“Insight Into Depression – Sadhguru”

Ok. Admittedly I have some mixed thoughts on that one. Agreed in large part with what basically boils down to a stoic type of outlook on us bucking up and taking responsibility for ourselves wherever we’re able. Appreciate his videos due to that sort of message. And I tend to agree that working at a job where you don’t have the option to call in sick (as is true with my own self-employment venture) does encourage your body to get back up and get with the program when colds and whatnot arise. Might still be sick and it might be the middle of winter and the midst of a major snowstorm, but you still have to go out in it regardless. Would take a major calamity for that to otherwise be the case and still other preparations would need to be made if I were in a condition capable of doing so (or my friend would need to help out in contacting people on my behalf otherwise, considering the nature of my business). I can nod along with all of that.

However, some people I know seem to do everything right and one in particular even has a job where downtime isn’t permitted, and yet still he and a few others manage to get hurt or ill more often than what most of us experience, even with nearly daily exercise and a healthy diet and attentiveness to his health. The man has the luck of Job, as we like to tell him. Not everything is within the individual’s control, as we know. I just feel the need to address that and to acknowledge our human limitations in some respects. Though, yes, most of us have a lot more control than we’re willing to accept and productively act upon. That appears to be a given.

There is a thin line between sanity and insanity, and while anger itself I don’t believe pushes us there, it’s what we do with that anger, how we let it fester and multiply. There does indeed appear to be a point where we can push ourselves beyond functionality. Where we self-handicap, whether we consciously mean to or not. I am trying to come to grips with this notion inside myself these days, as someone who’s struggled with depression (or what I prefer to refer to as melancholy) all my life, yet never experienced it as a way of gaining attention or drawing others near since it actually tends to have the opposite effect. Worries people, stresses ’em out. But then again, telling anyone anything they don’t want to hear seems to do that nowadays. And perhaps it’s always been that way among people.

Yes, if we didn’t experience intense emotions then we wouldn’t face the possibility of them folding back in on us and creating a sabotage. Nothing necessarily wrong with being a sensitive, emotional person, regardless of what some like to claim to the contrary these days; it’s just a question of how we manage it. Not a big fan of labeling much as “mental illness” since there’s such a craze over doing so these days that it seems as if nearly all human phases of development and crises can wind up being diagnosed along those lines. I don’t see life that way, not to the extent that so many others seem to anyway.  It’s a worrisome trend, IMO, and one to not treat lightheartedly or with too much unskeptical deference to those claiming to be “experts.” People like to assume you’re nuts for stating that, and so be it. I personally think people place way too much confidence in the mainstream model of interpreting human interactions and psychodynamics, probably due to its multi-decade history of trying to align itself alongside as well as intertwined with the medical establishment in order to enhance its status so as to grow into the institution it’s become. Opinions of these matters will differ based on what information we’re working with and what biases we hold, naturally.

So it is understood, I am still seeking and pondering and working on these areas in my life and have no advice to offer others. Though the talks of Sadhguru have provided me with some small measure of peace and insight and thoughts I can relate with in plenty of areas over the last several weeks since I came across him online.

Combining talks like this with listening to the audiobooks of Dr. James Hollis in recent times has been providing me a lot to chew on and deeply consider.

“Tony Robbins Meaning of Communications / Utilizing Your Emotions”

“Alain de Botton on Pessimism”

From The School of Life:

Here Alain de Botton rehashes some of what he discussed in another speech I posted up recently, but I appreciate this one as well as quality food for thought and so am posting it up.

Some days I just cannot tolerate the internet…

Found myself checking out AVfM forums again this evening…and I gotta say that while there are some folks on there I really do like to read, there are others who type shit that utterly depresses me. That’s just being honest. And I’m sure they’d probably say I don’t have thick enough skin or whatever else, but I have had to reduce the amount of time I put in to checking out that site because, frankly, being repeatedly fed the message that I am the devil by virtue of my sex—which I was born with and had no control in choosing—just brings a person down.

Same with a lot I read and listen to on youtube. I’m attracted toward gender relations topics, but it’s become such a mind-numbing minefield to try to traverse. Maybe I’m not emotionally healthy enough currently to take in so much animosity thrown back and forth between angry, sexist people online, whether males or females. And maybe I never will be. Because a part of me literally wilts every time I read another comment thread littered with statements about how basically all women are “whores” and all we want is your fucking money and we’re cold, calculating bitches who aren’t about anything and “AWALT.” Fuck that noise.

