A Reexamination Of Comfort Zones And Creativity

Being in one’s comfort zone or not seems to be a marker of all sorts of wonderful traits including creativity and progressiveness. I can even be a path to success and wealth!

I consider myself a creative person. However, I find many ideas about comfort zones, and getting out of them, to have very little to do with creativity and creating a good life for yourself.

Since I perceive quality of life something that we can and need to create for ourselves, I think that reevaluating comfort zones is a necessary step before it is possible to actually improve your life.

Distorting Comfort Zones

Current ideas of comfort zones, in particular getting out of one’s comfort zone, are very much tied to the growth model of economic progress. Getting out of one’s comfort zone appears to have become somewhat of a cultural ideal and I think that is problematic. Being uncomfortable is not necessarily better than being comfortable. It is important to be able to know when to step out of comfort zones and when not to.

Here are some reasons, a society might value having people move out of their comfort zones:

  • if our comfort zone is “bad”, we will seek continuous self-improvement. Although there is nothing wrong with learning, it is better when it is for healthy reasons rather than to live up to a cultural ideal,
  • we buy and consume more, in particular more than we need. If living in a smaller house and having fewer possessions makes sense for us, it will be demeaned in a consumption based economic system. “Enough” is just a synonym for your comfort zone.
  • it can be thought of as supporting the hypermasculine culture of Western civilization with its emphasis on markets, competition, conquest, and expansion. Nurturing and sustaining activities are mostly devalued. One example of the mindset occurs with those people who assert that they will rest when they are dead, as if rest is a waste of time.
  • if we are out of our comfort zones, we may not be true to ourselves. For example, we are out of our comfort zone when we pretend to be happy when we are not. If we do this often enough we lose access to and recognition of our real feelings and true selves.
  • if we go along with getting out of our comfort zone as a cultural model, we may not be able to identify our real values and aspirations.
  • there is more to comfort zones than the demands of a hyper consuming society.
  • getting out of one’s comfort zone is not about becoming extreme in sports or any other endeavor.
  • getting out of one’s comfort zone implies that what is natural may not be good. Should we be rude because being cordial is in our comfort zone?
  • dissing comfort zones suggests that the ordinary is not good enough. Actually the ordinary is magnificent if we can stop long enough to see it.

Getting out of one’s comfort zone can be as mindless as any other idea.

Reframing Comfort Zones

One way to get out of the trap of comfort zones is to reframe what you are doing because frankly your comfort zone is really not all that important an idea to wrap your life around. It certainly should not be a reason for doing anything.

If you make yourself present to where you are, what you want or need to do and the steps to accomplish what you need to do, how do comfort zones enter into that?

Do you need to get out of your comfort zone when brushing your teeth. Perhaps standing on your head while brushing would be out of your comfort zone, but would it be worthwhile to do so?

Perhaps you should consider sleeping standing up because that would be out of your comfort zone.

A Better Use Of Comfort And Discomfort

All absolutes are problematic, because there aren’t any. Absolutes are an illusion. So turning anything into an absolute as a guide for living life is a mistake. That includes “getting out of your comfort zone” if you use it as a measure of whether or not what you are doing is a good idea.

It is far better to use comfort to determine when something is working or not. We use it as a tool for learning and living in a healthier way.

We HSPs have the ability because we are so intuitive, creative and in touch with our feelings to notice comfort and discomfort as a way to make life work better – not as an absolute but as a tool for compassionate living.

That is really the value of discomfort and comfort and one of the wonderful ways HSPs can add a lot of value and magic to the world.

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Are You Suffering From Cultural Depression?

Cultural Depression - HSP Heath Blog

Shopping! © by antwerpenR

I see a lot of depression around me.

Perhaps you do, too.

But it is a strange kind of depression the kind of depression that comes when everything around us seems wrong.

Depression And Culture

What I am seeing is a fairly complex depression that comes from a number of sources – like an octopus messing with our inner well-being. I am calling it cultural depression.

Culture and psychological well being are closely related. If a culture does not support the well-being of its members, then numerous emotional and psychological conditions can be expected. According to Time Magazine, one in five Americans are taking medication for mental health issues. That number does not take into account the numbers of people medicating themselves in other ways.

Depression And How We Value Ourselves

We humans have an important need: the need to like and be happy with ourselves.

Our ability to do that is aided or harmed by our culture through rewards and punishments, approval and disapproval, being included or excluded. How that is handled is very important and can make or break a society.

We humans also have a need to be a part of and contribute to the culture that sustains us, and we also want to be proud of it. We need to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror at night and know that we did our best, made our contribution and had something to do with the  good in our world.

