Sunday, October 25, 2009

The subtle power of "the" and how I learned to love the "this"

It's been quite a while since my last post, all apologies. This year has been quite a whirlwind of hurricane energy and yet the eerie stillness at the eye of such phenomena. Many of my patients have come in with heightened anxiety during this onslaught of media manipulated headlines that use the word "the" recession instead of "this" recession. This single word has caused a lot of anxiety, with a subtle but powerful innuendo that this is the impending doom we've all been bracing for. This implies a fatality to the economic situation; a permanence that can only be met with resignation or paralyzing fear. But what happens when we turn the "the" into "this" - doesn't that feel better? When we say this recession, or this downturn, we give credence to the impermanence of the situation- we allow for the memory that we have survived many recessions already and that there may of course be more in the future, but most importantly there is flux! When we buy into the concept of "doom" we sell off our greatest assets- the potency of the now, and thus the ability to adapt to any and all changes that we meet in each moment. Fear robs us of perspective, the ability to step outside the minutiae of momentary struggles and seek the view of our greater path and thus the courage to take the next step- step by step. When I look at our present economic and political climate in respect to the grave issues of climate change and the value of a healthy balance within our bodies, our relationships and our global community, I notice the enormous potential of "this" crisis to bring about a more balanced and fluid pattern. After all how long can gross national product, material expansion and exploitation and endless pursuit of distraction be maintained? The real sorrow that has come from this change, however abrupt it is for some and subtle for others, is that there has been a rigidity in our belief that increase and more and bigger is "the" American way. I think, the 1950's defined the pursuit of "more" as "the" American way. And, now that our retirement savings have been eaten away by market tumult and our health insurance premiums eat away at our salaries- we've got to take the chance to make "this" situation into a more stable, balanced alternative. Alas, the "the" of "the" American way takes some disentangling. And, of course, there'll be stiffness as we are forced into stretching muscles that have been moving further into atrophy- and for those who've gone into atrophy, well there may be some actual gangrene and a painful loss of those parts that have been over-extended into the abyss of crushing debt.
Yet, in this light, I hope you can see that "this" present climate is actually a great opportunity to become limber and passionate about life in the standards of now- for this is our opportunity to renew the spirit of creativity, brotherhood and mining the depths of inner resources for our own good and the good of all. Not keeping up with the Jones's of the 1950's standard of American life. Our "more!"centered society has focused on material gains and the importance of "busy-ness" to the deficit of authentic life gains. We may have more conveniences, yet, we fill our time with more reasons to be in a hurry. At this rift in the ideology of "more" and our inability to sustain it, there is a real struggle; do we choose between focusing on the constricting survival mode of self-preservation or the expanding natural buoyancy of the mystery of life? This indeed,is the time to chose: is your priority your life style or your most cherished reasons for living? Regardless of your creed, at least ask yourself if your most cherished reasons circle around community and family- brotherhood, instead of hierarchy, or do they circle around a bottom line number? "This" is present time and it is "the" long awaited time to decide how to become responsive, as in rejoining our inherent flexibility, the dynamism of life as we join the flow of life wholeheartedly, learning new skills around flexibility. The alternative is tightening our grip around old notions, which are vanishing quickly as the global economies of old are being swept along in a despairing sea of reactivity. Remember, the choice is up to each and every one of us: may you choose to live the path of your full potential, and perhaps you'll be curious to ponder the question: If there is nothing independent of the all and there is nothing independent of the one: why is interdependence is as real as impermanence?