I’ve made a ton of mistakes throughout my life. Made bad choices. Still make some poor choices. Took up a lifestyle that’s brought me a bunch of heat for years on end, especially when I aim to defend female sexual exploration publicly. Not claiming to a be an exceptional woman or even a particularly “good” one. Not even claiming to be all that smart. But I certainly am human — there’s no question in that. And as a human I have as complex of thought processes as any man I’ve ever met, even though we may fundamentally differ on various levels. I, for one, am not an automaton driven purely by biological impulses, nor am I sociopath driven purely by narcissistic desires while giving no shits over whom I impact. And undoubtedly this is true of plenty of other women out there in the world too. Just as I am well-aware that every man running his mouth isn’t necessarily some prize despite his claims to the contrary.

Life is tough, and compatibility can be hard to find. We’re not all constituted equally, and plenty of people out here appear to have come through a lot and aren’t equipped to handle the turbulence of the times we’re born into. That goes for males and females. Some people play games, even very dangerous games, and some folks don’t give a damn about anyone other than themselves. And, once again, that holds true among both males and females. But the majority out here are probably just trying to make something work, even if they don’t know how. They’re trying to hold onto somebody they love even after it’s become apparent that it’s not going to work out. They’re trying to navigate the dating scene without winding up on the losing end more often than not. And all of this is occurring while we’re battling this race against time and aging and growing jaded. And what do motherfuckers do? They pipe up to heckle women about “hitting the wall” and ridicule us for not having all the answers in advance and making all the perfect choices that they personally think we ought to have.

What do people really want from one another? Just want to demean each other until we finally all lose our minds and snap? Want to push each other so that we’ll reveal our dark sides and animosity? Want to degrade each other until all trust is broken and all good sentiments are washed away? What the fuck do these types of people want?? They want to see somebody else get depressed because that somehow makes them feel better? They want to tear others down from the supposed “pedestals” we’re presumed to be sitting on, so that what? They can feel higher and mightier than someone else? Bigger, better, stronger, faster, smarter? For what?

I do not understand people and probably never will. My sensitivities make interaction with a lot of these folks (referring to “manospherians” in general here) just such a mind-numbing experience. But that’s okay, because I’m some sort of she-devil, huh? All of us females out here, that’s all we are, right? Bitches and whores and skanks and evil and conniving…  Then we hear the feminists referring to males as if they’re all potential rapists and scum and flagrant opportunists. Gotta be looked at as “all or nothing,” right? Can’t be nuanced in how we examine gender dynamics of today, can we? Can’t take individuals as they come anymore, isn’t that right? Just gotta lump ’em all into categories and then bash them and dismiss them. Because somehow that makes sense. Why not destroy the whole world while we’re at it? Why not just tear down everything that was ever sacred and desecrate anything and everything that might be special to somebody else. Because we’re mean motherfuckers who no longer give a damn about other people. As some on YT like to say, we should just get off the planet and quit breathing up all this air that the haters would prefer to keep for themselves.

Man, what’s becoming of us? Can people no longer comprehend that life can be hard and unfair and that just because we want something doesn’t guarantee it’s going to work out? And there are forces at work, such as those within our government and popular media, that operate against our best interests and entice us to follow in suit. We know this, and yet we berate one another incessantly anyway, as if any one of us down here on the ground has enough power to change the System overnight. As if any one of us can or should be held responsible for every bad deed carried out by another who happens to belong to our sex or our race or our class.

Belittle, belittle, belittle. Tear each other down. Hate and spew vitriol and crack obscene jokes and treat others as little more than fodder to entertain ourselves with. Man, we humans have become very harsh and cruel, and yet we wonder why our lives don’t improve. Must be somebody else’s fault, though. Can’t have anything to do with our own individual shortcomings. Just deflect, deflect, deflect and attack, attack, attack. Degrade and disparage and ridicule. That’s all the rage anymore online and, unfortunately, offline increasingly as well.

We’re a mean fucking bunch of hypocrites and charlatans. Yeah, I understand people are in pain and they’re angry, but where does this bullshit end? With sex separatism becoming the new norm? With men and women viewing one another as little more than walking ATMs and animated sex dolls? If it ever comes to that, it will be due to our own doings. It will be because we placed ideologies above humane principles and castigated others just so as to boost our own egos and avoid looking inward at our own damn problems and frailties and poor choices and simple luck of the draw.