What happens when that contribution is marginalized? limited? controlled? and diminished?

What happens when we are treated as commodities? treated as burdens? made demands of without having our own needs met?

What happens when our ability to solve our on problems is taken away? our skills are undeveloped? our talents unwanted?

What happens when we are nothing more than cogs in a wheel rather that the important creative force in our lives? How many can say that their real self is truly valued?

Cultural Depression And How We Define Ourselves

Because we grow up in a particular cultural context, we learn to define ourselves in terms of the culture we live in. Question the culture and you discover quickly how much culture and identity are intertwined. Want to abandon a culture? You will soon discover how much you depend on it.

Of course we can practice detachment and that is healthy. However, it is equally valid to assert that a culture needs to serve its members and needs to have a healthy purpose and healthy practices. Which means that it needs to support the health and self-actualization of its citizens.

How Cultural Depression Feels

I am mostly interested in how it affects us on the inside, which impacts our ability to function and live well. Our highly mechanized economic system has an affect on how we feel. Many people have some of all of these feelings:

  • we are incidental. Most of our living comes from  a “system”.  What is not systematized? We have systematized food production, all sorts of goods production and distribution, and the education and economic system.  It is operated by humans working machines. We are largely incidental and feel it.
  • we are displays. We are able to display the results of all of this systematization: through the clothes we wear, cars we drive and houses we live in. We are all mannequins in this store called Earth.
  • we are dependent. We cannot usually leave this system because when we go to school, we learn the skills necessary to survive in it, not without it. So we have become dependent on it which can make us feel insecure. Are we living our lives or just passing through on a conveyor belt from birth to death?

A highly mechanized and systematized winner-take-all economic system like our current version of capitalism leave a lot of people feeling depressed and unhappy. And that is a reasonable response to a difficult situation. Often it feels uncomfortable because

  • it seems relentless –  the activity and production. It’s a system that seems afraid to stop.
  • of the hustling: hustle to work, to feel good, to smile no matter what. The forced and expected validation of a system that we have to support to survive.
  • then comes the fear:
    • the fear of not being included or dropping out.
    • the fear of the judgment of others should you not measure up
    • the fear as one famous critic said, “of being irrelevant.” Being irrelevant is often seen as a failure and the end of your livelihood.
  • then the exhaustion, because no matter how hard you try, it is very difficult to get to a place where you can rest. In essence the odds are stacked against you. It’s not just a rat race, it is a rat trap.

Our culture has supported our growth in some important ways, however, the growth that is supported is very limited and confined to the  direct needs of that economic system. So if you decide to define yourself beyond the economic system, you may find yourself out on a limb.

What started innocently as a way to improve the material well-being of the human race has now become an albatross around our necks – a shallow and relentlessly materialistic model that has turned human beings into commodities like everything else.

Unfortunately this system needs for us to be dependent on it so that it can survive – a dependency that causes us to feel vulnerable when something goes wrong. Then we have to take notice of how many of our basic needs are met by products transported to us from elsewhere. We are living with a societal structure that has so many points of failure that we are all excessively vulnerable. That does not feel good.

What Can We Do About Cultural Depression?

Our current system is mature and entrenched. It is unlikely to respond to individual needs and concerns in a meaningful way. That is asking more than it can do. But we do not have to leave it at that. We can start to get rid of cultural depression by taking our lives back by:

  • taking our bodies back from processed and fast food, soft drinks and snack foods.
  • take our minds back from packaged entertainment that offers a negative view of people and the world.
  • take our livelihoods back by  investing in skills that help us and others to become healthy.
  • investing in local sources of food and other necessities so that we are less vulnerable to supply disruptions in other places.
  • investing in our local community so that it becomes the life supporting and sustaining place it can be.

We do not have to be victims of cultural depression.  Everyone has natural creativity which can be used to make life more enjoyable. sustainable and satisfying.

It means living on a human scale and just requires a leap of faith.

The Secret Of Life

What is the secret of life?

Is there a secret to life?

Why Do So Many Things Go Wrong?

I wondered when I was a child why so many things seemed to go wrong and why so many people were unhappy. It did not make sense to me. I assumed that most people want to be happy so why weren’t they?

One of the things that has always struck me is how many times people turn something into a problem. Whether it is someone else’s behavior, clothes, interests etc. Although it can be justified, not everything deserves to be turned into a problem.

People who turn most things into a problem often find them where they do not exist – they create them. Their perceptual lens is a problem lens.

Having a problem focus changes how we operate as individuals and as groups. It causes us to hold back, hide and fear. In a problem oriented culture, we may do the same in our interactions with different individuals and social groups.

