The New York Times article “Let’s Wage a War on Loneliness” talks about how the British government is trying to resolve this spreading problem. https://nyti.ms/2qG3jDK
“Quantum healing is healing the body/mind from a quantum level. That means from a level which is not manifest at a sensory level. Our bodies ultimately are fields of information, intelligence and energy. Quantum healing involves a shift in the fields of energy information, so as to bring about a correction in an idea that has gone wrong. So quantum healing involves healing one mode of consciousness, mind, to bring about changes in another mode of consciousness, body.” by Deepak Chopra
Today is International Children’s Day. I’m thinking of all the children around the world who need to be loved and respected for who they are.
I’m thinking of Janusz Korczak, a Polish-Jewish writer, educator, and advocate for child rights. He was a principal of a children’s home in Warsaw. After Germany occupied Poland he stayed with the children in the Warsaw Ghetto even though he had an opportunity to flee. He chose to stay with the children and died in a Nazi concentration camp giving them the comfort of his love and presence to the end.
The way he spoke about children is something we can appreciate today but nearly a century ago it was considered new and novel:
“Children are not the people of tomorrow, but people today. They are entitled to be taken seriously. They have a right to be treated by adults with tenderness and respect, as equals. They should be allowed to grow into whoever they were meant to be – The unknown person inside each of them is the hope for the future.” Janusz Korczak
Loss is an integral part of our lives. Loss can be understood in so many different ways. Loss of a loved one, loss of one’s health, loss of stability, status, loss of a baby, loss of a possibility of being a parent, loss of being able to repair, to give, to go back in time and to get what you did not …
We all want to avoid loss but it doesn’t matter how cautious or “lucky” we are, no one can escape it. Maybe there is a deep reason for that and maybe it is not all bad. Yes, it’s painful and disruptive but it can give us a chance for significant change in our lives. I believe being in touch with our loss and grief makes us stronger and at the same time more sensitive, more able to connect with ourselves and others in more intimate way.
Loss makes us more human, more related to each other. We can offer more to another suffering soul if we’re actively in touch with our own suffering. If we have experience we can relate and understand others on a deep level. How else can we learn about human experience if not through our own?
Loss and the process of grieving opens areas in us that were undiscovered before, often creative, passionate parts of us that we may not have known existed. These parts make us more honest, bolder. When the walls are falling it’s terrifying but also a relief. We have nothing to lose. It forces us to abandon our old often limited ways and brings us into new territory. It’s a force that we can fight or accept. We may feel confused, out of balance, out of control yet there is something deeply true and meaningful about the experience of loss and mourning.
Is it a relief that we can’t hide when we’re in touch with our loss in the midst of mourning? Maybe, we don’t really want to hide, we want to be seen the way we are. But we’re afraid. What are others are going to think of us? What about our image that we’ve worked on so hard? We can’t appear weak, defeated, or sad, at least not for too long. You can have a difficulties but then you need a success story that follows soon after.
People need to see the true experience of others, where loss is present. Children need to see their parents as real people who have losses and can grieve. This helps them to make sense of their own emotional experiences and gives them relief that they’re not alone.
The presence of an absence
One of my patients never knew what his parents felt and if they felt anything at all. On the outside everything appeared fine, the mother was supportive and reassuring in a flat, confusing way. Even if the patient felt the mother should not agree with him, she would. Father did not speak much, was emotionally unavailable, and busy with his work. He never knew how they felt about him or how they felt about each other. He suspected his father’s frustration and disappointment in him but he could not be sure. He could not develop his own sense of emotional self – he did not know how he felt, or how he supposed to feel since there was nobody there to make sense of his experience. His sibling became mentally ill which he found out about only by accident. It was never talked about. Most of his life he’s been disconnected and lived behind a fog.
He was deprived of experiencing his parent’s emotional life, the truth about how they felt about other people including him, and what they expected from him. Their inability to experience loss and disappointment made it impossible for him to be in touch with his own feelings including his loss. Instead he felt he was missing something, constantly confused about how he felt and how other people saw him. He was convinced that he had nothing to offer to other people.
