Thursday, November 08, 2012

Where Lao Tzu and I Battle Depression

Recently, a well-meaning person said this quote reminded them of me, and that they rarely see me at peace, enjoying my life, and they wish I could.

Oh, Lao Tzu. 


Now, at first glance, this sounds like sound advice.  In fact, it looks like some of the things I've posted both here and on Facebook in the past.  I love posting the great quotations and sayings I find.  I'm going to post one right now, in fact.



However, to me, the above Lao Tzu quote, (and a lot of others, actually) is a just a t-shirt-ready platitude.  It sounds good, but without context to the person you're talking to, it has no meaning.  Maybe it works for those who are centered and grounded and in touch with their inner self and have a ton of inner peace, but for lots of us, this saying is frustrating for this very simple reason:

Lao Tzu doesn't know me.  He's not my buddy.  He doesn't know my life.


Don't get me wrong.  This person was well-meaning and as I said, it sounds great, and actually HAVING a friend like Lao Tzu would be incredible.  But it's just not that simple.  I write a ton of stuff about my life on this blog but you don't know the half of it.  Not nearly. 


I take my main issue with the first line... "If you are depressed you're living in the past."


Our past shapes us.  It doesn't have to DEFINE us, but it absolutely shapes us.  To say it doesn't is to fool yourself.



And why is the past such a bad thing to think on, either the good parts OR the bad parts?  As I write my memoirs, I've had to delve into both.


For instance:  if my childhood hadn't been so horrific, I would never have chosen to leave my home town to a career in the military.  If I'd never joined the military, I never would have experienced some of the best AND worst times of my life.  If I'd never joined the military, I never would have met wonderful friends AND my husband.  If I never remembered my past as a lonely child, I would never have worked so hard to be a good mother and an empathetic, ready friend.


Friends in Korea (my first tour).  I'm the one in the middle.


Friends in Korea (my 2nd visit)

I'm not in my currently depressed state totally because of my past.  YES my past has not always been happy.  But holy heck has it also been full of richness!  So it's pretty glib to say a person is depressed because they're living in their past.  


Now the second part:  "If you are anxious, you are living in the future."


Wait.  What is so wrong with being anxious about your future?  I mean, there's anxious that's concerned and curious, and there's Xanax anxious.  Writing business plans means you are anxious about doing well in your future.  That's not a bad anxious.  Being concerned about where your career is going is not a bad thing unless you just sit and STAY anxious and don't make the steps, no matter how microscopic, to get to where you want to go.


Changing direction is also not a bad thing unless you do it fifty million times in a year (you get my drift).  If you are so anxious you feel paralyzed to do anything or so concerned about the future you can't function, then yes, there's a problem.  But Lao Tzu is missing some stuff, or else he really, really had his mellow on allllll theeeeeee timmmmmmme.  And I have my mellow time!  Bed + book, or car + trip to book store.  Or kidlet + card games.  Or husband + chatting.


Bed + book

Car + book store


You see where I'm going here, I'm sure.  I'm pretty much good with my future.  There are so many things I'm interested in and like to do that if one flops, there are all those others.  I'm good with that.


And now the last part:  "If you are at peace, you are living in the present."


Um.  This week we had Election Day in the USA.  Are you at peace?  Probably half of you aren't at all at peace.  Was your husband late for dinner, your kids screaming about doing homework, your cat barfing up a hair ball, your hair a total mess, your best dress ripped?????  Not peaceful.


So what is peace, and what is it this person wants me to find?


They apparently don't read about my time with Zack.  Or my love of my husband.  Or my attempts to cheer others up.  They probably don't know that I visit the book store every week and physically relax the second I walk in the door.  They probably don't know I look forward to every single night because my husband and I talk and hold hands before we go to sleep.  They also don't know my dreams, or my plans.  Meant well, but... I'm picking either answer C) Does Not Apply or better yet, answer D) Not Enough Information for this one. 



The best thing I've ever made is also my biggest treasure and source of happiness.


