In the previous post which I named Inward Trouble, I jumped right into the middle of an extended period in my life in which I was coming to terms with what was then an un-named inner ache. It gradually clarified into a sense of separation, sadness, aloneness, emptiness, disconnectedness and loss. It took time, much time, and it only became clear when I kept revisiting those images and feelings and understandings. I actually came to look forward to those internal conversations around deep murmurings.
I was telling some friends about what I wrote and they said that I sounded depressed. Yes, I was depressed then. In fact, it was the first time that I had ever come to name and claim the experience in myself. Mind you, not the first time that I was ever depressed, but the first time to have named and claimed it. I did nothing to run from it. I needed to ruminate over it; not to actively perpetuate it but rather to plumb its depths.
There was reluctance on my part with the friends to let the discussion be limited with the clinical label: Depression. The label would have ended that conversation, it would have made it too easy to hang the whole period of my life on a coat hook reserved for the Big D. It would have objectified it. It would have separated me from it, and them from me, and avoided further discussion of a perhaps universal experience which all have at some time in their lives.
I said: “Yes, I was depressed then, for sure. Yes, it was what in many ways could be called a Major Depression. I was fortunate that I was able to keep working during that time.” One dividend of all this was that the inner exploration actually helped me to be present in my work with an awareness which was not as prominent before then. I kept it concealed from all. There was, however, one glaring exception; I didn’t conceal it to myself. In fact, I held onto that Inward Trouble – held on as if for dear life itself.
This is not to split hairs. Depression is the short hand label which appears to describe, yet it misses the mark from the inside. Of far greater importance, and this I said to my friends: “it was a period which marked the shift from before to after. It was a shifting bourne of necessity from the inside. It arrival was announced with a silent wail. (With a burst of insight I am right now connecting that wail to another silent whale which in a dream I pulled to land. More on that at a later time but the play on words and sounds connecting the experience I was having then and how it was also being telegraphed in a dream astounds me, now.)
There are many steps between then and now, and the steps are experiences along the way, experiences of Being Into The Journey. Each of those experiences is connected to a story, as it should be, because stories have the potential to really communicate on so many levels. Stories are what people can identify with.
For now, let me jump into the present; stories will come later. Where am I now? I am in a place where I recognize and accept that the most important question that each of us has to address (after the bare bones structure of survival and how to carry our weight in our society, earn our keep, build our resume, etc.) is to answer the question: “Why am I here, What is my essence, what is my purpose, what is my mission, and, most importantly, How do I become my unique Self and connect that with my talent(s) and gift(s) in a meaningful way?”
This question is the most important question we can feel and answer. It is a private journey with implications for those we meet and touch along the way. It is not a resume building process but rather a building of our personal legend of genuine learnings and expressions and events and problems solved along the way.
One further thing for today. This journey is the journey that everyone has an opportunity to experience. We are free to mess it up, or to make it significant. And, most importantly, I take it for granted that these basic questions are the same questions that were asked by the first people on the planet and continuing up to the present with you and me. Equally important, I take it for granted that the tools are always there and are not dependent on status, or class, or education, or economic situation.
It is the one question that really matters. All else will flow from that. Oh, and one more thing…tick tock, tick tock.