Isn’t it all of our jobs to say that what we are doing is not working? That we are more alone than ever. That we are more afraid than ever. As a culture and as individuals.
Like Hillman says, it’s not about getting healthy any more, it’s about survival. That sucks!
Please include my friend Ajaytao, who provides this blog free of charge with over 90% of the photos used here for free, in your prayers tonight. Thanks
123 RV, JW, SA, BT, PH, Pam, Terry, Renee!
Thanks Cindy, for the Hawk! The quotes are from an interview James Hillman did in 2007.