I realize, as I'm not stupid, that many of my blog and Facebook posts recently have had a more maudlin tint.  Well hey.  People have died, tragedies have struck, I've got some pretty intense physical pain, and when things go wrong on a MAJOR scale, there's that thing called the straw that broke the camel's back.  And you know what?  No one is happy all the time.  I'm in the depths of depression right now.   Not the first visit and probably won't be the last.   But I've got help and care and I am not ashamed of that.


Ironically, being depressed does NOT mean I'm not enjoying my life --it's just a little harder to.  I dare you to find one person who enjoys their life 100% of the time, 24/7, happy happy joy joy.  You will not find that person.  It's NORMAL to have strife and roller coasters and craziness AS WELL AS happiness and hugs and kisses.  Those who have dealt with severe clinical depression know that these straws on the camel's back can feel like a hay bale. 




But this simplistic Lao Tzu quote was a bit much.  It begged, no, DEMANDED to be thought about and put into perspective, as ANY platitude should.  Shoot, those ubiquitous "Stay Calm and Carry On" posters are GREAT, but tell that to the woman juggling a screaming baby who just locked her keys in the car.  She's liable to slap the tar out of you.


Why did I write this?


I realized that while these quotes, be they pithy, funny, wise, or otherwise, can be full of meaning, but just throwing it out there often isn't enough.  People need understanding and empathy and friendship, too.  

Friends from my 2nd year in the military.  We were all very different, but we were all there for each other. 

I'm also here to tell you I'm not an every-day-is-positive-if-you-just-find-the-positive-in-it kind of person.  Real life doesn't work that way.  I DO believe that I can try to reach for that positive in every day, but I am no longer going to give myself a hard time if I miss.


I am so lucky to have this blog.  I'm so very lucky to have my readers.  I know that this subject doesn't mesh with some, but I write about all kinds of things day to day.  One day it's about jewelry, one day it's about needing monkeys for a particular project.  You just never know.  I'm pretty much an open book, and while you may scan some pages, I hope you'll stick a bookmark in others.


And that, basically, is that.





Photobucket

Lori Anderson creates jewelry and bead kits as well as collaborative mixed media art with her son, Zack.  Visit her shops by clicking here.  She is also the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party®   and author of the book Bead Soup.

49 comments:

Metal Me This said...

Well-said, my friend...

Katherine at Terra Beadworks said...

We need to remain aware of who we are. Our past shapes us and allows us to empathize with those who suffer similar experiences. I have had people tell me I am too sensitive. If I was not, I probably would not be artistic or care about others or even be aware of beautiful things around me. There will always be those who judge. You are beautiful for who you are.

Kell said...

Lori,
I too find the quote a bit insulting. I have suffered from clinical depression and anxiety for years. People who haven't experienced it think you're just sad or you need to "buck up". But you can't. It's like saying that someone who is diabetic just needs to think about their insulin more. Not even the strongest person can will themself out of true depression. I wish you patience and strength as you work through this bout.

Amy B. said...

<3
Well done !

coolmoon said...

Thank you, Lori. Just - Thank you.

SummersStudio said...

My goodness, but I am a little gob smacked. Not by you, but that a well meaning person would pull what may or may not be a Taoist quote out of the context of it's meaning. First, I doubt that in 6 BCE, there was a clinical definition depression or anxiety. Second, these quotes tend to have been westernized and may not even have a proper translation. I'm by no means an expert on Taoist philosophy but shheeessh, I do get rather annoyed with 'quotes' that get turned into platitudes that get used as a buzz word with no depth of understanding of the tradition it comes from. I can think of so many that stem from Buddhism that really have no relationship at all to the practice of Buddhism (part of my own particular spiritual practice, BTW).Anyway, I am going to get off my soap box before I step on too many toes here.

Of course no one is happy all of the time. We all have ups and downs. We all have in betweens. And if you don't then I really want to get a perscription for your drugs ;-) But seriously, Lori, I've never thought of you as a whinger or as someone who dwells in the past. I admire your honesty about depression. It's a medical condition not a secret. Truthfully, I see you as a happy person who occasionally has a lot on her plate.