When we see “problems”, we are not seeing reality. We are not open to the larger context of all of life around us. In essence we are getting only a small part of the picture.

The Danger Of Problem Focused Thinking

Problem focused thinking can be dangerous.

The problem oriented mind identifies problems according to its own likes and dislikes and biases of various sorts. So if I have a problem oriented mind and I liked snakes, I might not identify the snake slithering toward me as a threat. Or if I met someone who looked a lot like a dear friend, I might not notice the coldness in their eyes and wonder about them. Or if I like a particular ice cream I might not notice that the product now includes a lot of additives that can promote ill health.

Our likes and dislikes often become filters that we use to make decisions in life that can actually do us harm.

Another way that problem focused thinking trips us up is that it causes us to notice events as potential problems which means that we are often noticing what I call “symptoms.” If you sneeze you hav a symptom of something not quite right with your nose. It could be allergies, a virus which is becoming a cold or flu, or something more serious. When we are problem oriented we try to get rid of the symptom usually before we know what the problem is. When we do that, we may create temporary relief while letting the real problem fester and become worse.

Problem focused thinking can cause us to make relationship mistakes also. It can cause us to make choices based on the feelings of others rather than our real needs. We can then sacrifice our time and energy to please others and neglect our own important needs.

The Secret Of Life: It’s Not Problems

When we are problem oriented most of us create problems for ourselves because we are trying to escape our problems which we have created!

When we are trying to escape we are disengaging from the present so we are actually disempowering ourselves from finding a positive path forward. Problem identification and escape can become a dynamic that governs our daily lives and our relationships.

One of the reasons that wise people encourage meditation and the practice of detachment is to keep us engaged in the present but to let go of the problem/escape dynamic that makes it hard for us to live in an enthusiastic and unconflicted way.

The minute we turn something into a problem we create aversion. I am not trying to be naive and suggest that we do not have any problems. If a tiger is running toward you and your mind starts thinking about a problem and how to escape it, you are not using all of your energy to actually deal with the situation; you mind is actually diverting your attention so that you have less of your attention to bring to bear. It is interesting that in our mind focused world, we have not really noticed how much our mind may be causing our problems.

The Secret Of Life

The secret of life is to embrace it in each moment without reservation. The reason that it is important is that then you bring your whole self to each moment. You are fully engaged and not holding back. When you do that you gain more from the experience of each moment. You lose that distraction that compromises your efforts.

When you embrace each moment, you are loving each moment of your life. You may not necessarily love everything going on, but you are loving each moment of your life and so make the most of each moment whatever is in it. Over time you will focus more and more on those things that bring more to your life and where you bring more to life, which makes each moment a gift for everyone.

So the secret of life is to love each moment of it and when you do you will find that life loves you back.

How Reiki Helps Depression

 

How Reiki Helps Depression - HSP Health Blog

Reiki Hand Position at Bellasante Spa, Boston

Can depression be treated?

Can depression sufferers find relief without medication?

Understanding Depression

I think depression is very misunderstood. So often it is treated as a defect or a personality problem.

Studies have shown that long term depression comes from the way our brains develop in childhood. The implication is that adverse childhood conditions of abuse or serious neglect, living with problems that we cannot control and cannot solve create changes in how our brains function and  can cause depression.

Covering Up Depression Doesn’t Work

So often we think that when we are not feeling well, that the solution is a trip to the doctor or emergency room. We naturally seek a way to get rid of the pain. Sometimes we medicate ourselves with food, drink, entertainment and other diversions. It doesn’t work.

The distractions don’t last for long and then the problem returns and we end up feeling even worse; however they have the negative effect of causing us to feel like failures because we do not seem to be able to control our lives and ourselves.

Different Types Of Depression>

The vicious cycle occurs because we often do not understand the problem we are trying to solve. Depression can come from a number of sources and we need to educate ourselves before we can create the changes we need.

There are different kinds of depressions but they generally fall into two categories:

  • situational depressions like job loss or losing a friend that are temporary although painful
  • chronic forms of depression which is caused by life conditions.

Chronic depression arises when we have unresolved negative feelings, often as a result of our childhoods, that make us feel sad, bad and hopeless. Unfortunately, chronic depression can change the way our brain works and make it more difficult for us to get well.

Chronic depression can feel like an attack on our life force by making us feel that life is not worth living. So what can reiki do about all this?

How Reiki Helps Depression Symptoms

Reiki is a hands on healing technique that transmits universal energy from the reiki practitioner to the individual receiving the treatment. The practitioner applies hand positions on the body which passes the energy to the reiki client. The energy enters the body and goes to wherever it is needed.