The loss that he experienced is an absence. In a way the absence of something essential is more difficult to understand and put into words then when there is an evidence of a traumatic experience that people can connect to their suffering.
“Putting loss into words makes the loss real. And being willing to experience loss makes finding language possible.” Alice Jones
The difference between sadness (ex. grieving a loss) and depression is that depression impedes your life and things you do. It doesn’t necessary connect to a specific event and can be triggered by something difficult but persists. It makes it hard or impossible to work and take care of yourself or others, or take pleasure in things you used to. You may feel hopeless about your life and your future. Things can look positive on the outside but does not match your internal feeling. The “gray fog” of depression is especially difficult because it saps the energy you need to have the strength to reach out for help.
Paying attention to yourself
Depression is a signal that something is not right inside and for you to pay attention to yourself. Our natural reaction to pain is to get away from it. And we often do. People develop different ways to push away their difficult feelings. It can be through making yourself busy – work, addictive or compulsive behaviors – to temporarily seek relief. It’s like a hidden unattended wound. When we open that wound it will hurt more on the beginning. Feeling more pain is not your goal but in the long term will help to heal the hidden wound.
Depression is not a reflection on your character
Are you angry or disappointed with yourself about feeling depressed and unable to be as productive or in control as you wish in your life? Depression is one of the most common problems in our culture and assumed to be sign of weakness and excessive emotion. This belief makes you hide from yourself and others to feel acceptable. Seeing how you feel has nothing to do with the strength of your character allows you to be more open and compassionate towards yourself. When you see someone who you care about is hurting your instinct is to help them and be kind to them. This instinct is often turned off when it comes to people who suffer from depression.
There is no quick fix or a trick to depression. Accepting the way you are ( even if you don’t like the way you feel) is very important though understandably difficult. Realize it takes time to figure out ways for you to be helped and to go through the process of healing. Accepting your feelings and state of mind at this moment in your life is validating who you are and moving towards healing.
Finding someone to honestly talk about your struggle gets you out of your head and gives you room to breathe and often gives you a perspective on your situation. You may need professional help whether psychotherapy, group support, medication or some combination of these. Remember you have choices you can make towards recovery even if it feels hopeless to you in the present.
The sense of home is who we are, our sense of identity. Home is being seen and loved, having a sense of belonging which is fundamental for every human. There needs to be a consistent and safe physical and psychological environment, a place of dwelling for that to happen. It’s a complex developmental achievement that is not guaranteed.
Home is where we start from. Our first home is our mother’s body. Our every need is met instantaneously and unconditionally. Through the shock of birth we encounter feeling cold, hungry or lonely. If the mother ( or caregiver) has a consistent and careful presence that attends to the baby’s needs over time, she creates a secure space which becomes our internal home. When the mother creates a secure space there is capacity to be curious about others, to go from an unidimensional to multi-dimensional world. When a child can see others and create links with them, she can see different points of view and securely exist in a multidimensional word without feeling threatened.
Acquiring an internal home is a fragile process that if disrupted can create a gap, a sense of not having a safe place to return to. Homelessness is a sense of not belonging, a loss of something important that existed before. We feel anxious, depressed, unsafe in the world, closed off from others or guarded. Homeless people often cover themselves up as their way of trying to create safety, a boundary that defines a space, their home.
There is a tremendous hope and longing to find what was lost but often it’s hard to know where to start. It’s risky to let yourself be seen in a deep way by someone else. At the same time it’s an opportunity to be seen and valued. Finding safe relationships with others can help restore a sense of an internal home.
Your life is today. It’s not yesterday or tomorrow. It’s happening at the moment. Right now.
Our life is a sum of small things and small moments that we encounter every day. If we ignore those small moments or consider them as unimportant we miss out. How we chose to take and interpret each moment in our day is up to us. What do we chose to see or what’s hard for us to notice within us and on the outside? How can we be kind to ourselves? Nobody can do it for us.
To appreciate our effort rather than result, to see small changes, even if they’re unnoticeable to others is seeing ourselves in the moment. Each moment and each thought and decision we make counts and makes an impact on our and on other people’s life around us. Life, each moment that is part of our life, is precious and we don’t want to miss out on it.