Thank you for speaking out. It is a courageous thing to do. It's not something I have ever had the courage for.

Hugs

Courtney said...

Amen!

Kathleen Douglas said...

Thank-you.

Marian Hertzog said...

Yes... well said! And if we didn't have bad days we wouldn't know the good ones!

Robin Reed said...

Great Blog Lori!

Juniper Goods said...

It is great that you have delved Into finding a meaning to these words. They are meant to be a guide to a longer explanation. It is true we are formed from the past. And we can think about the future in many ways. The problem is in the suffering if we think of either of these circumstances in a negative way we suffer, if we think of them in a positive way we are happy. When we experience things we have a choice to look at them as positive or negative. Like you said you learned from your past what not to do with your children. You don't want them to suffer like you did so you treat them better. In this way learning from past experiences helps you to be compassionate. This it true for all experiences. In the moment now we have a choice to think positive or negative. For instance when our child is screaming we can have compassion for them, knowing they are suffering and try to help them. By helping others in difficult situations we become happier. We all want to be happy, but we are attached to negative thoughts. If we change our thoughts to be positive we are happy. Another example is mine in being positive in a negative situation. My house burnt down. I had a choice to be upset or be positive that something better was in the works.in this way I would learn from the experience. I thought about all the other people who experienced their house burning down and developed compassion for them. I thought about what was going to happen in the future, trying to be positive that something better was coming. I had to help the kids through it and give them positive support. In the middle of this bad situation we tried to look at the adventure in the change and all the new clothes, toys, dishes etc. thinking about how many others experience this and worse I wished them all to find a positive mind. We had to look at the positives, we were all alive, we had some things left although they were covered in smoke, they could be cleaned with a good scrubbing. We move on...so when we see others suffering we can try to help and wish them the positive minds of learning from experiences.
We have a choice to think positive or negative, knowing everything is a learning experience. I don't know much about Lao Tzu but I do know Buddhas teachings that are made to help us have a positive mind. This has saved my life. Mostly because like you I've had depression and anxiety. By thinking in a positive way, reminding myself of the learning, the compassion for others and gratitude for the help I get I can be happy most of the time. Although there is suffering we can learn from it, help others with a similar problem and grow!
I hope you can find the positives in your life. I can name a few; so many love your bead soups, your hair is beautiful, you have family. Make a list of three things a night that are good for you and retread them after a while. This helps me, I think it might help you. Many others have it worse that you so you can think of them and help them in some way. Just wishing them happiness is enough. You are enough. Wishing you happiness!
Chandra

Marjorie Savill Linthwaite said...

Lori, My grandfather William Somerset Maugham had a favourite quote "life happens and sometimes we wish it did not" this coming from an extremely frail man who suffered from the curse of tuberculous from the age of 17 years of age.

Penny Neville said...

Depression strikes at the craziest times, sometimes there is nothing leading up to the bout and other times like what you are going through it comes alive. We need to ride these times and take care of ourselves the best way we know how. I was recently going through a bad bout, couldn't pinpoint exactly why but I just knew my mind was in the gutter. I am feeling better but it takes time. Thanks for sharing Lori, I love quotes too but sometimes the words are not appropriate for what our struggles are. Much love to you!! ;)

Juniper Goods said...

