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April 06, 2008

Hope Beyond Hope


- Stanley Park, March 2008

Faith Sees the Invisible
- anonymous

Have you ever been on the fringe of a problem that seems so difficult that no matter how much you think about it you’re having trouble figuring out what you can do to help provide some resources or scenarios for someone else that might make a difference?

And, even when you do attempt to provide suggestions, it’s as if they are stuck in some never-ending loop because they don’t appear, at this point in time, to have the personal resources, the insights, the inner strength, the openness to create the changes they need to make in their life to make things better? And, the only reason they don't appear to is because their mind won't let them?

I think about the people I have chosen as friends. I’m not aware that we have any significant disabilities but that’s not to say that there haven’t been a few curve balls. We have jobs or the abilities to find a job. We have friends. We’re intelligent. We have some type of emotional support from at least one other person. We have experienced love or what felt like a reasonable facsimile. In general, we have been treated relatively gently by the universe and we’re still here aren’t we?

But, what if you know someone in which that isn’t the case? Someone who hasn’t been treated that gently? And, what if they’re not young anymore and you just don’t know where to turn to find a way to help them help themselves? What do you do when you know serious issues from their childhood, which have never been properly resolved and which can no longer be kept at bay, have brought them to this point? Their negative perceptions of them self and others have kept them in their self-imposed prison which is growing ever smaller and closing in on them.

And, as I write that, I realize that it’s always our self-imposed prisons as a result of our perceptions that determine our reality. I’ve experienced it firsthand. Change your thoughts and perceptions and truly change your life. It sounds so simple and although I’m not always very good at practicing it, it can be as simple as you decide it is. Choose!

Unfortunately, it’s not an understanding that can be imposed from the outside; that can be given from one person to the other. And, sometimes it can take years of “good” therapy in a system where the odds of finding that seem right up there with the odds of winning the lottery.

As this situation has been weighing on my mind I’m reminded that in wellness the last thing we do is give away our personal power to someone else; the power to control our destiny, to make decisions for better or worse. And yet, when we’re not well, that faith in our own ability to make decisions for ourselves seems to be the first thing to go. In the end, believing that you have the power to take control of your life, that you have everything you need inside of you to create a life that’s meaningful to you, seems pretty paramount to well-being.

When I worked at Riverview, I remember a psychiatrist there. I asked him how he kept going when faced with trying to help people who seemed to have layer upon layer of issues that seemed irresolvable. And he said, “No matter what, you have to have hope.” You can’t predict how people will find their way to a place that’s workable for them. You have to have hope for them.

I think of the few people whom I’ve met who seem to have had a charmed existence. On the outside, it would seem as if they have never been brought to their knees. Sometimes, as a result, they can seem arrogant and their use of spiritual clich├ęs, annoyingly so, seem dismissive of real difficulties that other people have had or are experiencing.

It gets a little more real, however, when someone’s path that intersects with yours directly is coming to you in a way that means you need to be able to be helpful and comforting. You need to find some answers to the question: What can I do? And, you know that you need to find answers because you genuinely want their pain to be alleviated while at the same time you need to be protectively selfish so as not to get bogged down by them yourself.

You could say, well, that’s just their journey. You could tell yourself that it’s their way of being faced with the lessons they are here to learn. But, what if you have witnessed a lifetime of sadness because you are related to them and as a result you can at least understand, better than others, how they got to be the way they are.

And, what if, at the same time, you know that in comparison to what’s out there, they are one of the lucky ones. If only their past had not coloured all their perceptions, negatively. If only the past had not made it so difficult for them to trust and to receive so that they could step out of their self-imposed prison more easily. If only they could open their mind, reach out their hands and put behind them the story they’ve spent a lifetime cultivating so instead of clinging to it in fear with all their will, they could focus their energy on creating a new story in line with the present reality while they still have time, while they are still here, in a physical body, on earth.

And as I write that I think, but that’s the challenge for all of us isn’t it, regardless of our circumstances?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello Gayle
wow! absolutely beautiful - thankyou for this as I read it I found myself re-thinking my day because of it
cheers
arline
from smell this aromatherapy

GM said...

Thanks Arline,
appreciate the comment. Have a great day! - gayle