“The way to stay inspired and motivated is by doing what you like, doing what you love.”
– Raphael Saadiq, musician
“Jane, depressing is a revenant pushing you into living!”
Jane’s husband, Hugh, was away, again. This time, it was a six month stint in South America, working with the poor, in Chile. She said, she found it hard, when he was away.
Jane was a warm, pleasant, middle aged woman with dark hair and deep, green eyes. Her two adult children were living away, and busy with their own lives of raising their young kids. Jane’s said her challenge was to deal with, what she called, her ‘black dog’…depression! This was what had pushed her to call me.
Jane took some comfort in a fragile belief her depression was genetic, since another member of her family, also faced the same challenge. Her physician, sat on the fence about its’ source, but was, in keeping with the popular trend in medicine, ready to prescribe the latest medications. Jane had tried several in recent years, and was increasingly skeptical of their value, and even the origins of her own condition.
She was telling me about Hugh’s pending return in six weeks when she diverted and said, “I just get used to him being gone, and he reappears again. It’s like I’m an emotional yo-yo, constantly going up and down, based on when he’s around. And, I guess my survival strategy is to depress myself!”
I offered, “Then, I would say Jane, depressing is working quite well for you so far, eh?”
She looked at me, surprised, “Are you saying depressing is useful to me?”
I replied, “Jane, depressing is a revenant pushing you into living!
“…depressing motivates people…to survive and appreciate their life.”
“What’s a revenant?” she asked.
“Have you seen Leonardo DiCaprio latest movie? It is entitled, Revenant. It’s about a man who uses his belief in revenge, to motivate himself to survive, after a vicious, deadly bear attack. A revenant is a person who has returned, especially or supposedly, from the dead. You could say depressing motivates people, not to give up on themselves; to persist in learning to survive, and appreciate their life.”
“And, you think that applies to me?” she asked, skeptically.
“What do you think, Jane?”
“I never thought depressing myself was helping me survive! I guess, I can see it as a coping mechanism…in a way. But, to say, it helps me survive seems to be stretching it too far…at least for me.” she replied with hesitation.
I asked her, “Jane, how long have you been depressing, to cope with your life?”
She paused, thinking back, “Well, when the children were growing up I don’t recall depressing at all. I mean, I had my ups and downs, just like everyone else, but it was never to the point where I took medication or didn’t meet my responsibilities, as a mom or an employee. But, since they’ve grown up, and Hugh and I retired, I have so much time on my hands. Hugh is quite content to go off and save the world’s poor. For me, I watch TV, talk trash to a couple of my relatives by phone or email, and read. Not very exciting stuff really!”
“The whole history of science has been the gradual realization that events do not happen in an arbitrary manner, but that they reflect a certain underlying order, which may or may not be divinely inspired.”
– Stephen Hawking, physicist
“…I do want to feel inspired by…my present, and future life…!”
“Jane, you sound, unfulfilled and bored with your life, is that true?”
“All I know is, I have been watching Hugh get excited and inspired by his trips to help the poor, and I’m jealous…not of what he is doing…but, that he is so inspired, when he does it…I guess I’m just envious!” she replied.
“So, you want to feel inspired by what you do, each day…like when you were a busy mom, and a productive employee, eh?”
“Yes, I do! I want to feel inspired by my life, now…not just my past, but also, my present, and future life, too!”
“Jane, inspiration like that requires you to give up three illusions from your past! Would you be prepared to do that?”
“Ken, I guess it depends on what they are… what are these three illusions?” she replied.
“The first is, you can be happy without being sad; the second is, you can be safe and avoid risks; and the third is, retirement really exists!”
“One can be instructed in society, one is inspired only in solitude.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, poet
“… taking their time, taking it easy, and taking their meds.”
“So, you’re saying these three illusions are holding me back from living an inspired life?”
“You, me, and lots of others…it takes gratitude, courage and life long effort, to have an inspired life, Jane! And, I bet, there is a part of you which already know that, is there not?”
“I hang around so many people who think they can be a happy retiree taking their time, taking it easy, and taking their meds. I have been thinking there is something wrong with me, because I find it so boring, and depressing.”
“Congratulation Jane! That means you’ve got more to do with your life. The challenge, the question you face is, what forms is it supposed to take?”
“Ken, then that’s what I need to do, right away…otherwise, depressing will continue to be my revenant, I will keep returning to it, won’t I?” she said.
“I think you are bang on, Jane! So let’s get started! Here is the strategy, I suggest. First, we uncover your life purpose, so you know clearly what inspires you. Second, we uncover your highest values, so you can know clearly what motivates you. Third, we identify the next form of your life work…your special work…so you can create a plan to get there. How does that sound to you?”
“Intelligent, successful, attractive people can be intimidating. They force us to hold a mirror to ourselves; we can be disappointed, jealous or inspired toward personal growth.”
– Ian K. Smith, author
“Ken, it is virtually impossible to depress myself…”
“Just what I’m looking for! Can we started today?”
“We will start right now, Jane! I’m going to ask you seven questions to help you uncover your life purpose….”
That’s where Jane began her journey into the next phase of her life. Jane never went across the globe to help the poor, she went across the field behind her house, to the local elementary school, where she helped kids struggling with math and reading.
One of her last comments to me was, “Ken, it is virtually impossible to depress myself, when I have a wide eyed, trusting seven year old, wanting to spend time with me, and learn with me!”
“There is no retirement in nature…it is called death!” – King Ayles, author
Until Next time…
Now you know, you can avoid depressing by uncovering your purpose, your highest values, and your plan for an inspirational future. So here is your opportunity to move forward in your life, and away from the dark dog of depressing. Since, only you can uncover your purpose, your values, and your future…it must be you who takes the first step. Go for it…you won’t regret it!
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Our next seminar, “A Transformation Day!” will focus on relationships. It will be on Saturday, February 27th, 2016 at our offices. Details are available at ww.kenpiercepsychologist.com
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Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
Further information: www.kenpiercepsychologist.com