“…and the fear of living for nothing strangles your will.”(1) These lyrics are the only thing that spoke to me recently. I have tried 20 times to write a post and gotten bogged down in the analysis of the situations I have experienced recently and stopped.(Damn Brainiac) Because no matter how much I learn, or experience, or think about, there is a gnawing energy that seems to linger right below my conscious that keeps me from truly experiencing life the way I desire to.* Because as James Hillman said, “The soul wants it’s images to be enjoyed and respected.” At many levels I struggle to project my soul’s images. So I will just tell you about a few experiences I had recently.
I was flying the other day on a flight that was sparsely populated. As is my way, I started talking to the stewardess. Her name was Lisa and she lived in Burnit, Texas.(I cant forget that name) She was about 60 with beautiful flowing gray hair and a smile which said how much she wanted and needed to love! She sat across the aisle of the airplane from me and we talked for about 15 minutes. The pleasantries completed, somehow we got onto the topic of mental illness. I shared my personal experience and Lisa opened up and told me that at least half of the stewardesses and pilots who worked for this large airline were in a support group for depression and anxiety and that she knew many of her peers who were taking medication for “mental health,” issues. When I am in a situation like I was with Lisa from Burnit, Texas, I mostly try to just listen. Because more than anything, I try to observe her in such a way to try and “hear,” her tell me with her expressions and body language about her suffering. Lisa did. She would always rely on her million dollar smile when it got a little scary, but she told me about her suffering in her life and where it came from. We had a wonderful conversation and I remember I was taken aback(why I keep thinking the suffering is not across the board) slightly when our chat ended.
‘Nothing isolates us more than power and prestige.”(2) Lisa was telling me about what she did in her prior life and how becoming a stewardess gave her the economic success she desired, yet she realized that she paid a high price for it. She was never home, her friends drifted away(because she was never home) and her life had become something that she didn’t imagine it would become. Lisa told me that she had just recently gotten into rescuing horses and donkeys who had been abused and that she derived the most satisfaction just from watching the animals learn that they had a safe place to be on her ranch out there in Burnit, Texas!
“You are more than what you think you are.”(3) I also met another new friend this past week. As per usual during our first shared coffee, a lot of “stuff,” came out. It is always amazing to me that when I meet someone new who I am “attracted to,” I open up. What I realized when talking with this friend how much it is that I wanted to connect with her. Not in the “oh my Ggod fix my life,” kind of way. I found myself yearning for the shared smile and more than anything else, the sharing of the humanness that we all seem to carry around but try really hard not to let others know about.
But what I was truly in awe of was her willingness to give up her life to care for her sister, whose bi-polar disorder debilitated her. Now I know she didn’t give up her life in the total sense, but she said something that floored me. She said, “what else can I do, she is my sister.” To me she is truly the hero. I write here and try to help the struggling alcoholic who suffers from “mental illness,” but I did not give up my life and at some level a sense of comfort to live with someone who is unstable and lives in a lot of fear.( I dont count!!)
123 RW, JZM, JulizaRose, SA, TS, JW!
(1) Jackson Browne The Fuse * I have got a good idea where this comes from, but this post is not about analysis (2) Carl Jung (3) James Hillman from a talk listened to that he did with Dr. Fraser Crane at Pacifica Graduate Institute