Lori,
I have had anxiety and depression before. It is very brave of you to write about this and try to understand this quote. I agree with the woman above that this is a westernized quote. I don't know Lao Tzu much but I do know Buddhas teaching about suffering. We all suffer, but we can chose how to work with it. If we have a positive mind then we can see how we learn from the bad situations. Like you said you can treat your children better than you were treated. We can have compassion for others who are experiencing what you are. We can help them in any way possible.
In this way we can learn from past experiences, look forward to an adventurous future and stay present in our moment to moment experiences. My teacher says all you have is this moment. What your thinking right now is what you have. You have a choice to look at it positively or negatively. You choose. We are so attached to thinking negatively we forget all the learning we could have. Buddha teaches the way to change our mind to be positive. In this way we can try to be happy and help others.If your positive then you are happy all the time. It takes a lot of work to there there but we all have this potential. I know some people who are happy all the time, even in what appears to be a negative situation. I wish you happiness. by the way I love your pink tipped hair I have purple tipped hair and terquoise streaks. So fun! You have many good things in your life, be happy for those, like the bead soup! We all love it and look forward to your support. Sometimes I have to remind myself of all the good things I have and make a list. If you have a roof over your head thats more than some. Things like that. What are you grateful for? Even this quote gave you something to write about.
<3
Chandra

Juniper Goods said...

Sorry for all the posts I went away and thought it didn't post so rewrote 3 times. So sorry. Please just delete the others. Thanks

Denise Wall said...

Depression is such an ugly thing, like a cancer almost. I was clinically depressed for almost 20 years before I could get the help I needed. I am so thankful that I did! Is everyday great?? no, not by a long shot. There are days that I want to pull the cover over my head and stay in the bed, and sometimes, I DO! There are other days, that I barely manage to drag myself through them. Does everyone I meet know that this particular day is a problem for me? No, probably not. I have become very good at hiding depression from others. It is amazing what a fake smile can do. Why do I put on this fake smile?? Because it is easier to fake smile than listen to someone who has never been in my shoes lecture me about what I "should" do. I call it a coping mechanism. Do what you gotta do to get through it, your way through is not mine and vise versa, you have to find your own way through this jungle. Carry on Cousin!!!

Amber Dawn Inventive Soul said...

:) <3 :) Yeah!

lynsey said...

I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I was a 'Oh just Buck up' kind of person when it came to people with depression, that was until I met my Partner Ben, who suffers with Clinical depression and has done for most of his life, I understand now that it is a chemical imbalance, and can not be helped, and certainly can not be helped by some one saying 'buck up!'
I find that trying to get my partner to talk through why he's feeling the way he is helps him and me immensely, he flatly refuses to go on anti-depressants as he feels they don't help him, and I am happy to go along with that if he feels that is right for him. Well meaning people think that they are being helpful and wise with their advise, but as you say some context is needed. I find some quotes interesting and thought provoking, but many just go over my head. I think that as long as you are living your life the way that makes you happy, with love and support around you for when the clouds descend, these 'life rules' are not necessary

sweetrose74 said...

Well said Lori. Great perspective and reminds us all not to judge another cause none have walked their exact path. Thanks for all the advice, realness, and information you charge. And the courage you have to share your life so openly with us. Hugs, love, and many smiles on this journey called life. For it surely is an adventure, both the good and the bad ....

sweetrose74 said...

Well said Lori. Great perspective and reminds us all not to judge another cause none have walked their exact path. Thanks for all the advice, realness, and information you charge. And the courage you have to share your life so openly with us. Hugs, love, and many smiles on this journey called life. For it surely is an adventure, both the good and the bad ....

Cassi Renee said...

Well-meaning, but not carefully considered. I don't think we should ever use platitudes as a substitute for a thoughtful, supportive, comment. In fact, I feel this way about a lot of the quotes that are posted on FB --if someone posts it for themselves, fine, but don't expect it to speak to others the same way.

Katy said...

Thanks for being real Lori. I hope there are many i your life to love, support, and help you bear your burdens. Peace to you. :-)

Katy said...

I wonder if a well meaning person may want to help and tries to "fix" in order to make things "better" but that desire to fix in places where it is inappropriate could spring from a desire to feel safe or to have a sense of contribution when really knowing the helplessness of a situation could help more as in being a listening ear or thoughtful in word and deed. Here's to kindness, comforting and peace in the midst of the storms.

Skylar said...