I am certainly no exception. Been angry a long time myself. Trying to work on that and sometimes succeed for spells. But I’m finding society growing colder and harsher in terms of how we view one another and the unrealistic expectations we place on one another. Nobody out here is perfect, and I’m not even sure what “normal” can even mean in such a diverse society. But it’s that goddamn conformist push forever trying to persuade us to see life as black or white, with us or against us. Well, then I guess that leads to me being against a lot of you, because I can’t play this game. It’s a useless mind-fuck that eventually will spit people out in a condition worse than when they started, because it’s based on so many lies and generalizations and obfuscations that lead us farther away from truths and valuable insight.

But, naturally, you can’t tell humans anything since we’re hell-bent on learning everything the hard way. Gotta destroy everything before we wake up and recognize what’s of real value. And by that time it’s already too late. Well, have at it, folks. All this meanness is poison for the soul, but you won’t take my word for it. That bitterness can do oneself more harm in the long run than a lot of what spurred us to become bitter in the first place. I know that much and battle with dark emotions of that sort myself. It weighs you down over time, this I have been learning. Gonna drown ourselves if we keep it up, and gonna take undeserving people down with us when we do. And that’s a real shame.

Ya know, it starts out with feeling jilted and wishing to avoid that pain occurring again. But then through our efforts to protect ourselves, we can become the very thing we despised. And then we become the bad guys or the heavy weight to someone else, maybe someone we love. Then we recreate and pay forward the very thing we ourselves were aiming to steer clear of having to deal with. This cycle happens so often that it ought to be well-understood among us humans by now. And yet, it somehow isn’t. As always, we designate the “other” as toxic, nevermind our own growing toxicity.

And then we wonder why there are so many nihilists out wandering around in society…

[Lightly edited for greater clarity 3/10/2015]

Thoughts on rage as part of the growth process


Been continuing to think on some of the rage and frustration I’ve encountered online over the last year, particularly in recent months, among some men and women who term themselves as MRAs and/or MGTOWs or feminists. And I realize I need to step back to my own past in remembering how much rage I once contained, toward both men and women, but most especially toward men since they were who I was in most direct contact with and kept experiencing mistreatment by. No one could have told me not to be angry then, and doing so would’ve just ramped up my aggravation and wound up causing a fight. Because my pain felt (and still I feel was) justified as a reaction to what had come before. I was working through those emotions and it took several years to do so.

During that time I came online and likely spat some vitriol toward mankind in general. There was no aim inside me at that point to be fair and balanced because all I could see was how I’d been done wrong, and then this was amplified when I discovered other women (and in some cases men) who experienced similar forms of mistreatment. My own issues centered around my family (particularly my mother, stepdad and step-side of the family) and then beginning at a rather young age (early teen years) dealing with attempts at sexual misuse of me by much older men (one of the first experiences that messed with my mind and still sticks with me involved a 70+ year old man I’d grown to trust when I was 14). At first I became scared because I didn’t know what to do and my family wouldn’t or couldn’t offer the kind of protection that was needed back then. And then I got angry. And then angrier. And then outright hostile toward the end of my teen years and heading into my 20s. During that time I came to identify myself as a feminist, as I’ve discussed, largely because I needed support and guidance and help like any young person does. But then I didn’t wind up finding much of that there either.

The point here though is that I was in incredible pain, some of which still stays with me. I felt bewildered and was aiming to protect myself from what this world showed itself as having to offer. And everywhere I turned it seemed people were screaming in my face “Well, life’s not fair! Get over it!” Rage doesn’t seem an adequate word to describe where I went inside.

But as time moves on, you aim to manage some of what you’re feeling, and for me this meant trying to accept a more “pessimistic” outlook in terms of recognizing how dangerous men could be in the right circumstances and doing what I could to navigate in this world. My lifestyle during those years probably had a lot to do with me trying to take back power over the situation by me determining how relations would go (so far as I was able) and ensuring I stood to benefit on some level. During that period I spent a lot of time in neighborhood bars in my off-hours and through the use of alcohol and sexuality aimed to, on one hand, numb myself and, on the other, to seek comfort where I could find it. Escapism flavored by distrust and a sense of feeling I belonged nowhere and that ‘wicked’ people were everywhere waiting for opportunities to strike, and it came down to me protecting me because no one else would. I already had virtually no faith in the police or the courts, moved hours away from people I’d known, and had a weak support network at that time.

