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andrew sullivan is going away…here are my favorite(s) of his daily postings.    among many.

Aug 6, 2013 @ 11:14pm

Surprised By Grief

dustymontage3It’s not as if I have any excuse (you warned me plenty of times) but I’m shocked by how wrecked I am right now. Patrick, Chris and Jessie, thank God, have been holding down the fort on the Dish, because otherwise I’m not sure I could think about much else right now. How can the emotions be this strong? She was a dog, after all, not a spouse or a parent.

And yet, today, as I found myself coming undone again and again, I realized that living with another being in the same room for 15 and a half years – even if she was just a mischievous, noisy, disobedient, charming, food-obsessed beagle – adds up to a lot of life together. I will never have a child, and she was the closest I’ll likely get. And she was well into her teens when she died.

She was with me before the Dish; before my last boyfriend, Andy; before I met Aaron. She came from the same breeder as the beagle my friend Patrick got as he faced down AIDS at the end of his life. I guess she was one way to keep him in my life, so it was fitting that his ex-boyfriend drove me to the farm in Maryland to get her. I was going to get a boy and call him Orwell (poseur alert) but there were only girls left by the time we got there. I didn’t know what I was doing but this tiny little brown-faced creature ambled over to me and licked the bottom of my pants. She chose me. On the ride home, I realized I hadn’t thought for a second what to call a girl dog, and then Dusty Springfield came on the radio.

My friends couldn’t believe I’d get a dog or, frankly, be able to look after one. I was such a bachelor, a loner, a workaholic writer and gay-marriage activist with relationships that ended almost as quickly as they had begun. I thought getting a dog would help me become less self-centered. And of course it did. It has to. Suddenly you are responsible for another being that needs feeding and medicine and walking twice a day. That had to budge even me out of my narcissism and work-mania.

But I also got her as the first positive step in my life after the depression I sank into after my viral load went to zero in 1997. I know it sounds completely strange, but the knowledge of my likely survival sent me into the pit of despair. I understand now it was some kind of survivor guilt, and, after so much loss, I had to go through it. I wrote my way out of the bleakness in the end – as usual. But this irrepressible little dog also pulled me feistily out.

She was entirely herself – and gleefully untrainable. I spent a large part of our first years together chasing her around bushes and trees and under wharfs, trying to grab something out of her mouth. She’d find a disgusting rotten fish way underneath a rotting pier, wedge herself in there, eat as much as she felt like and then roll around in ecstasy as I, red-faced, bellowed from the closest vantage point I could get. There was the year that giant tuna carcass washed up on the sand and I lost her for a split second and nearly lost my mind looking for her until I realized she was inside the carcass, rendering herself so stinky it was worse than when she got skunked. But the smile on her face as she trotted right out was unforgettable. It was the same, proud, beaming face that appeared from under a bush in Meridian Hill Park covered in human diarrhea, left by a homeless person. Score!

Good times: the countless occasions she peed in the apartment, always under my blogging chair, driving me to distraction; her one giant chocolate orgasm, when she devoured two boxes of Godiva chocolates left on the floor by a visiting friend, ate every one while we were out at dinner, and then forced me to chase her around the apartment when I got home, as she puked viscous chocolate goo over everything, until I slipped in it too. Yes, she survived. The rug? Not so much.

She was also, it has to be said, always emitting noise. She had a classic howl, and when the two of us lived in a tiny box at the end of a wharf, she would bay instinctively at every person and every dog she saw come near. It’s cute at first. But after a while, she drove most of my neighbors completely potty. I tried the citronella collar, but she found a way to howl that stayed just below the volume that triggered the spray. Howling was what she did. There was no way on earth I was going to stop it.

But there was one exception to this rule. In my bachelor days, I’d stay out late in Ptown, trying to get laid, and often getting to sleep only in the early hours. I installed some floor-to-ceiling window blinds to block out the blinding sun over the water – so I could sleep late (this was before the blog). Dusty – usually so loud and restless – would wait patiently for me to wake up, and wedge herself between the bottom of the fabric of the blind and the glass in the window. That way, she kept an eye on all the various threats, while basking in the heat and light of the morning. And until the minute I stirred, despite all the coming and going around her, she uttered not a peep. In her entire life, she never woke me up. This is the deal, she seemed to tell me. You feed and walk me and house me on a beach all summer long, and I’ll let you sleep in.

It was a deal. She never broke her part of it; and I just finished mine.

(Photo montage by Aaron Tone.)

Over

AUG 5 2013 @ 6:42PM

dustyjustbefore

We spent the morning on the beach, Dusty and I. These last few days, this usually aloof and independent mischief-maker leaned into me. She sat on the sand, her body pressed against my leg, then allowing me to hold her longer than usual in my arms before she’d squirm and wriggle away. Aaron took her to their favorite breakfast take-out spot and ordered the egg-and-bacon burger she had lusted after but never eaten before. Today, it was all hers. But something she would have swallowed in one breath not so long ago, she looked at, nibbled, and let drop. Only strands of bacon tempted her and then, a chocolate chip cookie. No hesitation there.

Our usual vet was on vacation so we took Dusty to another animal hospital, where they were extremely kind. We waited a little outside, which is when Aaron took the above photo. Dusty was shivering a little and panting, but much less agitated than she usually is near a vet. Inside she was given a sedative as I cradled her in my arms. She relaxed as I petted and held her to my face, her tongue suddenly lolling out as the muscles all sagged. There was no reluctance any more. She gave up her fiercely guarded independence to me, in the end, and it touched me so deeply. She was ornery and feisty and selfish usually – only rarely letting her guard down. But now it was fully down; and she let me take care of her one last time.

This was not like waiting for someone to die; it was a positive act to end a life – out of mercy and kindness, to be sure – but nonetheless a positive act to end a life so intensely dear to me for a decade and a half. That’s still sinking in. The power of it. But as we laid her on the table for the final injection, she appeared as serene as she has ever been. I crouched down to look in her cloudy eyes and talk to her, and suddenly, her little head jolted a little, and it was over.

I couldn’t leave her. But equally the sight of her inert and lifeless – for some reason the tongue hanging far out of her mouth disfigured her for me – was too much to bear. I kissed her and stroked her, buried my face in her shoulders, and Aaron wept over her. And then we walked home, hand in hand. As we reached the front door, we could hear Eddy howling inside.

I don’t know how to thank all of you for your emails over the last 24 hours – as well as the thread that helped me understand this whole thing better, as this loomed in the future. Her bed is still there; and the bowl; and the diapers – pointless now. I hung her collar up on the wall and looked out at the bay. The room is strange. She has been in it every day for fifteen and a half years, waiting for me.

Now, I wait, emptied, for her.