Thanks for posting this, Lori! So many people don't understand depression. Or, how seemingly simple "advice" can harm rather than help. Many years ago, my brother told to "stop sweating the small stuff." He didn't realize that I was dealing with memories of incest. I'm sure he meant well. But it took me many (9) years to get over that comment - doubtful I'll ever forget it.
So how powerful for you - and for us blog readers - that you can address this comment in such a meaningful way! Go, you!

Shelley Graham Turner said...

Lori, I describe my bouts with depression like having a wet wool blanket wrapped around me. Heavy! Because we are not ashamed to call it what it is people might think its 'not all that bad' - but it ain't good. And instead of saying such things they should just take that time to thank God they arent suffering with it. Just sayin' <3

sandi m said...

Lori ~ you don't know what goodness you've shared today. Thank you, thank you, thank you....

indigo heart said...

it seems to me that people dealing openly with their depression, or, God forbid, a person who has actually attempted suicide, is treated by everybody else the same way that society treats someone with cancer, or someone who is grieving when a loved one has died. it just brings out the worst in people. it makes other people *uncomfortable*. they can't get it. maybe it scares them a little. or a lot. they either treat you like a leper, or shower you with platitudes. um, really?

i have psycho-affective disorder. if i let slip that one, no one listens to the explanation, they're fixed on 'psycho'. ack! an honest to goodness crazy person roaming the streets!!! but it's just clinical depression, with some psychotic symptoms. my "crazy" is that i have auditory hallucinations; it sounds like a radio out-of-tune, very far away. music plays, djs talk, but i can't understand a word of it. very annoying, but not at all dangerous.

i guess i'm just saying all that because i wanted to say, 'thank you, lori.' for just being honest with us. you're helping the rest of us by giving a face to a group of people that have been treated horribly in the past, and are now subject to prejedice, misunderstanding, and platitudes from the well-meaning ones.

rock on, sister! wishing you the will to persevere.

Gale said...

I would just second what SummersStudio said above. I felt I had to spring to Lao Tzu's defense because it's highly unlikely he said anything of the sort.

In any case, anyone who's depressed should not be "diagnosed' (or offered palliatives) via platitudes. I suspect your "doctor" was well-meaning, but I'd end by reminding her that individuals--like quotes--should not be taken out of context. So I guess, Lori, I'm springing to your defense, all in all. I'm glad you manage to find your own ways to deal with all of the above. (Just sorry you had to get so pissed off on top of feeling depressed!)

Shirley Moore said...

Thanks for being who you are Lori. I really can't begin to list all of the things that have come about in my life, just because of you. And my choice to follow your blog, read your words, be changed by learning about you. I'm glad you write about real stuff, and I appreciate you.

one-eared pig said...

"Ironically, being depressed does NOT mean I'm not enjoying my life --it's just a little harder to."

I cam relate to this entire post, but as someone who also suffers from depression and then had a shitty, shitty year on top of it, this line really hit home. It is so hard (nearly impossible) to make people who don't live with this to understand it.

Thank you for this post.

Createology said...

This is why I so adore you dear and continue to follow you and read your blog. You are so real and I love that you say what you mean. Thank you sincerely...

smalltownme said...

Oh, Lori, I love you so much. The past has nothing to do with the times I feel down. Neither does the present or future. When I tell my husband I am feeling depressed or low or down he always thinks there is an event that has precipitated it. No, it's just the way I feel sometimes. It's like a virus. This has been a low week for me but i think I'm perking up again.

JeannieK said...

Love you babe!

Barb Fernald said...

Love the Plato quote! And I love your honesty and willingness to share who you are.

stregajewellry said...

Lori, I am so glad that someone took time to analyze one of these platitudes that mean to be helpful but are not, in the long run. I'm right there with you on the happy happy joy joy attitude. No one is happy all the time and if they are, I worry about them. I believe we all make a contract before we come here, to experience hardships and learn from them. If we embrace the learning experience, we go on to better times till the next learning adventure. And yes, sometimes there is depression. I'm not talking about clinical depression, but plain old what the heck am I dealing with all this crap for, why me? kind of depression. Inner peace is so hard to find. We must seek it every day, through books, friends, our children, our loves, our pets. If we can get a few minutes of it, well than, our day is a good one. There seems to be the idea that because we are an affluent nation, we are ENTITLED to be happy all the time. There is no guarantee of that, and no fine print in our Soul Contract that says so. Scales are not always in balance, a tiny postage stamp can change that balance. So it is with the balance in our lives. It's not easy. It's not supposed to be.

