There is no way to embrace the totality of life without accepting the ugliness that also exists…it’s a sort of paradoxical conundrum…and…Acceptance doesn’t mean acquiescence…
above quote first posted on Facebook
That little quote goes well with a collection I’ve put together on related subject matter from the archives.
Below are some posts that deal with the PRACTICE of embracing everything and also about reframing ones experience…sometimes we think something is bad but upon reconsideration and reframing we find that it’s actually, at the very least instructive…our original perception is a result of conditioning which we can ultimately shed…and must shed in order to individuate and grow up.
The below is not an exhaustive list. I would say that at this point one of the main underlying themes of this blog is about the benefits of this deep acceptance of our nature as human beings on this planet in this universe.
How I deal with mental breakdowns — By Jayme
So what do I do when those symptoms occur that I described above?
I embrace them. I honor them for what they are and I feel them for all they are worth. If I am depressed, I feel the depression as if I were being paid to describe to someone what depression is like. I describe it as I am feeling it. I don’t try to distract myself from it the way everyone advises me to do. I hear things like “Take a walk, call a friend, go out with friends, exercise, do anything except feel the depression, you are only dwelling on it and it will make things worse, and for godssake don’t isolate!” I used to feel so guilty for not being able to follow their advice. Not anymore! I will dwell on my depression. I will isolate. I will remove myself from all of society and I will treat myself to whatever my heart desires. That usually means isolating and wallowing in depression and crying my heart out for no reason. There is movement in crying! There is healing. I cry as deeply as my body will allow, and the exhaustion that follows is the most healing experience of all. And “healing” does not mean that the depression is over. It may be around for a while, and that is okay. It is not something that needs to be healed. Depression is simply another human experience, and by god, I am going to experience it! (continue reading)
There is nothing wrong with you: That was the title of a book I read in 1997 when it was first published. The full title at the time was: There Is Nothing Wrong With You: Regardless of What You Were Taught to Believe. It has since been republished and the subtitle has changed to: Going Beyond Self-Hate. I prefer the first title since as a person labeled by psychiatry I came to that book believing something was deeply wrong with me. Recently I realized that this little book, written by Cheri Huber, planted revolutionary seeds that I still carry with me today. (this posts shares commentary about her teaching) (continue reading)
Don’t give fear a thought – By Robert Augustus Masters
When fearfulness infects you, neither avoid it nor let it recruit your mind. Don’t give it a thought.
Approach the infected areas with care. No antibiotic heroics, no psychosurgical wizardry, just ordinary everyday caring.
Touch the infection with undivided attention, while letting the raw reality of it touch you, penetrate you, shake you more awake. Make contact, intimate contact, allowing it to breathe, allowing to it vibrate, sound off, even grieve. Stop treating it like an adversary or disease. (continue reading here)
You can’t heal what you don’t feel – by Nicole Urdang
It takes great courage to move through dark emotions but ignoring them, or sweeping them under the cognitive rug, just makes them less accessible for healing.
How can you make it safe to feel emotions that potentially trigger a sense of devastating loss, wild rage, or deep depression? By cultivating the inner, loving parent who is always there to comfort, protect, and remind your inner child how you are a spiritual being having a human experience.
Life’s trials don’t come with a manual, so you can’t always figure out what the lesson is. Patience, and faith in yourself will reveal their purpose, even if it is simply to show you how much you can bear. (continue reading here)
Pema Chödrön describes a liberating way to relate to our fears: not as something to try to get rid of or cast out, but as something we became very intimate with. In so doing, she explains, we come to find that the journey of knowing fear is in fact the journey of courage. From this wisdom, we learn to embrace the fullness of our experience in life. (continue here, video included)
In mainstream mental health circles we are encouraged to believe that “isolating” or “withdrawing” is always bad, that it is in fact pathological.
This is really too bad, as part of healing from mental distress for most people requires spending some time alone. Unfortunately, we find that in professional mental health circles this very natural inclination is often maligned and people are shamed if they show a propensity toward needing time alone. (continue reading here)
The Hearing Voices Network (HVN) USA is one of over 20 nationally-based networks around the world joined by shared goals and values, incorporating a fundamental belief that there are many ways to understand the experience of hearing voices and other unusual or extreme experiences. It is part of an international collaboration between professionals, people with lived experience, and their families to develop an alternative approach to coping with emotional distress that is empowering and useful to people, and does not start from the assumption that they have a chronic illness. (continue reading here)
Rossa at Holistic Recovery from Schizophrenia nails it on the head with her post from yesterday. I’ve often thought about the fact that “recovery” is about learning to live well. That is all. Learning to be healthy and true to oneself. Calling what it is one does to do that therapy actually keeps one in the illness framework quite often. Healthy lifestyle choices is what it’s all about…call it whatever you feel like calling it. Whatever resonates and works for you. We all have different combinations of things that make us thrive. But certainly the support of those around us is always important as Rossa underscores.(continue reading here)
As earlier posts have made clear, I no longer buy into the concept of ‘mental illness’ because the phrase refers to putative brain disorders that are viewed as irreversible. My recovery demonstrates that my formerly intense moodiness did not result from a structural or genetic neurologic condition, but rather from errors in relating to the chaotic vicissitudes of life. My instability resolved once I learned to accept my experience, no matter how painful. (continue reading here)
We often worry about lying awake in the middle of the night – but it could be good for you. A growing body of evidence from both science and history suggests that the eight-hour sleep may be unnatural.
In the early 1990s, psychiatrist Thomas Wehr conducted an experiment in which a group of people were plunged into darkness for 14 hours every day for a month.
It took some time for their sleep to regulate but by the fourth week the subjects settled into a very distinct sleeping pattern. They slept first for four hours, then woke for one or two hours before falling into a second four-hour sleep…. (continue reading here)
In general this blog supports embracing all our emotions. That is how we come to know who we are. The whole spectrum of our emotional lives are of value. It’s a shame that we learn to call many of our emotions negative and in keeping with that we try to numb them out in various ways, including with the use of both legal and illegal drugs. It is in resisting our shadow sides that those emotions we fear/anxiety grow bigger! That is the sad paradox. (continue reading here)
Equanimity contains the complete willingness to behold the pleasant and the painful events of life equally. It points to a deep balance in which you are not pushed and pulled between the coercive energies of desire and aversion. (continue reading here)
Looking back, I can see that my biggest obstacle at the time was that I thought of meditation as something that would help me get rid of the parts of myself that I didn’t like. I sincerely hoped that meditation would lead me to happy, peaceful states of mind where panic and fear could not touch me. Yet what my father was leading me to was much more radical than that: He wanted me to see that the only way out of suffering is to move toward it; that the path of true awakening lies in experiencing every single moment, whether pleasant or painful, with complete and unconditional love. (continue reading)
Even when life brings one lemons, I’ve found the most helpful attitude is to be curious:
To me, spiritual practice is like a mystery story in that we stumble onto something we have never encountered before. At that point, the intelligent approach is “Wow, what have we here? Let me take a closer look.” (continue reading)
This video is in keeping with my practice of being with all that arises within. Fear here can be translated to “anxiety,” which is the clinical term for fear which everyone at one time or another experiences with or without a diagnosis of some sort of anxiety “disorder.” Psychiatry pathologizes much of the normal human experience and fear and/or anxiety often referred to in Buddhism as such. Normal. There are techniques to learn how to be with these normal feelings, whether they’re very intense or not. (continue here)
To stay with that shakiness—to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge—that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic—this is the spiritual path. (continue reading)