¡Hola! My Beautiful People,
I have an 8:30 AM meeting followed by another meeting at Riker’s Island, followed by… well, you get my drift. I can’t write anything new today, I’m in a rush, but I’m reposting the following. Perhaps some of my newer readers (if I have any) never saw it. One last note: Sunshine, if you’re reading this, you’re in my heart of hearts. for the rest of you: this might be your last day here, make it the best one.
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“When you say a situation or a person is hopeless,
you are slamming the door in the face of God.”
— Reverend Charles Allen
As humans, we need love, connection, and empathy more than anything else. we need it more than food or sustenance. This is not an exaggeration on my part, we literally die if we do without love. Children especially are vulnerable in this aspect. Our neurology — the way we’re wired — makes it that way. At the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, infants suffering from the disease were consciously neglected by nurses fearful that they would somehow become infected. Many of these children died quickly. One woman, noticing that those children who were coddled thrived, created a foundling hospital where the workers made it their business to caress, hold, embrace, and emotionally nurture these little angels.
We literally die without connection.
So today, this is about the journey back home, or rather, how I came home to healing and love. I think I mentioned that my own “recovery” included psychological, physical, and spiritual components.
A physical expression arises from our feelings. How we feel and connect directly shapes brain structure, for example. Let me repeat that because it begs reinforcement. How we relate and connect with one another changes the very structure of your brain. We don’t know that much about the genesis of depression (or “mood disorders”), but we do know that brain function is altered. Clinically depressed individuals suffer from neurochemical imbalances. For some this imbalance progresses to the point where the ability of carrying on even the mundane tasks of daily living is severely hampered. For those suffering from addiction, the reward center – how we experience pleasure and pain – is altered (some believe permanently).
No amount of willpower will change this!
Medication is necessary for many depressed people and there is nothing wrong with that. However, because of pressure from insurance companies and incentives from the drug companies, the medical establishment has come to depend too much on pills as a way out of depression. This is dangerous and unethical, in my opinion. We don’t even know the long-term effects of these drugs and we certainly know very little about balancing the brain’s chemical makeup However, an ideal approach to depression would combine drugs with psychotherapy along with a support component.
Psychologically, there is a cognitive component. And this is where therapy would come in handy. In my work, I always run into what I call faulty belief systems and thought constellations. Many of us (and not just those who are depressed) actually buy into beliefs that have no foundation in reality. A good therapeutic approach would challenge these belief systems and the accompanying thoughts that arise from the beliefs. The belief/ thought, which begins with “I have always been ____,” is often based on a myth. Believe me, you weren’t always anything, no one is that good. No one, not even you, can be that fucked up all the time. However, the belief that you were/ are dumb, inadequate, depressed, addicted, ugly, fat, skinny, stupid is a powerful force serving as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Contrary to what you have been told or believe, you’re all right just as you are this moment. At the bottom of the garbage can of your faulty beliefs is a luminous beautiful human being. Dig it out, dust it off, clean it up, and you’ll experience its glow. We can’t keep blaming our childhood and parents, folks.
The word spirituality comes from the Latin root word meaning “to breathe.” It’s the one common aspect we all share as humans, we all breathe in the same air – we all share the same air supply on this small green little tuft of soil we call earth. And in that way we are all connected. Therefore, I define spirituality broadly. I see spirituality as the web of connection that binds us all to one another and to our ecology. It’s that simple. No burning bushes, no commandments, no having to accept Jesus as your savior before you are saved, born again, experience redemption, etc.– none of that. I often joke that religion is for those afraid of going to hell, while spirituality is for those who have already been there. Faith? Very important, but not the blind faith often adhered to by the blind. When I speak of faith, I see that as trusting in the experience of our lives. We use faith all the time and maybe the second step to wellness is to take that one leap of faith that, as human beings, we can realize genuine happiness in this very life.
You might ask me if I believe in God, or in an afterlife, or heaven and hell and my answer to you would be: what the fuck does any of that have to do with the price of potatoes in the big city?!! LOL
God is love. Period.
That’s it in a nutshell, a holistic approach that’s psycho-spiritual in orientation – that’s my path. I won’t go into details about my chosen spiritual path because I refuse to be a public relations man for any spirituality. LOL I think it’s important to connect, to bond with others, sharing our pain as well as our joys, not so we can co-sign each other’s bullshit, but to lovingly and firmly challenge one another to own up to our shared humanity. We have a physiology that is made for connection and when we lose sight of that connection, we become ill. Therefore, recovery, or healing, is about taking steps to re-connect, to celebrate our humanity and our innate essential goodness.