 

Robin Williams: Irrepressible Character

Robin Williams was one of the most explosively, exhaustingly, prodigiously verbal comedians who ever lived, says film critic A. O. Scott. And the only thing faster than Williams’s mouth was his mind.

Video CreditBy Adam Freelander on Publish Date August 12, 2014. Image CreditABC, via Associated Press

Some years ago, at a party at the Cannes Film Festival, I was leaning against a rail watching a fireworks display when I heard a familiar voice behind me. Or rather, at least a dozen voices, punctuating the offshore explosions with jokes, non sequiturs and off-the-wall pop-cultural, sexual and political references.

There was no need to turn around: The voices were not talking directly to me and they could not have belonged to anyone other than Robin Williams, who was extemporizing a monologue at least as pyrotechnically amazing as what was unfolding against the Mediterranean sky. I’m unable to recall the details now, but you can probably imagine the rapid-fire succession of accents and pitches — macho basso, squeaky girly, French, Spanish, African-American, human, animal and alien — entangling with curlicues of self-conscious commentary about the sheer ridiculousness of anyone trying to narrate explosions of colored gunpowder in real time.

The comedian and actor Robin Williams in 2002.

Very few people would try to upstage fireworks, and probably only Robin Williams could have succeeded. I doubt anyone asked him for his play-by-play, an impromptu performance for a small, captive group, and I can’t say if it arose from inspiration or compulsion. Maybe there’s not really a difference. Whether or not anyone expected him to be, and maybe whether or not he entirely wanted to be, he was on.

Part of the shock of his death on Monday came from the fact that he had been on — ubiquitous, self-reinventing, insistently present — for so long. On Twitter, mourners dated themselves with memories of the first time they had noticed him. For some it was the movie “Aladdin.” For others “Dead Poets Society” or “Mrs. Doubtfire.” I go back even further, to the “Mork and Mindy” television show and an album called “Reality — What a Concept” that blew my eighth-grade mind.

Back then, it was clear that Mr. Williams was one of the most explosively, exhaustingly, prodigiously verbal comedians who ever lived. The only thing faster than his mouth was his mind, which was capable of breathtaking leaps of free-associative absurdity. Janet Maslin, reviewing his standup act in 1979, cataloged a tumble of riffs that ranged from an impression of Jacques Cousteau to “an evangelist at the Disco Temple of Comedy,” to Truman Capote Jr. at “the Kindergarten of the Stars” (whatever that was). “He acts out the Reader’s Digest condensed version of ‘Roots,’ ” Ms. Maslin wrote, “which lasts 15 seconds in its entirety. He improvises a Shakespearean-sounding epic about the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster, playing all the parts himself, including Einstein’s ghost.” (That, or something like it, was a role he would reprise more than 20 years later in Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.”)

Photo

Robin Williams was an irrepressible performer, on stage and off. CreditGary Settle

Onstage, Mr. Williams’s speed allowed him to test audience responses and to edit and change direction on the fly. He simultaneously explained and acted out this process in “Come Inside My Mind,” a two-and-a-half-minute tour de force of manic meta — “I’m doing great! I’m improvising like crazy! No you’re not, you fool! You’re just doing pee-pee-ca-ca, no substance!” But if Mr. Williams was often self-aware, commenting on what he was doing as he was doing it, he was rarely arch or insincere. He could, as an actor, succumb to treacliness sometimes — maybe more than sometimes — but his essential persona as an entertainer combined neediness and generosity, intelligence and kindness, in ways that were charming and often unexpectedly moving as well.

That was a role within a role, of course, and Mr. Williams’s best serious movie characters — or maybe we should say the non-silly ones, since an element of playfulness was always there — had a similar doubleness. Watching him acting in earnest, you could not help but be aware of the exuberance, the mischief, that was being held in check, and you couldn’t help but wonder when, how or if it would burst out. That you knew what he was capable of made his feats of self-control all the more exciting. You sometimes felt that he was aware of this, and that he enjoyed the sheer improbability of appearing as the straight man, the heavy, the voice of reason.

He was very good at playing it cool or quiet or restrained as other actors in his movies — Nathan Lane in “The Birdcage,” Robert DeNiro in“Awakenings,” Matt Damon in “Good Will Hunting” — brought the heat, the noise or the wildness. He was an excellent and disciplined character actor, even as he was also an irrepressible, indelible character, a voice — or voices — that many of us have been hearing for as long as we can remember.

 

Robin Williams: the sadness of a clown that couldn’t be fixed

“Williams, like many others, struggled with addiction and personal demons. Mental illness is a great leveller – but is still too little understood.

All illness is a great leveller, but none levels like mental illness. It remains the poor relation of medicine. Research is paltry. Therapies are halfhearted. Drugs are primitive. But addictive and depressive illness seems to probe deep into the relations between individuals and those around them. It is the crack in the window that can seem beyond mending. The sadness of the clown goes beyond irony. It is one of the great mysteries of life”

THEGUARDIAN.COM|BY SIMON JENKINS

 

Simon Jenkins
Tuesday 12 August 2014

Actor-Comedian Robin Williams Dies At 63

Actor-Comedian Robin Williams Dies At 63
Robin Williams backstage in Virginia in 2009. ‘It seems inexplicable that a celebrity’s addiction should be immune to personal success, the care of a loving family and all the therapies money could buy.’ Photograph: Jay Paul/Getty Images

The sadness of the clown is an old showbusiness irony. The death of the clown is even sadder. But Robin Williams was no ordinary clown, he was a clown in the round, a master of the one-liner, of verbal riff, mimicry, disguise, facial distortion, fury and hilarity. He made them laugh and he made them cry. He had the gift of enhancing the lives of others, yet he could not handle one person’s life, his own. Only last month Williams was admitted back into a rehab centre in Minnesota.

Williams’ presumed suicide is receiving the same scrutiny as the recent deaths of other celebrity addicts such as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Peaches Geldof. Addictive substances appeared to be the way in which these well-known people coped with the pressure of life. In that, they are no different from thousands of non-celebrities subject to even greater pressure. Yet it seems inexplicable that their addiction should be immune to personal success, the care of a loving family and all the therapies money could buy.

Physical illness is something the medical profession understands. It knows what to do when the human body malfunctions and what not to do. Mental illness, if illness is the right word, seems lost in some dark age. Otherwise healthy people with every reason to be happy are found wrestling with private demons. Therapists wander the scene like surgeons on a medieval battlefield, at a loss for what to do.

Williams appeared to have recovered from cocaine addiction but not from alcohol. He had been in and out of rehabilitation. In a remarkably frank interview in the Guardian four years ago, he was eager to discuss his problems lucidly. He was a regular member of probably the most successful therapy in existence, Alcoholics Anonymous, with its emphasis on non-judgmental group support. There was no help that Williams and others like him could not and did not receive. It failed.