This infusion of energy results in changes to the energy body of the person receiving the treatment. All illnesses including depression show up in the energy body. They show up as blocks to the natural flow of energy. Blocks to our energy can come from repressed feelings as well as poor food, water, sleep habits, and other lifestyle problems.

They can also come from stress as well as unprocessed grief and sadness. Think about how you feel under stress. You tighten up on the inside and the flow of energy in the body becomes constricted. That constriction impairs your functioning. Multiply that one stress incident by all the stress in your life, and you have seriously blocked energy that can create illness, including mental illnesses and depression.

Reiki Helps You Find Your Joy

Reiki puts us back in touch with our healthy flowing energy. When we experience it, it reminds us of who we are and how we can be healthy and joyful. Reiki energy enables a new healing energy to clear out blockages. When the constriction starts to clear, we feel lighter, more relaxed and more loving toward ourselves and others.

The history of reiki is full of stories about the healing of all sorts of conditions. Some heal very quickly. Others make take multiple sessions for the new energy to take hold and clear out blockages. One of reiki’s advantages it that it can be learned and then performed on the self. Many reiki masters perform daily self reiki to heal their blockages.

Receiving a reiki treatment can be a wonderful experience, putting you in touch with a happy part of yourself that you may not be aware of if you are depressed. Just finding and learning about your inner healer is a good way to get on the road out of depression.

Image Credit: Bellasante Spa, Boston, MA

Self Sacrifice Can Make You Sick

Self sacrifice is very hard to escape.

It is so conditioned into us that whether you are an HSP or non-HSP doesn’t matter. You are subject to the expectation.

Self sacrifice carried to an extreme will make you sick, emotionally and physically.

Why is self-sacrifice such a problem?

Self Sacrifice Solves A Lot Of Problems

Self sacrifice solves so may problems:

  • if there are scarce resources, self sacrifice ensures that there is “enough”
  • if someone is abusive, expecting self sacrifice from victims “erases” a problem and injustice
  • if life is unfair, it is because self sacrifice is your “lot” in life
  • if the system does not work, self sacrifice enables us to avoid dealing with the problem
  • expectations of self sacrifice ensure that social inequities remain in place by allocating support only to some
  • expectations of self sacrifice maintain unequal relationships and relationships that are one way streets. They maintain power imbalances and the status quo.

How Self Sacrifice Affects An Individual

Self sacrifice feels devastating to the individual who experiences it. It is more than feeling like you are less than others. It is a way of appropriating the life force of one individual for the benefit of others.

For highly sensitive people for whom emotional vampires are a danger, a life of self sacrifice can be even more cruel since you are being both emotionally and usually physically exploited without any hope for reciprocity and care.

People stuck in self denying situations often feel angry depleted and robbed of their lives.

They are right!

Self Sacrifice Destroys Relationships

Self sacrifice is culturally conditioned. That means it is expeted and is often the basis of social and familial approval.

When such an arrangement is socially supported, change becomes more difficult, because the social support for change is not there. Generally some people benefit from the arrangement and therefore will not want to end it.

A sacrificing arrangement takes away the power from the person who is sacrificing, because it is in the nature of the relationships to deny the validity of any claims from the individual who is being used. That is why many people who have been in self sacrificing situations will feel rage and powerlessness at the same time: wo uncomfortable emotions and even more hurtful together.

An unequal self sacrificing relationship is set by expectation and social custom, therefore, it is not always possible to negotiate a beter arrangement, and if improvements are possible they are often hard won and hard maintained.

Without appearing too gloomy, it is important to be honest about the deep difficulties faced by those individuals and groups whose lives have been damaged by individual, group and systemic exploitation. When you grasp and feel the intractability of racism and sexism, you can have some compassion for those recovering from those forms of discrimination.

Self sacrifice may be physically and emotionally devartating to the victim, but it is also spiritually damaging, even more so for the perpetrator than the victim, although both are harmed, nonetheless.

Changing Your Life

Changing your life to one of healthy living and wellbeing is very challenging. It is important to treat oneself with respect during the difficult process of change.

People who seek more equal and more respectful relationships are often considered troublemakers, and misanthropes by those who gain from the inequity.

We see this resistance to change all over as our world gradually evolves to one where individuals share the world more fully. As desirable as equality is, it takes time to make a transition to an equality based life and can take a long time depending on the support that you have and receive.

As individuals recovering from racism can attest, the road to full acceptance can be a long one.

There are steps you can take to make the process easier:

  1. assess your skills and resources
  2. develop skills so that you can survive in the world
  3. determine shat your basic necessities are and get them met s that you need as little as possible during the process of creating a self respecting life for yourself.
  4. find support among people who share your desire and vision for a better way of life
  5. expect the process of change to take time
  6. honor yourself for making the journey

Developing a self respecting life is a hero’s journey. Those who undertake it deserve compassion and respect.