Sally Anderson said...

I really don't like those little things that go around fb 90% of the time. They are such gross generalities and platitudes with no depth or personal meaning. That someone would use one to try to shame you into changing what they perceive as the "wrong" behavior is callous and uncaring. People can't will away depression or anxiety. They're diseases just the same as measles. My former family doctor never ever said that someone (me) was depressed. He always said that someone (me) "had depression." That's a huge semantic shift that is helpful to remember if you're putting yourself down for your state of mind. You have depression and anxiety and you're do things to cure them. That's it. That's all that you can do. And you'll do it, I'm sure. I believe in you. Keep on, keepin' on, girlfriend!

chicandfrog said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Lori. I learned a lot.

Ambra

Almost Precious said...

Though clinical depression is finally being seriously addressed, many people either don't understand that it's not just one of those little "down" days, or they simply just "don't get it". There are a lot of things that many people just "don't get"; such as homosexuality is not a choice, a person does not wake up one morning and decide they're going to be attracted to others of their own sex. They can't go to a psychiatrist and be talked into seeing how "wrong" they are. How long it will take society to totally comprehend all of these intricately complex issues that affect the brain and the body? . . . well that's anybody's guess, change and understanding take time and it can be an aggravatingly long time.

Take care.

Tammy Tobac calligraphybytammy said...

I loved your blog entry. I too get irritated with people who insist we all be upbeat and positive every second regardless of what is going on in our life. I have a friend like that and every post is like that. But life is nit like that. There are good days and bad days. Thee are days that could nearly kill you, like the day my son was born...full term, stillborn. Gifts in that loss came later, but I hated anyone who gave me trivialities after my soul had been ripped open ad my heart was in tatters. Only those who have lived through what you have ...have a place to say their thoughts into it.
Thank you for writing it. I needed it right now as I am in the midst of a cancer scare. It is scary and I think I am entitled to say that. Our feelings are genuine and real and I refuse to fake mine, especially after reading your post.

Nelson Gemstones said...

Four years ago I was losing my book business and my house--everything, actually. I was low in vitamin D, anemic, and probably deficient in B12. I was seriously depressed and so stressed that I gained 40 pounds and became obese. (Add menopause to that equation, and it was a FUN time!)

The only thing that helped me through it was practicing living in the present moment. Every time my mind wandered to the past thinking about how I could have done something different, I was miserable. Same thing with thinking of the future and what I would lose or wondering how I would pay my bills. Seriously anxious!

So whenever I felt my body tightening in response to my thoughts, I just grounded myself in my chair and asked how I was right then. I was warm. I was comfortable. I was relatively free of pain. In that one moment, nothing was wrong. And I breathed deeply often.

I lost everything and moved across the country with my cats. I am still captive to a chaotic mind. But I can quiet my mind by bringing myself back to the present moment. I've also raised my vitamin D and B12, lost weight, and am working now at avoiding food allergies.

I too had a rather horrific childhood and joined the Army. The past does shape me, and thinking about it is not wrong unless those thoughts brings unrest. There's no point to being unhappy right now because of a biochemical reaction in my memory centers drudging up the past. The past does not exist; it's just an engram in the brain.

I think that those "who are centered and grounded and in touch with their inner self and have a ton of inner peace" are the those who continually practice something akin to Lao Tzu's sentiment. But it is definitely a life-long practice that is extremely difficult in this world of constant input and where we are so separated from nature.

flyingbeader said...