All illness is a great leveller, but none levels like mental illness. It remains the poor relation of medicine. Research is paltry. Therapies are halfhearted. Drugs are primitive. But addictive and depressive illness seems to probe deep into the relations between individuals and those around them. It is the crack in the window that can seem beyond mending. The sadness of the clown goes beyond irony. It is one of the great mysteries of life.

• In the UK, the Samaritans can be contacted on 08457 90 90 90. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14

Some Comments and Opinions already posted on 8/12/14

Candice Black Robin Williams is proof of the complexity of the illness: the man smiled, laughed and could make millions happy- yet depression plagued his life. Any notion that depression is a case of being “miserable” should be thrown out the window by anyone who still holds that view.

Michael Olaf Engedahl Good bye dear man,who brought more laughter than tears ,but couldn’t find happiness for yourself,today you brought me tears cos I will never see your genius again.Rest in Peace

Joe Hargett “…that couldn’t be fixed.” I call bullshit. We could fix it if we wanted to, but time and again the major countries of the world have swept mental illness under the rug. Depression and other mental illnesses are not “silent killers” or “thieves in the night.” They stare us in the face daily, and we ignore them. We need acceptance and action, not platitudes and cliches.

Lizzie Soden Robin Jenkins. Although you are right about much of what you have written here, you have painted an almost nihilistic picture of therapies, drugs and resources available to help with depression. As someone who experiences depression, I can tell you there are some amazing insightful, positive Drs, psychotherapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, who are not ‘wandering around aimlessly.’ There is no ‘one size fits all’ or one depressive episode that’s the same, but you get there through trial and error and different combinations. Yes, we need far more research and funding; yes we need to build understanding; yes we need to talk about it more in the public discourse, but you paint a picture that suggests anyone going through depression and addiction ‘ may as well give up now because you won’t get the help you need’ that’s simply not true. By far the majority of people recover and lead active lives, and learn to manage their depressive episodes.

Katya Hernández So much ignorance about depression. It is not about being thankful for what you have, or living in a good place, or having everything: it’s your brain not working properly, it’s a chemical imbalance, and it’s extremely hard to control. You often know that you have no reason to feel sad, but you still cry. Reasoning it out, when you are too deep into it, does not help. “Snap out of it” has to be the most ignorant, insensitive thing you can tell a depressed person. You would not tell that to a schizophrenic, and depression is just not something that you choose, it’s something that your brain does to you.

Brian Lucas “Outside, the day might be blue and gold, but the light that creeps down, through the thickly-muffled glass of the small, iron-barred window beneath which one sits, is grey and niggard.”

Oscar Wilde: “De Profundis”

 

Merita Debbie Marble Blanchet Did you know humor is a coping skill ? A mindset of the brain that helps us hang on.. Being serious is too hard for folks with a great sense of humor because tears lie very closely beneath that smile.. Never forget that We make the world laugh so we don’t have to think of how sad we truly are.

 

Chrystal Andros “Heard joke once: Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says, “Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.” Man bursts into tears. Says, “But doctor…I am Pagliacci.”

Those of us who suffer from chronic depression understand this. For example with me I know that suicide can be inevtiable. It may not happen tomorrow, next week or even next month, but it’s with me and it may kill me at some point.

How do you treat something that comes and goes like bad weather? When it hits it’s a hurricane of twisting emotion.

I see a psychologist and I look at taking meds at the end, but I have been suffering it for a very long time. For now changing my mental state is what is helping.

 

Abigail Mouat Askew It’s part of what happens when our societal values go awry. I wonder how many indigenous tribes not exposed to Western culture have these levels of depression and addiction?

 

Jeremy Williams It annoys me when people say “snap out of it”, when i’m having a low mood, it’s not as simple as that, it’s a hidden illness, you don’t see it on the outside, but on the inside it slowly eats at you.

 

Harmony Aquarian

Three Wishes

You’re leaving on a super moon
But the details are still sketchy
The world is in a state of shock
The background story patchy

The last thing I expected to hear today
Was the news of your departure
And that your life was in disarray
It truly broke my heart, sir

I never cried when Elvis died,
He never touched me, really,
But Robin, you were another case
You were the King of Silly

The medicine of laughter
In world so full of pain
You meted out so selflessly
It all seems so insane

Perhaps we need to stop and think
About what is important
That life is rich when you have love
And though yours has been shortened

You touched our hearts and reached our souls
With no mention of religion
You made me smile so very many times
With a warmth that lacked conditions

The last thing I wanted to do today
Was to write this sad remembrance
But people come, and people go
In this endless song and dance

So here’s to life and here’s to hope
And here’s to fun and laughter
And thank you for the joy you brought
And if there’s a hereafter

I’m sure you will be needed there
As much as here on earth
Such a clever, brilliant man
An icon of infinite worth

So adios amigo
Happy trails and all of that
Life is short for all of us
But if I could bring you back

I’d have but two more wishes
For that genie in the bottle
That you’d have found peace inside yourself
And won that final battle

Kia ora HATU

 

Febe Zylstra  I have been there and hit rock bottom in 2011, and was diagnosed with Bi-polar Disorder. (They think the chemical imbalance in my brain was triggered from being pregnant, in hind sight that is when I noticed significant changes for me, but everyone has different extents/experiences from each other)
For me I was hospitalised twice over 4 months, underwent 12 ECTS, was put on a cocktail amount of drugs, most which caused severe side effects, counselling and psych Drs for the next 2 yrs. I was very fortunate to have a supportive family and friends who helped me through it unconditionally, but initially my loved ones often told me to ‘snap out of it’ OR ‘you’ll get over it’ was another frequent comment before they understood the seriousness of my disorder! I can now say I am doing heaps better after finding the right combination of drugs of which I have to take daily for the rest of my life and my art is also a huge part of me staying mentally healthy. But I did loose my unblemished career of 26 years unfairly because of my diagnosis (that’s another long story) and now have learnt to focus on staying stress free as much has I can to remain status quo.
So I do understood someone who has experienced severe crippling depression where some days you can’t even get out of bed, sleep 20 hours in a day, day in day out, you can’t eat and to go too the toilet is a huge effort! Where for 80% of the time you can’t stop crying and you honestly believe dying is the only way you will feel at peace and for the internal pain to go away. I was fortunate I had a daughter and family that even at the depth of my own depression I knew I couldn’t let down. Unfortunately Suicide is a huge risk with someone who has major depression or Bi-polar and unless someone has experienced this, it is extremely hard for someone to totally understand how someone can take their own life. I know it can be seen as a selfish act, but you can get to the point where you feel so worthless, hopeless and guilty about absolutely everything, and also honestly and deeply believe everyone would be better off without you. (It is not always attention seeking behaviour but often a cry for help as feeling there is no other way out of the darkness!) But mostly there is such an intense indescribable ache/ physical pain inside you that just doesn’t go away, which can’t be seen, unlike that of a broken bone! You eventually learn to crack a joke, give a smile, sometimes say what you think people want to hear but it is not always what you feel on the inside, it is a constant battle to stay positive, even now for me and I feel 100% better than I did at my lowest point.
I have chosen not to hide behind my Bi-polar diagnosis as it is the only way to help break down the stigma attached to it and that of all mental illnesses. I hope that people who know me already or get to know me, will see that I am not a ‘Nutter’ OR ‘Aggressive Crazy Person’ running around committing crimes or causing havoc. A lot of people’s fears of the person who has mental health issues are given the wrong impression from TV shows, especially Criminal TV shows that always seem to portray the mental health person in a negative light. Fact is 1 in 5 people in their own life time will experience depression and for most people they will know someone close to them who goes through it.
It’s OK to feel unsure or helpless when you come across a person going through depression etc, but if everyone try’s to understand just a little bit of what that persons obstacles are when they are not well, it will help break down the barriers/stigmas and hopefully more people with depression etc will feel more supported and not so isolated! Just by asking are you OK or offer to listen to them could make all the difference.
Sorry for the long winded rant – but it breaks my heart that someone we all knew to be the funny man who always put on a happy face suffered his whole life with major depression. He hid it well as do a lot of people with severe depression – sometimes the support and help comes too late! RIP Robbin Williams x

