This experience called “depression” is isolating to a greater extent than I imagined could be survivable, but I realize that this incredibly isolating experience ultimately reconnected me with the human community in a deeper, wider, and richer way.
— Parker J. Palmer from Darkness Before Dawn: Redefining the Journey Through Depression
The Mystery of Depression
Learn to embrace mystery
Twice, in my forties, I spent endless months in the snake pit of the soul. Hour by hour, day by day, I wrestled with the desire to die, sometimes so feeble in my resistance that I “practiced” ways of doing myself in. I could feel nothing except the burden of my own life and the exhaustion, the apparent futility, of trying to sustain it. I understand why some depressed people kill themselves: They need the rest. But I do not understand why others are able to find new life in the midst of a living death, though I am one of them. I can tell you what I did to survive, and eventually to thrive— but I cannot tell you why I was able to do those things before it was too late. Continue reading “Depression and The Spiritual Journey …”
The leaves are falling, falling as if from far up,
as if orchards were dying high in space.
Each leaf falls as if it were motioning “no.”
And tonight the heavy earth is falling
away from all other stars in the loneliness.
We’re all falling. This hand here is falling.
And look at the other one. It’s in them all.
And yet there is Someone, whose hands
infinitely calm, holding up all this falling.
— Rainer Maria Rilke from A Year with Rilke
Continue reading “Autumn Trees …”
What is giving me life?
What is saving my life?
What does it mean to be human?
— Barbara Brown Taylor (adapted from Super Soul Sunday Conversation with Oprah Winfrey, Season 5, Episode 522 | Aired on 11/09/14)
This Is Your Life
I was in Europe leading a retreat in a lush vineyard on an Italian hillside. Each morning the men and women attending the retreat gathered outside on the grass in a circle and repeated the simple words that a young man was teaching: Continue reading “Questions That Have No Right to Go Away (New Year’s Meditation) …”
Only love can know love, only mercy can know mercy, only the endless mystery I am to myself is ready for God’s Infinite Mystery. When I can stand in mystery (not knowing and not needing to know and being dazzled by such freedom), when I don’t need to split, to hate, to dismiss, to compartmentalize what I cannot explain or understand, when I can radically accept that “I am what I am what I am,” then I am beginning to stand in divine freedom (Galatians 5:1). We do not know Continue reading “My Mystery Opens Me to God’s Mystery …”
Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
― Rainer Maria Rilke from Letters to a Young Poet
Continue reading “Perhaps Everything That Frightens Us Is, In Its Deepest Essence, Something Helpless That Wants Our Love …”
You are not surprised at the force of the storm—
you have seen it growing.
The trees flee. Their flight
sets the boulevards streaming. And you know:
he whom they flee is the one Continue reading “Onto a Vast Plain …”
How should we be able to forget those ancient myths that are at the beginning of all peoples, the myths about dragons that at the last moment turn into princesses; perhaps all the dragons of our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us once beautiful and brave. Perhaps everything terrible is in its deepest being something helpless that wants help from us. Continue reading “Life Has Not Forgotten You … It Holds You In Its Hand …”