I hate those simple sayings that people are always quoting to supposedly make you feel better, but we all know they have not a thought behind them. Let me share just one that I heard last night at work. Health care is being battered right now & along with it everyone who works in the field. Just in a short 6 months, I've had my pension slashed, my short term disability slashed, my shift differential slashed & to add to the loss, last night we had massive lay offs with two people I've worked with closely lose their positions. The director sat there telling us of the lay offs with this hang dog look on her face refusing to look us in the eyes & you know what she told us...."hang in there. We'll get through this, and it will be better." That is the exact same line she said with each piece of bad news. Oh and the best one (sorry to rampage here) was when they cut our pay & was actually told..."well it could be good news as you'll be in a lower tax bracket"...really? like that makes me feel better? NOT!

So let me be depressed. Let me rage. Let me just embrace my past and look to the future, but just let me BE!

Sarah S said...

Oh this is such a wise post. It's so tempting with depression/anxiety etc to want to find The Answer to it all and maybe there just is no easy answer. Certainly no one-size-fits-all quote of the sort that could go round Facebook. Lao Tzu's advice I'm sure had particular meaning and resonance in an ancient Buddhist context, and if you have no power or control over your life, no education to help you see things in abstract terms, maybe your only option is to live "at peace" in the present, ignoring past and future.

I do think it's a useful skill to be able to focus right down on the present and shut out the chatter from past/future for a little while - it helps get things done, if nothing else, and can be relaxing.

I think that if you shut out past and future ALL the time, firstly it's probably not very good for you psychologically, and secondly you are not really living your life, are you? It would be like having really, really bad dementia. And while we've all seen apparently happy people with severe dementia, that is not an existence most of us would choose for ourselves, given the option.

I am really sorry to hear that you are suffering from clinical depression because it is such a horrible thing for anyone to go through. But you have come through it before; you will come through it again.

Also, I agree that those sodding "Keep calm and carry on" posters are no help whatsoever when you are feeling distinctly un-calm and "carrying on" is simply not an option!

I'd take bed + book, or bookstore + anything else (esp if a 2nd hand bookstore) over silly facebook platitudes, any day.

Rebecca said...

I must say, I am not a super huge fan of all the many quotes that pop up on FB on an hourly basis, for the reasons you have said. Often they are good advice on the surface, but not necessarily much more. Especially when they are about how to live your life - quite like the arty ones, but the self-help ones don't appeal to me so much! That having been said, this one actually did make me sit up and listen, especially with what is going on in my own life right now. I am one of those people, paralysed between the past and the future, and ignoring the present.....so for me, this is sort of good advice, given my particular set of circumstances! But it's certainly not a universal truth, which is how these damn things are always presented.

*Kel* said...

Lori-I appreciate your blog posts so very much-you have given me the courage to face the challenges in my life in a more positive way. Your honesty and strength to share your personal experiences has changed my life (for the better, of course). Most people are well-meaning when they share quotes, but they don't understand what you're personally going through, therefore they are probably at a loss at what to say. There are certainly more appropriate quotes or encouraging words that could've been said, but WMP (well meaning person), not walking in your shoes, said what WMP thought was appropriate and helpful, even though it may have been unsolicited. A therapist I saw years ago in Colorado gave me some enlightening advice I've carried with me ever since she told me. "Accept, don't expect." Another quote, sorry, but every time I find myself in the same sort of situation as this, I repeat that until the urge to smack them subsides.I can't expect them to get it if they've not lived it. No one has the picture perfect life. Happiness doesn't equal perfection and vice versa. So, I appreciate and love that you share your real life, real experiences, and real feelings, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I don't appreciate phony. If I wanted to read that blog, I'd rather go to B&N for some boring non-fiction. I love and appreciate you through happiness, depression, good, and bad. That's what friends do-no conditions. Always, Kel 703-298-4811

*Kel* said...