Margie Winter And mental health wards are being closed at an alarming rate. Governments have found out that pushing patients out into Care in the Community, they save lots if money! They never publish the suicide rate though!! I suspect it’s higher now than 20 years ago. Alcohol – the medicine of choice for many depressives . So, so sad. RIP Robin.

Alen Kevric He was broken but it is not him that needed to be fixed. It is society that needs to be fixed. RIP

Tim Dixon All we can do is love, I mean really love those in our lives suffering from this, they are are serious, it IS real…..

Alexandra Nielsen Well said, Katya Hernandez…a person cannot snap out of true depression any more than someone can snap out of diabetes. It’s not the same thing as feeling a little down. The brain chemistry changes and there is no way to snap out of it when you are in it. If you think there is, then you have never experienced the hell of depression.

Sam Bino How many of us go out into the world wearing a mask, a disguise, to hide from the world our true selves, how many of us intimately know ourselves are confident to accept ourselves for who we are regardless of the pressure from society to seek it’s ‘approval’

With all of the modern day distractions that occupy our time and fill our minds with junk, with all the choices and dilemmas we face on a daily basis that paralyze us, how do people stand a chance to manage their mental well-being as it becomes buried further and further amidst the rubble of living.

To truly be yourself is to free yourself but this takes time, committment, courage and many other basic needs being in place, and even then this can still be so far out of reach such are the complexities of our minds.

To everyone on this journey, I wish you well with love and compassion.

Lara Naylor Davis Colin, what utter tripe. I have been saved and transformed by medication and therapy. I lived a long time in the darkness with no way out until I was first referred to my psychiatrist 7 years ago. He then placed me in Cognitive Analytical Therapy which helped me gain insight and balance. I think every individual needs to find their own way but therapy and psychopharmesuticals, eventually, worked for me. In the first 6 years of diagnosis I was on a total of five different meds, six times. I didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water, I kept plugging away til I found what worked. Looks like I may also have treatment resistant depression as I keep bottoming out on pills. But I keeping looking because I know how catastrophic my life is without them.

Katya Hernández I agree. I can safely say that medication saved my life.

Russ Collins What crap is that about jesus?? an imaginary dead man who was supposed to have lived 2000 years ago of whom there is no evidence of. yeah! I’m sure a man of intellectual genius as such as williams would have given the remotest crap about that

Karen Hoyles It doesn’t take long before b’jesus turns up – any old topic will do.

Mel Myrtle Horstink I just have silent tears running down my face, I have done since I heard. I wish this weren’t true but it is. RIP you funny, gentle, sad man

Julie Allen I can totally relate to this my husband been battling mental illness for years , but doctors just hand him the pils with very little therapy, and support as though its his own fault, so we as a family have to cope with his mood swings on a daily basis, and my husband is a loving man underneath it all , RIP Robin xx

 

Allison Taw hope your not lonely now x RIP

 

Alwyn Green It’s difficult for those who have not experienced depression to understand it. I thank God I had a wife and several colleagues who did understand and supported me.

James David Roberts It’s been such a sad day. I would have hoped that at 63, Robin Williams would have had the “bag of tricks”, the “coping strategies” to deal with his illness. His death makes me realize how vulnerable people are with this diseases.

Edde Beket Robin Williams wasn’t a clown – I hate clowns. He was brilliant, inspiring and a legend. RIP

Cathy Dalton I think that many brilliant people fell that they have to become ‘clowns’ in order to be accepted. It’s the ultimate irony.

Sophie Wintrich Too much taboo on the subject as well, still, sadly. Perhaps mostly from people who deny such issues and desperately try to cover up in other ways. There are ways out, or at least coping strategies, provided you feel you can talk without being judged or criticized. Being able to voice your feelings is half the battle. Don’t bottle it. Big virtual hug to all.

Sam Bino When will God botherers learn that many many people find these views offensive and without any relevance. I’m happy that you have found your own path and truth but it isn’t mine so please keep it to yourselves.
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Wallace Rachel Many of us with a strong belief on God find God botherers irritating as hell too!
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Sharon Moon

Lara Naylor Brett I can’t bw. I have servere anxiety, servere depression and BPD. All of this is in my make up and can’t be cured, it can be controlled and I have spent four snd a half years symptom free only to crash and burn catastrophically agaiin about three …See More
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Jen Peloquin Oddie Agree with so many people who have commented here today.
So complex is this disease…that such a gifted artist and selfless human being continued to struggle in his later years. May he RIP because he’s done the hard yards for sure.
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Idalina Melo It’s very harsh to live your live as an empathic in an un-empathic world, it’s the ill society that leads to mental illness of good souls!!
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Cindy Schneider Mental health care came out of the dark ages when Mennonites did public service instead of going to war in the 40’s…..it went back to the dark ages when Ronald Reagan dumped them into the streets….now mental health care has another name….the prison system. Maybe Robin has one last gift to give us…awareness.
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Dorothy Bogart I was once a very depressed person ,was in my own world and never want to see people or mingle . In fact i was always hiding and it felt as if everybody was against me and i was so far that i almost run away from home. It was something bad that happened to me and i was sorry for an excuse. I always knew that i need serious help and my children kept me sane. I had a DR that treated me with steroids on a monthly basis. It changed my whole body structure,softness is gone and i was strong and still depressed. I went to a different dr and in the surgery i found this book of a depressed person fighting with this dark cloud around her and then i saw me. Its exactly how i feel. I got up and walk out and went home. Since then i understand my illness and everytime i feel depressed i see this d cloud surounds me and i started to climb out and thats how i got healed. Its nothing to try do it. Depression is a very bad thing..