Ayurveda For Any Type Of Depression

depression
Any type of depression is tricky to heal since it can present itself in many ways. It can range from temporary mood swings to more persisting feelings of dejection or self-pity over an extended period of time. In its most extreme form, depression can even present itself as severe melancholia, leading the sufferer to contemplate suicide.

Most people think of depression as a state of mind, when in fact it is a clinical condition stemmed from a physical hormone imbalance. Once diagnosed, there are treatments for any type of depression that can help the sufferer feel better and which can lead to a drastic change in attitude, outlook on life and even appearance. Studies have shown that there are natural ways to treat depression such as through supplements and exercise that don’t have the long-lasting side effects of strong pharmaceuticals.

Ayurveda For Any Type Of Depression

One of the most promising source of treatments and supplements available is Ayurveda. Ayurveda is a traditional Indian medicine that has been used for thousands of years to treat various ailments caused by an imbalance in the bodies energies. Once the energies are stabilized, it is believed that mental and physical health can return.

Ayurveda is safe and natural. It can be used in conjunction with other medications. Ayurvedic doctors work with Western medicine but nonetheless it’s best to check with a doctor before beginning to take Ayurveda if you are currently taking any other medications.

How Ayurveda Works For Any Type Of Depression

Ayurveda works by addressing the two main causes of depression:

  • an imbalance in the three doshas or bioenergies of the human ecosystem: Vata, Pitta and Kapha
  • developing and promoting an awareness of the inner Self

Doshas are the bioenergetic forces that determine health, both mentally and physically. Dosha imbalances result in physical as well as behavioral imbalances and symptoms. It is believed that depression is largely caused by an imbalance in the body that may progress to more serious ailments if left untreated.

More Than One Type of Depression

Ayurveda is useful for treating any type of depression.

Ayurveda provides a full range of treatments and living solutions that enable you to take care of yourself so that you are in optimum health. They offer excellent stress reduction techniques, diet and lifestyle solutions as well as herbal remedies and detoxification. All of the Ayurvedic treatments are natural and meant to enhance and support the bioenergy of the individual.

The different types of depression show up in different ways:

  • Vata induced depression is characterized by an abundance of fear, anxiety, nervousness and sleeplessness. It can be aggravated by loneliness or the loss of a loved one.
  • Pitta induced depression involves fear of failure or fear of making mistakes. If untreated, this form can progress to suicidal tendencies. People who suffer from this form of depression are usually addicted to success or may be pressured by family achieve things. It often manifests itself in the winter.
  • Kapha induced depression is characterized by the feeling of being weighed down. It involves excessive sleepiness, obesity and feelings of having a wasted life.

The special blend of herbs and ingredients in Ayurveda address imbalances of each type of dosha while not affecting the healthy part of the body. Each type of depression experienced stems from whatever the dosha is lacking. Ayurvedic herbs are a great way to restore balance to the body.

What Are Some Ayurvedic Treatments For Depression?

Ayurveda is a combination of herbs that together work to restore balance to an individual’s body. For those suffering from depression suitable herbs will have a calming effect on the nervous system and brain. Some suitable herbal ingredients include Brahmi, Ashwagandha, Vachaa, Mandook parni and Guduchi that are available in a variety of herbal combinations.

In addition to supplements, there are also external Ayurvedic treatments. Some detoxification treatments that can be helpful are the pouring of liquid medication over the forehead between the eyebrows, and body massage. Ayurvedic medicine also stresses the practice of yoga for health and treatment of specific ailments.

The combination of supplements, yoga and awareness can help cure the depression, allowing the sufferer to lead a healthier, happier life. Unlike western medicines, Ayurveda is a safe and natural way to address imbalances in the body that may lead to a variety of health problems. Ayurveda is particularly valuable for highly sensitive people because if is tailored to the individual, is designed to support your natural and best self and doesn’t cause the side effects of allopathic medications.

For HSPs it is definitely worth asking your natural health practitioner about Ayurveda to find out if you can benefit from its natural approach to treating depression.

Unfreeze Those Feelings

The HSPs 7 Paths To Reducing Sensitivity - HSP Health Blog

Source: Flickr

To a child all feelings may seem huge, since they feel so small – and are.

Children are very natural about their feelings. They experience them and let them go.

Unfortunately, it does not take long before we learn that our feelings are unwanted and inconvenient.

Then we start to reject them and hold them in with all the negative effects that brings.

What Happens To Our Feelings?

