Years ago I counseled a woman who felt very alone in the world. She said: "I feel like my soul is a prism and everyone I know only sees one color, but no one sees the prism." I thought about what she said and have repeated that story many times telling clients and audiences at my lectures that if they want to be a good spouse/lover/friend/parent they must see the prism of the other person's soul.But then I thought about it over the years and realized no one can really that prism. It is ours and really knowable. And the best we can do is to simply no that it is there in ourselves and everyone else.
A colleague once said that the Divine Child is always an orphan. Many people don't experience their orphanhood and many feel it very acutely. If you think about it, and you are able to understand about the prism of peoples souls, you might find yourself in the middle of an orphanage of kindred spirits.
My Inquirer column this past Monday was a description of my Seasonal Affective Disorder. www.philly.com/inquirer/magazine/62303347.html
It was difficult to write because of the self-disclosure involved. I told my readers (and whatever of my patients who read the column) that I had this depression and that it affected my self confidence. It was a little scary because my mind is what people value (for some reason, my remarkable good looks and sensuality get overlooked). Of course you won't be surprised that the feedback I've received has been numerous, positive and filled with gratitude.
I've learned this lesson over the years that vulnerability is inevitable and it is something we all live with. But I have also learned that pretending to be strong when we feel weak can sometimes help us get through a difficult day, and that can be a good thing. But if we make pretending part of our personality, it can be exhausting and put a barrier between us and our lives.
I once learned that being strong meant to be independent. Now I know that being strong means having the courage to look someone in the eye and say "please help me."
Love to hear from you about opening up to our vulnerability or any other issues you struggle with.
Phantom pain is pretty severe I am told. It's not psychological, it's neurological I am told. It's almost as though the body doesn't know the limb is gone and the pain is right where the limb used to be.I think all pain is where yesterday used to be. When you could do your chores quickly and independently, when you didn't have to think about a thousand details in your life, you know -- yesterday.In your brain and your mind are saying "what the hell is going on here, this isn't right." So you get frustrated because your mind/brain still thinks it's supposed to be the same as it was "yesterday".
Your brain will catch up with your body and then today's life will become your life. And when that happens, you won't be frustrated about how long it takes to do your chores. And then you will have room in your brain to be frustrated about all sorts of other things!dg
I missed last week because I was terribly ill with the chest cold and fever. Like the rest of my fellow quadriplegics, I can't cough. Not in any respectable way. And it is worse when I am in bed. So I was pretty sick Monday and Tuesday. And also Wednesday and Thursday. Friday I felt a little better and fever broke. And then I felt sick Saturday and Sunday -- Monday night around six o'clock right before dinner, I went from frustration right through depression to despair. I told a friend that I couldn't do this anymore, this busy career, this caring for friends and relatives (even my daughter who is having a difficult time).
I know what Gottlieb would say, I've been listening to his blather for years. He would say "stop fighting with this moment, it will change on its will, not yours." But what happens when the moment we are in just bites? Psychobabble doesn't work and, frankly, sometimes Gottlieb gets on my nerves.
So I was in bed by 630 last night. No more e-mail, telephone calls or other forms of communication. Done. And some light reading until the Phillies game.
I woke up today just as sick as yesterday and I had to give a 90 minute lecture. I've been coughing all day and coughed my way through the lecture. But no more despair. I am tired and frustrated, but to despair left. For now.
I forgot one of the things Gottlieb says it makes sense:
when you find yourself in hell, go find the bus stop and sit down and wait. Just like any other time we wait for the bus, it could be cold or rainy, we could have an appointment we are late for -- none of that matters because the bus comes when it comes and it always comes.
And that is important to remember because if we find ourselves feeling great, the bus is coming there also.
I stopped making New Year's resolutions long ago and I have not always taken the time to reflect on the previous year. Sometimes yes and sometimes no...this year has been different in so many ways that I have started considering the events of the year. The major learning for me this year is that disability is real and here to stay. I can't exercise it away, pretend it is non-existent, convince others and myself that nothing has changed, escape it through travel.
This has been a year of replacing what I hoped for with what is and learning to address each day as it shows up with it's challenges, ups and downs, and unpredictability. I anticipate the new year to be one of continuing adjustment, discovery, gratitude for the gift of each day, reclaiming life, and finding a place of peace. We'll see how it really unfolds.
"But then peace, peace! I am so mistrustful of it: so much afraid that it means a sort of weakness and giving in."