Jane Donaghy What comes first…the addiction or the mental illness….another great lost who tried his best to overcome & couldn’t.

James Turner Robin Williams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman … And Peaches Geldof?!?!?!? I know it seems natural to list in 3s rather than 2s.. But Peaches fucking Geldof??? How about WW1, WW2 and that time down the pub someone hit someone else? Fucking ludicrous

 

Mark Sykes Why not Peaches Geldof? Why not highlight anyone who was in the public eye who struggled with mental illness – who are you to judge the validity of someones illness? The more that the world knows that even famous and fabulously wealthy individuals can find it incredibly difficult to live a ‘normal’ life, then the better the world can become!

Ce-Ce Ushe He made many people smile when he was ‘high ‘on coccaine .those who take coccaine never have a happy ending,Peaches , Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson etc..

Jay Harper Again with this simplistic statement? Bless you, you just aren’t that bright.

Stephen Bosworth Wow , all these people seem to know why he topped himself. Such a clever bunch.

Jörg Killat Why is it that all great comedians seem to suffer from depression. Is it because of that that they’re great? Is it their way of trying to combat their demons?

Rosalind Mercer The one thing none of us can do, not even the greatest psychiatrist who ever lived, is to literally get into the mind of another. Oh, yes we think we can understand but depression or indeed any type of mental illness is individual and personal to the sufferer. There are two types of depression: reactive and clinical, and inevitably one can lead to the other. Many women after giving birth will get PND, but that usually can be cured as it is caused by hormonal changes. It is illogical to be depressed after having had a baby, but logic has nothing to do with it. Some women feel like hell for a few weeks or even months.
Life’s setback can also cause depression, especially if those setbacks are man-made like a family relationship breaking down, or losing somebody very close but they are reactive. The more setbacks one has, the more likely then that the reactive will turn to clinical because the brain cannot take anymore stress, and then the real unhappiness sets in and medical help is the only way forward. I know nothing of Robin Williams’s life, other than what little I have read, but I suspect like may unhappy people the drugs and alcohol would have exacerbated his depression. To live with a person who suffers deep depression is a horrible experience because you feel helpless. No wonder his poor wife is heartbroken. We cannot judge, or condemn, and evoking the supernatural e.g.”God’ is not at all helpful. All we can do is to support the families or friends of sufferers, and try to be tolerant, which is not always easy.

Liz Munro So sad. A wonderful man taken by a dreadful illness.

Guguyni Slan every suicide is a question to the humans alive , a message to the people alive we have to learn more humanity compassion and empathy to other humans and to the earth we live with . there is always a way .

Robyn Evans It’s like cancer.

Tracey Bourke So very sad to have heard the news after getting off a long haul flight. I absolutely loved Robin Williams. He made me laugh & Cry. He had a beautiful way of portraying all of his movie characters funny, sad, etc…… He was a wonderful soul and brought out every emotion in me through the characters he played so well on TV and in his movies. I will watch a few of his movies this week in his honour.
RIP and thank you for sharing your wonderful and talented life with us.
You will be missed worldwide. My boys will be watching Mrs Doubtfire this weekend. X

Aleli Gomez Es tan raro como no debes de demostrar tu tristeza para poder seguir encajando en este mundo q es el q te puso triste para comenzar aww
See Translation

Robin Waka robin williams not dead shocking video of his house in the link beside
http://v4download.com/download2.php?title=
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Seblewongel Mekonnen Wolde It is possible to b free from any type of mental sickness, depression etc, even from the family line forever: who said it is impossible? it is possible to b free from it. This 2014, not 19th century: there is a solution. There is a new hope for it.
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

Farhat Rasheed This world is a test for the pure soul. Only a belief in a loving, just and complete God and a beautiful next life for a perfected morality, whatever that is, is what keep’s ‘people’ alive — this is the truth I believe in. Both mental and physical illness is interlinked but physical illness is more understood because it is ‘physical’ i.e can be touched/seen/held – fixed? The mind is pure consciousness – aware of so much, and the primary way, in which the heart is torn from ideas that take it away from a perfection ‘somewhere’ or take away the ‘hope’ of it all meaning something, and giving purpose to even suffering. If you don’t beleive in an eternal afterlife of levelling off the hardships of this life- you might as well, throw in the towel as soon as you’re born. Many gifted children already ‘know’ we are here transiently– ie. we do not belong here, but in a greater place…whatever you wish to call this – most call it heaven.

Katharine Oliver Sarah Casaneanu

Rebecca Parsley RIP man.. We love you and hope you’re not lonely now

Margaret Spillane It’s true; mental illness is woefully under-funded. There is still too much of the pull yourself together mentality.

Carrie McCarthy Febe Zylstra you might like this xx

Peter Humfrey His death is desperately sad but hopefully it will bring more understanding and cast off the stereotypes people have for sufferers of depression.

Ce-Ce Ushe No matter how many friends ,family, money u can have and surrounded by many people u can die all alone and lonely.

Judge Mental Depression is a slow thief on a long, long night.

 

Tom Broadhurst If you analyse the inherent absurdity of living, some people as a result of that deeply analytical process are going to arrive at a full stop

Sonia Finch when you are a bright light everyone wants a chunk of you. whats left feels soul loss. time to take back your light robin.

Debra Griffin Truehope.com sells EM power plus vitamins that are effective for depression. They saved my son.

Jane Whitmore When some one has to be the main person to make people laugh and have a good time, one day this illness sets in and there never that person they used to be. Such a shame to take your own life but demons talk to u and u forget what the real world is about. Never judge on people who suffers this illness as you never no it could happen to u. Xxx rip

Emma Elizabeth Bogue Febe Zylstra your story and how you wrote it was really powerful. I completely agree, it is easier to place a bandaid on a physical injury than to attempt to do the same with someone suffering deep inside. Please continue to advocate for those with mental illness as gracefully as you just have. Individuals like you will break down the stigma+ will be the making of new interventions. Thank you for sharing you’re story
Like · Reply · 21 mins

今井賢二 高志>『いいね!』? でも、文章の意味が解らない?
意味わかったよ!!!
See Translation

James Warriner Total shock…very sad loss

Muhammad Nadeem Aslam may his soul in peace

Pablo Molina Petrovich Will we ever be able to watch his wonderful movie roles without seeing “the tears in his eyes”? Actually, I hope not, lest we forget we are all vulnerable, in need of each other’s support and care.