Our feelings become objectified. We learn to treat them like objects at a store, some unwanted and others preferred as demonstrated to us by our families and educators.

And so the stress starts. According to Yogi Amrit Desai, founder of Kripalu Yoga in a June, 2010 article in Natural AwakeningsHealing the Root Cause of Addiction with Ayurveda A Natural Cure for Unhealthy Dependence by Linda Sechrist,  

“It is important to recognize that most people don’t know the difference between tension and stress…

He observes that stressors—thoughts and reactions to our lifestyle, relationships, work environment and family life—are introduced through the ego mind. Emotionally charged thoughts and feelings of blame, shame or guilt then get metabolized into our biological body system. Stored in the form of toxins and neuro-glandular imbalances, these feelings create energy blocks that prevent the free flow of energy, or prana, the body’s self-healing wisdom.

Energy blocks may take the form of muscular tensions and weakness in liver, kidney and digestive functions. Gradual decline results in a progressive deterioration of biological processes and consequently can manifest in external symptoms of fatigue, fear, anxiety and insecurity.”

Essentially we are socialized to have certain emotions and reject others and our unwanted emotions then get stuck in our bodies and gradually make us sick.

Why Rejecting Feelings Is A Mistake

When we reject our feelings, we cannot own them and process them.

When we are processing our feelings, we take them in, accept them feel them and listen to them. It is called metabolism.

Metabolism comes from the greek word ” metabole” for change or transformation. At any given time as we interact with our world we are in the process of metabolism – of perceptions, thought, feelings, emotions as well as material substances such as food and water.  All forms of life engage in metabolism, from plants to humans.

When we are unable to metabolize a food it will clog our bodies. When we are unable to metabolize or process emotions, they will clog our system as well. Ideally we process all food and experiences each day so that we are in a state of flowing with life. If only it were that simple!

It is often not  possible to process all information and feelings when they occur. Some feelings can be part of a larger process.  The grieving process is a good example of that.  However, the most difficult situations are those where an acceptable arrangement is not possible – situations that are abusive, demeaning, and dehumanizing –  because the pain of these situations often does long term damage to the energy of the body, and takes a long time to heal.

Learning To Accept And Release Feelings

It can be useful to think of feelings as information.  When the feelings are the result of a past experience transferred onto the present, it is a sign that there is unfinished business in the past that must be dealt with. Another way of looking at it is that energy has become blocked in the body, it has not been metabolized. Under these circumstances it is our job to accept the feelings so that they can be released.

There are releasing practices available including meditation,and the energy healing practices of eft (emotional freedom technique) and reiki that help with processing emotions. Writing in a journaling has been widely used and can be effective.  Therapy groups have been helpful to many.  The more severe the experiences causing blocked energy the greater the need for therapeutic solutions.  The body has its wisdom and in some severely abusive situations it will “store” emotions to be processed at a later date if that is what is needed to survive.

Highly sensitive people and severely abused people need to be aware that they can accept and take charge of their healing process by finding therapeutic practices and groups that will let them forgive and let go of the past. Engaging in such practices helps minimize the potential for long term destructive addiction and therefore is valuable for all people.

The Message Of Depression

Depression

„Depression USA“ © by Михал Орела

 

Do you think that there is something wrong with you when you are depressed?

Suppose you are depressed because there is something right with you.

Possible?

Depression And The Aching Heart

What is the message of depression?

Often when we think of depression we think of loss, disappointment and other feelings connected to our external lives.  That is actually what it is.

John Douillard so eloquently says in his article on depression on the Kripalu website, we operate from our hearts when we are children until someone hurts us and if we are sensitive the hurt is especially grave.

When we are young we are naturally heart centered, which means that we embrace the world and everything in it as our home.  Animals operate this way all the time.

When we are hurt by others, our heart and real self have been essentially devalued, and we feel an acute sense of loss. The loss we feel is an important one.  What we have experienced is an important rejection and a rejection of what is important.

For most people, the rejection results in the creation of their “commercial” self, the self that is what is desired by others.  That way we will not inconvenience anyone with our real self.

Part of us wants to revolt, and another part of us recognizes that we need others to survive when we are young.  And so our mind acts to keep us in a safe, unthreatening place, and we become half of what we could be – at best.