Strangely enough, through those years and despite experiencing and witnessing additional damaging events (though decreasingly so; luck factored in there as well), the ice began being chiseled away from my heart and I came to see numerous examples of men in need, not on the take, hurt in their own ways, suffering with serious problems on a level most others can’t even fathom (for example, one man relayed to me his story of winding up paralyzed AND being hit with divorce papers while recovering from related injuries in the hospital — a very, very sad ordeal).

Funny thing is the taverns I frequented actually proved a bit rehabilitative in a sense because there I met the old war veterans and people from all walks of life with nowhere better to go. They sought out companionship, someone to talk to, someone to listen, and I came to appreciate sitting with them one-on-one, hearing stories of what it was like working as a Teamster or hearing about a man’s wife who had died of cancer or hearing about how another man’s kids won’t have much of anything to do with him, etc. Individual men with individual stories to share. In other aspects of my lifestyle back then I met men with debilitating health problems as well as those who’d been overlooked as potential dating partners by most of society. Still met my fair share of jerks, but I also gained a lot of respect and empathy for plenty of others I came into contact with.

This led me on to my next phase, after a bit of a setback where I returned to feeling angry once more due to circumstances I don’t wish to get into right now. But this next phase was about opening myself up to others and to realizing that while my own life experiences and views aren’t trivial and do continue to matter, they don’t represent the bigger picture of what all is going on out here in the world. They are one perspective, the closest one I’m privy to, but still not by any means a definitive say on the matter. As I began opening up more and more, I began realizing who my real friends were and who I’d been treating unfairly due to my own hostility and fear of trusting others. Once I stepped beyond feminism and began exploring more about our military and then our economy, my whole outlook shifted to include a great many more considerations than merely focusing in on the harm men and women can do to one another. But it’s not a straight path, it winds and circles back around.

This path also led/leads me to looking more closely at events where I had contributed to the problem or where I had outright harmed others. Hindsight isn’t 20/20, but reflection and introspection of this nature is invaluable. Also it has helped to remember people from way back and stories they shared and my past observations on how they came up and what they looked to be up against, etc.

I still have a long way to go (as if there’s ever a finish line). While it is very trying for me to sit by and let others verbally attack me and paint me as some princess who knows nothing about this life—that always boils up my indignation—I’m realizing how these folks are on their own journeys, which hopefully they actively continue on, seeing as how remaining mired in the muck of bad memories and powerlessness is no way for anyone to have to live (as I try to remind myself, impossible as it is to forget the past). Maybe I’ve been a bit harsh and dismissive categorically because I don’t know how else to respond. In person it is easier because we can size one another up and get a better sense of whether we’re being honest and forthright. Because not all are — some are charlatans who will prey on others’ sympathy so as to position themselves to take advantage of the situation, this I have learned. And some are so angry that they turn cruel to such an extent that they become outright toxic. We do still have to protect ourselves despite wanting to be open to the concerns and stories of others. We have to be realistic, taking in all that we’ve learned thus far, while also trying to shelve that enough to where we aren’t too closed off to people. This is a struggle, and it won’t be easy for anybody out here.

The next question becomes where to go from here. I don’t know. But I’m trying to keep walking on while pondering and letting a lot of information in to swirl around and meld with the rest. I’m aiming to be more careful with my judgments, though there is a time and a place indeed to judge, particularly when it comes to scrutinizing ideas.

Perhaps part of the problem becomes trying to fuse personal healing with political activism, because we’re prone to behave as reactionaries with very narrow focuses when we feel like a ball of pain. It nearly can’t be helped at those times in our lives, but in doing so, we can unfairly heap even more wrongs onto the pile and make enemies out of potential friends and allies. The tragedy in that isn’t just about alienating potential friends and allies but also what we wind up doing to our own selves, we who need help, we who wish to be heard, we who crave validation and understanding. We wind up isolated, or worse, in an echo chamber with other extremely angry individuals who see no way out.

Life and living are very tricky in this way. There are no easy answers to this dilemma, so I am simply acknowledging this appears to be where we stand today.