Guguyni Slan https://scontent-b-ams.xx.fbcdn.net/…/10391419…

Stephanie Lillian Fletcher I’m African, and not only am I a depressant, I have Bipolar and borderline personality disorder due to trauma. NO ONE is exempt when mental illness strikes. Medication does help, but all mess have bad side effects…. One being weight gain which in turn makes you depressed and causes self loathing due to malicious outbursts from trolls or comments from general public. You are either fat and semi sane or feel good about yourself but depressed about life… it’s just really hard, talking to someone definitely helps. It’s an ongoing condition that needs constant nurturing… many of us hide behind smiles and laughter, if only people could recognize the turmoil within our eyes… RIP RW

 

Phil Brown Ive been a mental health nurse 30 years…twice while driving over The Tyne Bridge …3/32010 and 17/12/2013 ive pulled someone back from the Edge or talked another person down.

Ive acted quickly…each time the person was “very dissociated”
I have to say that as much as the kind sincere and compassionate words are meanindful
WE HAVE TO BECOME “MINDFULL”…BUT MORE THAN ANYTHING WE ALL HAVE TO REMAIN …”ASSOCIATED AND IN RELATIONSHIP WITH ONE ANOTHER”
Unfortunately….despite some of the benefits of social media…
It DANGEROUSLY REMAINS
……..DISSOCIATIVE.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Margaret Inglese Just a thought from one who knows it took me 25 years to get on the right meds. Doctor after doctor just took that prescription pad out and keep prescribing the same drugs over and over. Thought process is that your therapist should be talking to you. Good luck with that one. My doc listened and helped me realize what was the problem. Right meds taken consistently are the answer. You can’t self medicate
Like · Reply · 39 mins

Michelle Pitkin So sad, such a waste. What empathic words in this article

Glenda Bogdanovs Research and treatment of mental illness is both under funded and disrespected

Guguyni Slan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RbY2iTOUQA

Guguyni Slan http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQU3EphIpMY

 

Malika Bouamama Invisible disability

 

Cubey G Funk https://www.google.co.za/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j…

 

Michelle Ho The saddest person in the world is a clown. It’s hard enough making people laugh & be happy. It’s even harder to make oneself  happy

 

Arash Zarchini https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10202542680156747…

Cemil Bikmen Cok dogru fakat sahsi fizik ve mental olarak tanima gayreti gosteren isin zorlugunu inkar etmiyen yakin takip ve oz veri gosteren bir psikiatrist yuz sene onceye gore cok daha fazla yardim etme kabiliyetinde.

Angela Lewis RIP Captain My Captain

 

Jack Vanderwyk Bipolarity seldom comes alone.  Many bipolar people also suffer from other diseases, like alcohol and/or drug addictions.  Controlling the one doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re able to control the other.

 

Cathy Dalton The addictions are the results of trying to self-medicate, to ease the pain….but they are a vicious circle, a downward spiral.

 

Brett Hunter i beg do differ so people cant be fixed? I dont know ? But i wish and hope, so it doesn,t happen to someones sister, my cousin, like me because we have to live for a life time and maybe when times up then maybe we know, but yet asking un answered questions for a life time doesn,t seem fair

 

Marlene Rapich Balanda DAMN THE DARKNESS..

 

Russ Collins know how he feels, I’ll Probably do the same one day

Yul Villanueva Mendoza Guess needed Jesus in his life, could have helped Money isn’t happiness
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Leighan Harkess Yeah the whole religion thing is working wonders in the world right now..
Like · 3 · 2 hrs
Sharon Moon

Mustafa Mahmoud He was awesome , but still sad deep inside , unfortunately he did not find a good friend like Robin Williams to fix his sorrow
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Chethan Bvb we are all save of our brain not mind, it proved mr wiiliams depression is dangerous sickness
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Jan McFarlane Such a sad day
Like · Reply · 2 hrs · Edited

Michael Bender Sagt alles zum Thema Depression.
See Translation
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Nigel Richards Tears of a clown, when there’s no one around…
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Hamxa Siddique DAnish FArooq
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Eve Alexander Ian Johnson
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Amanda Elizabeth Lennon Curious to learn whether or not he had recently been put on the sometimes suicide-provoking Efexor-XR anti-dep …
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Celina Stott
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Ma’aly Al-Marhoon RIP
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

David Wheeler RIP Robin no words can explain how much your humour and yourself will be missed by all.God bless you.
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Теди От Наречен https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_huc9In5qY
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Zeny Competente Sanchez
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Explicações de Inglês So So so very true … and sad so sad.
Thank you Mr Robin Williams for having given me and others the privilege and joy of having such great actor during my life time.
May you be happier now.
Nevertheless, I’m so sad, leaving us so much before your time and yet so much to offer still.
U
Like · Reply · 3 hrs · Edited

Traci Sherlock Henrietta Wochnowski
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Carolyne Awino May his soul rest in peace
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Dewan Abdur Rob Raiyan
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Leah Murphy Yes, as it says, the drugs are primitive
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Emilios Koromias Legend!
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

John Mason its called life, he had one, he was on quite a different level.
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Eslam Voice https://fbcdn-sphotos-b-a.akamaihd.net/…/16010…
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

David Edge Both his family and the world loses a great man!

http://www.healthyplace.com/…/immediate-relief-of…/
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Deniz Helvacıoğlu RIP !
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Elcio Da Silveira Machado https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3kJ0nA6gNw
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Daouda Amirou Ganaba RIP ROBBIE
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Thomas Deeds RIP Robin.
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Antoaneta Naydenova RIP
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Sophie Louise Kirkham Shaun
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Kenny Given Rest In Peace and thanks for the laughter and great films!….

Some people are just too good for this world!
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

Allysha Nila clown?
Like · Reply · 1 · 3 hrs

Alan Willott Depression , the black hole of despair.?A tragic loss to his family Friends and the World of ENTERTAINMENT ? Robin will be missed by so many. R.I.P.
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

Dolly Nedeva I dont think its you business to comment his illness.
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

Yves-Henri Morvan It could be. On my point of view. But it’s just my point of view.
Like · Reply · 21 mins

Tris Tan The man looked very unhappy, I doubt I’m the only one who saw that. Or maybe I’m just crazy.
Like · Reply · 29 mins

Phillip Keane Maybe wait for the coroner’s report, eh? you fucking ghouls.
Like · Reply · 39 mins

Kate Burton Love you Robin Williams. We will miss you.