How To Treat Depression With Ayurveda

Ayurveda treats depression differently and in doing so helps highly sensitive people see their symptoms in a different light.  As John Douillard says,

“Simply put, depression occurs when a person loses access to the essential Self as a result of this barrier. For a sensitive person, who by definition has more innate access to the heart and soul than most people, to lose this deep access is quite tragic. Fatigue is the first physiological response to a mind that has driven the body into exhaustion in the name of control and self-protection. Anxiety is a result of this exhaustion because the body and mind need energy and reserves to calm themselves down, stabilize moods, and initiate sleep. As the exhaustion persists, the body and mind ultimately become depressed or physiologically exhausted. The good news is that healing the cause of anxiety and depression is not a painful process of endurance and strain; it is a joyful discovery of your true, abiding nature.”

Ayurveda offers meditation, lifestyle support and herbal relief for all forms of illness. The best feature about Ayurveda is that it customizes natural treatments to suit the individual so being highly sensitive is not considered a fault or problem. It also treats the whole person which means you are not always dealing with the consequences of one failed medication after another.

Respect Depression

I think it takes courage to allow yourself to feel depressed in a world that demands that you behave otherwise. There is plenty to be depressed about.

Being depressed lets you listen to your precious inner Self that wants to be heard, that wants to help you live well.

You inner Self is your natural source of protection, you inner and outer guide, your Soul seeking to live fully.

Your depression is your natural response to the full living you are being denied for whatever reason. It is a message that you need to go in a different direction.

If depressed HSP’s can come to see their depressive symptoms as a call from their true Self, and even their best self, then they may be able to find compassion for their condition and start to gradually welcome that true Self into the world.

Change to a more suitable way of life takes time. It is a gradual process.

So respect your depression as a sign that change is necessary. Let your inner knowing speak to you and gently follow it to a new and better place.

How To Beat Triumphalism And Heal Emotional Wounds

Emotional wounds are very difficult to heal.

They are even harder for highly sensitive people to recover from.

Have you ever wondered why that is?

What Happens To Emotional Wounds?

What is an emotional wound?

An emotional wound is damage to our spirit and therefore our life force. It is an attack on our heart and soul.

When we have an emotional wound it becomes part of our body and psychic system and stays there until healed.

For highly sensitive people the healing process is longer than for others. We get hurt more often, we see the hurt in the world around us and can be overwhelmed by the damage being done. We can feel wounded and helpless.

Our bodies can become littered with unhealed emotional wounds which can make it very difficult for us to function.

As it is, we are already challenged by our sensitivity and stress levels so if we are harmed with emotional wounds, our health and well-being can be in serious trouble.

Do You Reinjure Yourself?

Emotional healing can be more difficult because we reinjure ourselves. Reinjury can happen with our intending it.

The biggest cause of our reinjury and our greatest potential for healing comes from understanding the systemic nature of reinjury.

I appreciate the need for acountability and responsibility, however, we cannot heal unless we know what we are up against so that we can take constructive action.

What we are up against is an approach to life called triumphalism.

What Is Triumphalism?

According to Wikipedia

Triumphalism is the attitude or belief that a particular doctrine, religion, culture, or social system is superior to and should triumph over all others. Triumphalism is not an articulated doctrine but rather a term that is used to characterize certain attitudes or belief systems by parties…

Triumphalism, then, is a group attitude shared by the individuals involved. Because of its social nature, it can be the basis of the group’s identity. Nationalistic, patriotic, religious and other groups often subscribe to triumphalism.

Triumphalist groups act to conquer others. Conquest is one of their primary missions.

If you examine modern cultural discourse, much of it has to do with conquest. Even those sectors of society that we think of as helping us like health care us conquest as their model:

  • conquering the common cold,
  • conquering various diseases
  • conquering old age

are all ways of speaking and talking about health. It’s all about an adversary that we are trying to subdue.

Triumphalist thinking about health care is evident in the media. Look at the television show House. Every show is a triumph against another health adversary – almost killing the patient.

How Triumphalism Hurts Us

Triumphalism is systemic therefore we encounter it every day in one form or another:

  • in other people
  • in social settings
  • at work
  • even in our families if that is how they think.

Unfortunately we are not having a public discourse on triumphalism, so it can be very difficult to get a handle on. When we discuss problems they tend to be thought of as individual problems.

By hyper individualizing problems in a triumphalist system, we put the burden of survival on the individual and expect them to support a triumphalist system that can only hurt them. We essentially have stacked the deck against the individual without being really honest about it.

In a triumphalist system, your value is dependent on your contribution to sustaining that system. If you do not subscribe to triumphalist thinking then you perceived value automatically goes down. That can be very frightening in a world with few safety nets.

Triumphalism shows up in our daily interactions with others. It is the source of snobbery and one upsmanship because triumphalism pits one against the other. If you are not into competitive social engagement and most HSPs are not, then you may feel very out of sync with your world. Because you are!