Lori-I appreciate your blog posts so very much-you have given me the courage to face the challenges in my life in a more positive way. Your honesty and strength to share your personal experiences has changed my life (for the better, of course). Most people are well-meaning when they share quotes, but they don't understand what you're personally going through, therefore they are probably at a loss at what to say. There are certainly more appropriate quotes or encouraging words that could've been said, but WMP (well meaning person), not walking in your shoes, said what WMP thought was appropriate and helpful, even though it may have been unsolicited. A therapist I saw years ago in Colorado gave me some enlightening advice I've carried with me ever since she told me. "Accept, don't expect." Another quote, sorry, but every time I find myself in the same sort of situation as this, I repeat that until the urge to smack them subsides.I can't expect them to get it if they've not lived it. No one has the picture perfect life. Happiness doesn't equal perfection and vice versa. So, I appreciate and love that you share your real life, real experiences, and real feelings, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I don't appreciate phony. If I wanted to read that blog, I'd rather go to B&N for some boring non-fiction. I love and appreciate you through happiness, depression, good, and bad. That's what friends do-no conditions. Always, Kel 703-298-4811

becca said...

LOVE this. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for being open & honest.

I also struggle & live with depression. I LOVE my life, and have so much fun & tenderness.
I love the song "The Edge" by Michael Card. I don't know if you have ever heard it. Very appropriate for those of us who deal with depression, but still find joy and zest in life.

'The Edge'
Verse 1:
Most of us will never know
How dark this world can seem
When life becomes more nightmare than a dream.
So to all of you who have survived
A visit to the edge,
I trust that you will understand this pledge.
Chorus:
I promise I will always leave
The darkness for the light.
I swear by all that's holy
I will not give up the fight.
I'll drink down death like water
Before I ever come again
To that dark place where I might make
The choice for life to end.
Verse 2:
I've found that as I travelled
Through the inscape of my land
That mountaintops make valleys in between.
And when that nameless sadness
Like a cloud comes over me
I look back on all the brightness I have seen.
CHORUS
Bridge:
I realize that though my world
Might seem so torn apart,
Most often it is joy that breaks the heart.
And that I am the richest man
Though I must beg for bread,
For the very One who might condemn
Has called me friend instead.

Toltec Jewels for Jewel School Friends said...

I think the worst thing I can ever do is focus on what is! I hang on to that sweet Dr. Dyer quote over & over because "well meaning people" are always around (another one of those ah, hm, "well meaning people" took me aside to tell me I was too happy, and too busy on FB and with jewelry, and not mourning my daughter's death properly!)

"What you think of me is none of my business"

So, ha! So there. Still, it freaked me out about FB and I felt exposed too. Lori, I have never thought of you as "depressed" -- not once, not ever - cross my heart -- I've always thought of you as an uplifter! Super high energy and one of those very special people who bring empowerment, calm, confidence, love, joy and so much more to others! You don't come across as depressed, you come across as amazing, with the grace and courage to be real!

love,
rita

alankarshilpa said...

A meaningful post.

Many times people post quotations in superficial way. You paused to think about it and made us think.

I think -peace can be found even when you are not totally in present.I saw when my mom was paralyzed she thought about her happy memories and found peace...

Actually when I was in severe pain I wanted to ignore my present to reach out for peace- to be peaceful with myself...and it could be achieved.

Again you can be very much in present and not at all in peace like you mentioned and showed the scenario.

Any way, this blog post is worthy because you made us , all these readers think, go deeper and leave a comment.

Dita from http://www.alankarshilpa.etsy.com

Anonymous said...

Not only can I think of no lines in the text than can be read that way; but I cannot think of any context in which "Lao-tzu" — or any of his "brothers in Asian wisdom" — might have said "be not fearful of happiness"!! First, only an American would have uttered such words! Secondly, I cannot think of any Asian thinker who would even, conceivably, agree that "it's good to try to be 'happy'." To seek an emotional state that gives pleasure to the person feeling it is not only absent from Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Hinduism (etc.), but they all denounce such foolishness, on the same terms. Frankly, if Emerson tried to sit at the Round Table of the League of Extraordinary Asian Gentlemen (to mix my Hollywood metaphors ;-) ), they would laugh him out of the room…. Well, actually not: none of them would laugh at anyone, in public.