Like · Reply · 45 mins

Freeman Jackson Divorce, Bankruptcy, and Drinking. What a deadly combination!
Like · Reply · 1 hr

Daniel Salvia Absolutely true …!
Like · Reply · 1 hr

Iain Morrison Leighan…someone else who doesn’t understand what motivates those people. Religion isn’t the issue. Power and greed ARE!
Like · Reply · 1 hr

Debra Grace Peri What a half hearted article, of which I can’t take seriously in light of the truth.
Like · Reply · 1 hr

Tatheer Faiq RIP Robin Williams . It is very hard for me to believe someone living away from all the horrors of Middle East can suffer from depression and chose to end his life. Not to mention that he has fame and wealth. So sad!
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Eslam Voice https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage…
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Nikolai Jimmy Virtanen There is a point seeming idea that psychology and filosefee…is that You wan’t To know how does other People feel,Maybe You Can Never win the Trust.That both Are opstical science.😇😈
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Keith Hancock Such a terrible loss http://www.saigondistricts.com/2014/08/robin-williams/
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Violacolor Futura Tremila rip my captain
Like · Reply · 40 mins

Trev Coleman All illness is a great leveller, but none levels like mental illness. It remains the poor relation of medicine. Research is paltry. Therapies are halfhearted. Drugs are primitive.

i would disagree with that statement. there’s load of studies taking place on things like psilocybin, DMT, LSD, etc in treating depression. what there is, is a lack of will to use the sort of remedies that are turning people’s lives around in a matter of hours rather than making them go through years of torturous medications and mind numbing analysis that just prolongs the whole process.
while i’m just as gutted as everyone else at the loss of one of my greatest tv and movie idols, one of the staples of my youth, we should take this opportunity to start looking beyond conventional health care and start looking at the alternatives.
RIP. genie, you’re free.

http://reset.me/video/how-psychedelics-are-saving-lives/
Like · Reply · 50 mins

Rob Byrne I’m not going out on a limb here to suggest he had a manic, albeit wonderful and enjoyable personality. Somehow, he seemed in control of his ups and downs and I think that’s why it was such a surprise. In retrospect, I suppose the altitudes of his highs had to be matched by some incredible depths. Such a sad loss.
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Darwin Ruan SHOCKING !!!
What a brutal genocide !!!
They killed 50.000 – 60.000 people for their organs and sell it to the World.
Is must be stopped !!!
http://beforeitsnews.com/…/shocking-truth-exclusive…
Like · Reply · 8 mins

Ada M. Ene sad news
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Clau Schwa That’s an unfortunate headline.
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Sandra Shevey Did he pay his Hamas subscription tell Cruz to go away???? Not PC Robbie.
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Sandra Shevey They are now saying `alleged` suicide. Murder??
Like · Reply · 2 hrs

Rumana Asif Zara Serpent
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Rumana Asif Sam Chaudhri
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

Rumana Asif Jason Manford.
Like · Reply · 3 hrs

True Manchester United fans “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”

– Robin Williams as Lance Clayton in World’s Greatest Dad (2009)
Like · Reply · 47 · 3 hrs

Sandie Fox Never a truer word said
Like · 3 · 3 hrs

Shu Her Journalists should take time to think before writing about a subject like this.
Like · 2 · 3 hrs

 

In The Center Of My Heart A Star

with thanks to Beth for the original posting…

Via dreaminginthedeepsouth.tumblr.com

By the Church on Sunday Morning Nobuyuki Taguchi

“It is perhaps the misfortune of my life that I am interested in far too much but not decisively in any one thing; all my interests are not subordinated in one but stand on an equal footing.”

— Søren Kierkegaard

*

“Most days I don’t know
what I want.
I want to escape,
I want to stay behind.
I want to leave without a goodbye
and disappear into the anonymity
of a new life,
I want to keep all the people I have loved
locked inside my heart forever.
Maybe it would be best to allow
the world to swallow me whole
and spit me out somewhere new.
I’ve spent a lifetime growing roots
into a place born of misery
and swallowing sunshine in
an effort to keep myself from
choking on the sadness that
smothered every single light that
threatened to expose this place.

I want everything.
I want to be a mystery to you,
untouchable,
a star all to myself
a galaxy away from your starved fingers,
I want you to cover my bones
with your body and kiss my secrets out of my skin,
I want to love and be loved,
I want to detach myself from
the danger of it all,
keep myself safe from breaking.

I want to be no one at all,
tossed into the wind with the
precious gift of knowing that
new beginnings are underway.
I want to be everywhere at once,
breathing new air,
shedding my skin with every new city.
I want to be someone,
I want my name to be held in someone’s
mouth with all the tenderness that
adoration brings.
I want to matter in the volatile way that
leaves fingerprints permanently etched into souls.

I am an island unknown to myself,
I am the brick house I’ve lived in
since I was a little girl.
I am simultaneously falling apart
and falling together.
I am a daughter of fire,
a descendant of the sea,
my entire being at war with
desire and reality.

I want it all to stop spinning.”

— Emily Palermo, Everything

*

“For a long time, memory researchers assumed that memories were like volumes stored in a library. When your brain remembered something, it was simply searching through the stacks and then reading aloud from whatever passage it discovered. But some scientists now believe that memories effectively get rewritten every time they’re activated, thanks to a process called reconsolidation. To create a synaptic connection between two neurons the associative link that is at the heart of all neuronal learning you need protein synthesis. Studies on rats suggest that if you block protein synthesis during the execution of learned behavior pushing a lever to get food, for instance the learned behavior disappears. It appears that instead of simply recalling a memory that had been forged days or months ago, the brain is forging it all over again, in a new associative context. In a sense, when we remember something, we create a new memory, one that is shaped by the changes that have happened to our brain since the memory last occurred to us.”

— Slate Magazine, “The Science of Eternal Sunshine by Steven, March 22, 2004

*

“In the waters of purity, I melted like salt
Neither blasphemy, nor faith, nor conviction, nor doubt remained.
In the center of my heart a star has appeared
And all the seven heavens have become lost in it.”

— Rumi

 
*

via Diana Butler Bass

Wisdom from Vincent Harding, historian, activist, author, preacher, who passed away this week at 82.
“We are not alone in this struggle for the re-creation of our own lives and the life of our community. It has long been written and known that those who choose to struggle for the life of the earth and its beings are part of an ageless, pulsating membrane of light that is filled with the lives, hopes, and beatific visions of all who have fought on, held on, loved well, and gone on before us. For this task is too magnificent to be carried by us alone, in our house, in our meeting, in our organization, in our generation, in our lifetime… we are all a part of one another, and we are all part of the intention of the great creator spirit to continue being light and life.

[ We are to seek out ] … a path that expresses our own searching – expanding the confidence in the healing power of the universe, in the presence of a loving, leading Power, exposing us always to the harsh and the tender, to the dreadful and the compassionate, prying our lives open to the evidence of things unseen.”
Amen.