How To Heal Those Emotional Wounds

Healing emotional wounds take time but here are some tips to heal from triumphalism and take your life back:

  1. take stock of your life and how many wounds may have come from triumphalist thinking and behavior that caused you to feel devalued or worse
  2. take stock of how much triumphalist thinking is a part of your life:
    • work
    • family
    • friends
    • activities
  3. recognize that you may need to make some changes to reduce the incidence of triumphalist events and people in your life.
  4. list where you have more collaborative relationships and see if you can develop more.
  5. if your work environment supports you, terrific! If not look at how you can use you current skills in a more creative or collaborative environment and consider starting a process of job change.
  6. see if those who have harmed you are in the triumphalist camp and whether you can let go of the negative experience. If you see that behavior as unacceptable to you and one that you are phasing out of your life, your constructive action can help make it easier to forgive and let go.
  7. develop strong self care routines. Nothing defeats triumphalism like great self care. Take great care of yourself is actually a revolutionary act.

You Can Heal

By treating triumphalism as an impersonal and mistaken approach to living, you can take back your life, honor your past without succumbing to self pity and elevate your needs for healing and quality of life.

Depersonalizing the hurtful behavior helps you pull your energy in so that you are not available for further destructive interactions. You will be freeing yourself for more positive relationships and pursuits. You will also be freeing yourself to develop your creative potential.

HSPs have suffered for a long time from the dark side of triumphalism.

We deserve better and should give ourselves the better lives we deserve.

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Guilt Riddance

Guilt!

We all hate it, and it can cling to us no matter what we do.

Why is that?

Where Does Guilt Come From?

I think guilt is interesting in a way. None of us are born with it, and yet it is like a plague of emotional contamination in our lives.

Many of us are taught to feel guilty from a young age. I know I certainly was.

So why do we need it? Do we need it? If we do not think we need it, why would someone else think we do?

Guilt is taught to children.

Why?

Probably because of the belief that humans are intrinsically “bad” and need guilt to prevent them from being destructive.

Given the many studies and anecdotal experience which demonstrates the natural empathy of humans, isn’t it strange that we think we need an emotional mechanism to ontrol people?

Are People Intrinsically Bad?

The idea that people are intrinsically bad has been around for a long time. Many religions, including my inherited one, promote the idea of original sin, an assumed badness that must be trained out of the individual.

Unfortunately, a defined idea of goodness and badness is irrelevant in reality and serves to create order not goodness. How deceptive!

In a simplistic way, if we look at the traditional definitions of a “good” man we are offered: strong, in control, provider, unemotional, rational. These are soldier characteristics. Soldiers are meant to maintain order. A traditionally “good” woman is self sacrificing, modest, family oriented. A woman who supports others in particular men who keep the order in society.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with these characteristics. That is the problem. They can be useful, but so can others. They keep the order in a society at the expense of our development into whole, intentional and compassionate human beings.

The Dirty Secret Of Guilt

Guilt has a dirty secret. When we try to make someone else feel guilty we are really making them responsible for us, and our feelings.

At a group level, that means that we make some people responsible for the feelings of others. This dynamic is the basis of oppression and discrimination.

Such guilt based expectation means that other have to be a certain way for us to feel safe. It is a preemptive strategy that denies someone else their becoming and takes their life force to meet our needs.

It is a way to operate as an emotional vampire without being honest about it. All in the name of safety.

The High Cost Of Guilt Based Stereotypes

Stereotypes result in dependency. Traditionally, men are responsible for “thinking” and women for “feeling”. What a mess that has created!

More importantly, we give up important parts of ourselves when we submit to stereotypes. Thinking and feeling are not really separate parts of ourselves. They inform each other or should. When we split off parts of ourselves we lose our resilience and effectiveness. Then we really lose our goodness.

Maintaining order has been a primary goal of social organization for thousands of years. Many consider it necessary for our survival. I am certain that at some time it was. However, we have to wonder whether or not so much effort needs to be expended by various groups trying to impose their version of order on others.

Do we need to cripple people with guilt to keep them docile and quiet?

Do we need to cripple people with burdensome identities that prevent them from becoming ming into their true Selves?

Do we need to cripple people with fear of each other so that we can maintain the investment of outworn structures?

Do we need to make people afraid of parts of themselves so that they fear introspection?

Do we need to maintain false certainties to promote self doubt in the thinkers and questioners in our societies?

 A False Bargain

When we submit to guilt induced ideas about right and wrong, we are abdicating the stewardship of our well being and even our souls.

We are allowing that approval is the same thing as happiness and then wonder why we cannot understand what is missing.

What is missing is us, our authentic selves.

When we give up guilt, we invite our authentic self to emerge.

I think that is a fabulous deal.