 
*

“This is what Wisdom means: To be changed without the slightest effort on your part, to be transformed, believe it or not, merely by waking to the reality that is not words, that lies beyond the reach of words. If you are fortunate enough to be Awakened thus, you will know why the finest language is the one that is not spoken, the finest action is the one that is not done and the finest change is the one that is not willed.”

— Anthony de Mello [pure Grace – thanks to Stephen Parker for the quote]
 
*

Let Your Enemy Be Your Teacher
Monday, May 12, 2014


Make friends with your opponent quickly while he is taking you to court; or he will hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and the officer will throw you into prison. You will not get out until you have paid the last penny. — Matthew 5:25-26

Persona and shadow are correlative terms. Your shadow is what you refuse to see about yourself, and what you do not want others to see. The more you have cultivated and protected a chosen persona, the more shadow work you will need to do. Conversely, the more you live out of your shadow self, the less capable you are of recognizing the persona you are trying to protect and project. It is like a double blindness keeping you from seeing—and being—your best and deepest self. As Jesus put it, “If the lamp within you is, in fact, darkness, what darkness there will be” (Matthew 6:23). It is all about seeing—and seeing fully and truthfully. It takes a lifetime.

Your persona is what most people want from you and reward you for, and what you choose to identify with, for some reason. As you do your inner work, you will begin to know that your self-image is nothing more than just that, and not worth protecting, promoting, or denying. As Jesus says in the passage above, if you can begin to “make friends” with those who have a challenging message for you (your “enemies”), you will usually begin to see some of your own shadow. If you don’t, you will miss out on much-needed wisdom and end up “imprisoned” within yourself or taken to “court” by others; and you will undoubtedly have to “pay the last penny” to reorder your life and your relationships. In the spiritual life, your enemies are really your friends, and that is not just doubletalk. It is very often true.

Richard Rohr: Adapted from Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life,pp. 127-129

 
*

via Parabola Magazine

A simple science

Last night I spoke with a young Chinese woman clearly troubled about confronting deeply negative circumstances in her life; and one of my best friends is struggling with disease and heartbreak.

In their own way, each of them brings their whole Being, everything they are, into this personal moment of struggle and suffering, wondering why things have to be this way, and whether there isn’t a force, a material inner force, that can go against such things.

It prompted me to explain to my friend that people think metaphysics is about some cosmological pie-in-the-sky stuff; angels and cosmic evolution and so on. People write extraordinarily complicated texts about metaphysics, filled with magical diagrams and rays of cosmic energy, hydrogens and galaxies, and so on. It’s fair to say quantum physics is probably simpler to understand.

But that’s not what it’s like at all. Metaphysics is about here and now; it is about the power of Being, which emerges from the divine inward flow and is manifested through intellect and will. So we have an ability to manifest something materially, something extraordinary and positive, which affirms our Being; yet outward circumstances so often arrange themselves as destructive forces, and they seem more powerful than we are.

All of the great stories of heroism, from the epic of Gilgamesh to the stories from the concentration camps, celebrate humanity’s efforts to manifest the positive forces of being against these destructive outward circumstances. It is easy to swallow them as stories on a grand scale; but it is much more difficult to digest them when they are served cold and dirty on the hard plate of one’s personal life. That is when we really have to tighten our belts, pick up the fork, and eat what is true about our life and ourselves; and this is a dish we come to most reluctantly. It takes a greater kind of courage than the courage we read about in the heroic epics to confront our own lives; and although we can take inspiration from the great stories, it is every inward and outward breath of our own life that we have to deal with. This can be an anguishing labor. No one feels as grand as Hercules cleaning out the stables when one is dealing with the mental illness of a loved one or cancer.

This is where real metaphysics comes in. Physics is the study of objects, events, circumstances, and conditions; material things, things as they are. Metaphysics is the study of Being; of what we are as individuals, of how our consciousness encounters the material. So it’s an incredibly practical discipline; and everything about it is about beginning to understand that the external forces and events we confront are not who we are; in a certain sense, they don’t even exist. All they are is data; and data has no organized form or objective sense of what it is. It isn’t intelligent.

In the same sense that atomistic materialism tells us there is nothing more than these little bits of stuff that make up bigger stuff, all that data can ever say is that it is there. But our Being, our awareness — that is what allows us to inwardly form a relationship to the outer, and it is in that place, within us, that the outer events acquire form, which we can have an attitude towards.

This means, oddly, that the realm of heroism doesn’t lie in outward action; it is within us, where we form our attitude towards things, that the hero is born, not in the deeds that he or she does to save the world. Every human being who gets up in the morning and forms a positive attitude to overcome their obstacles and live in the face of the destructive forces around them is a hero. And they will always be a hero, whether they succeed or fail, because the hero is already there in the attitude, regardless of whether they live or die in the context of all the forces that would drag us down.

The hero starts here, and starts now, by saying, yes – I can Be. I can have a wish for the good.

We have a choice in our lives. We can practice this simple science of metaphysics in simple ways, by understanding how we form the outer world through our inner attitude; and we can begin in every moment by trying to make an effort for the good, rather than letting everything go down.

—Lee van Laer, poetry editor

angel2

When you pass through the fire, you pass through humble
You  pass through a maze of self doubt
When you pass through humble, the lights can blind you
Some people never figure that out

You pass through arrogance, you pass through hurt
You pass through an ever present past

And it’s best not to wait for luck to save you
Pass through the fire to the light
Pass through the fire to the light
Pass through the fire to the light

It’s best not to wait for luck to save you
Pass through the fire to the light

As you pass through the fire, your right hand waving
There are things you have to throw out
That caustic dread inside your head
Will never help you out

You have to be very strong, ’cause you’ll start from zero
Over and over again
And as the smoke clears there’s an all consuming fire
Lyin’ straight ahead
Lyin’ straight ahead
Lyin’ straight ahead

As the smoke clears there’s an all consuming fire
Lyin’ straight ahead

They say no one person can do it all
But you want to in your head
But you can’t be Shakespeare and you can’t be Joyce
So what is left instead

You’re stuck with yourself and a rage that can hurt you
You have to start at the beginning again
And just this moment this wonderful fire
Started up again

When you pass through humble, when you pass through sickly
When you pass through I’m better than you all
When you pass through anger and self deprecation
And have the strength to acknowledge it all

When the past makes you laugh and you can savor the magic
That let you survive your own war
You find that that fire is passion
And there’s a door up ahead not a wall

As you pass through fire as you pass through fire
Tryin’ to remember it’s name
When you pass through fire lickin’ at your lips
You cannot remain the same

And if the building’s burning move towards that door
But don’t put the flames out
There’s a bit of magic in everything
And then some loss to even things out

Some loss to even things out
Some loss to even things out
There’s a bit of magic in everything
And then some loss to even things out

angel

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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October 2021
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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory