Tag Archives: healing

Quote of the day – On social support and healing

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“(…) safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives. (…) Social support is the most powerful protection against becoming overwhelmed by stress and trauma.

Social support is not the same as merely being in the presence of others. The critical issue is reciprocity: being truly heard and seen by the people around us, feeling that we are held in someone else’s mind and heart. For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety. No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love (…).

Isolating oneself into a narrowly defined victim group promotes a view of others as irrelevant at best and dangerous at worst, which eventually only leads to further alienation. Gangs, extremist political parties, and religious cults may provide solace, but they rarely foster the mental flexibility needed to be fully open to what life has to offer and as such cannot liberate their members from their traumas. Well-functioning people are able to accept individual differences and acknowledge the humanity of others.

Bessel van der Kolk – The Body Keeps The Score – Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma (Penguin Books, 2015)

Do we suffer from too little reciprocity? From too much selfishness? Is the hyper-individualistic lifestyle of autonomy at all cost, isolation, and “every man for himself” making us miserable and sick?

How many of us feel truly seen, heard and understood? How many feel forsaken? Trapped between anger and absence? How many of us self-medicate (or are medicated!) just to cover basic human needs like safety, forgiveness, acceptance and connection?

How many live a life without rapture, life as rupture, as opposed to the healing powers of love, kindness, joint experiences, of breathing, movement and touch… What does it take to feel agency, to overcome duress?

This book has been a revelation and I cannot recommend it warmly enough. You’ll understand your body and brain like never before.

Falling in Love

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In the dead of night –

In that longest of nights

he came to me,

all aglow.

An illumination of love.

I was ready to let go,

having run out of things to hold on to.

“The world has done violence to your spirit”,

he spoke through my sleeplessness,

and his voice was husky.

“But fear not. I have defeated the world.”

I lay with him on the threshold and –

breath by long, quiet breath –

I bore him children

of peace.

The colors of healing

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Healing is a feline

treading stealthily around the concrete monoliths

of the neighborhood –

slow and lazy

and clandestine.

A striped tow of light,

sheaves of color falling from the trees,

pigment dripping

from the November

sky

and gathering in little pools

of gold

in your heart

to glitter in the dark

of winter.

The Racket

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Once in a blue moon,

beauty settles into my soul

like a swallow in its nest:

gracious and quiet and fertile.

Mere seconds later,

hordes and hordes of selfish people

with steel-toothed hounds and motorized wheels

come rushing by,

hurling themselves at the air, at the landscape, at other people’s souls,

a merciless stampede

raising the dust;

an unleashed army of carnal restlessness, a cacophony of hubris and outrage,

charging headlong, chasing the next empty minute, the next self-righteous cause,

cutting open words they don’t understand

and letting them bleed to death.

In their tow, the bee is sucked out of its flower,

the sweetness of honey is said to become unpalatable

and cross-pollination impossible.

I let them pass,

envy not their rapid advancement,

their heedless lack of regrets.

In God’s love, I am nourished.

Copyright 2020. A. Sepi. All rights reserved.

Knock-knock! Who’s there? Depression season!

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They’re here. The long, cold, damp winter months with their smothering darkness. So bring out those UV and infrared lamps and steer clear of depression.

By the way, what is the deal with this depression epidemic nowadays? Is it the sensory deprivation of our virtual environment, the lack of true friends, the materialism, the stress, too little love, too little physical work, not enough time spent outdoors? Do we even invest our happiness cleverly? Do we depend too much on convenience, perhaps? Do we allow ourselves to be possessed and driven by finite things?

To be honest, we probably shouldn’t complain. We are privileged. So what if the things we want don’t just fall in our laps? We can’t build character by theorizing cozily in front of the TV, there has got to be some level of effort involved in making our lives more meaningful. Hard work, family, community involvement – these should be catalysts. If they’re in the right balance, they can energize us instead of exhausting us.

So why is depression threatening to become the plague of the century in the postmodern world? Do we have it too easy? Do we have too much time to get bored? Have we seen it all? Is there nothing out there that can inspire us, and enthrall us, and give us hope on a profound level? Or have our societies and expectations become too complex, too competitive, too tough to navigate? Why do so many people feel helpless, abandoned, and overwhelmed by scary forces way beyond their ability to cope? What is the missing ingredient? Could it be…. (oh, no! – gasp of horror – we’re enlightened people!)… could it be God???

I can’t help but remember the homesick asylum-seeker from northern Iraq. “We lacked nothing over there; we had everything we needed. I only left to save my children from the bombs.”  Then he’d take out a picture and show us his great fortune: a mud house and two goats. That was enough to him. That was his notion of “enough“. What was he thinking? What was his angle? He didn’t even complain about the church service being too long (he was an Orthodox christian). In their village, it lasted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In our congregation, we come in at 10:30 and get itchy feet at noon…

The answer has to be more truth, more spirituality.  An ephemeral and relativized existence, completely “rooted” in the quicksands of the here and now, and as a grand finale our irreversible transformation into food for worms – that doesn’t offer a very cheery perspective, does it? Besides, if you think you are the center of the Universe, that can only lead to depression. Because you will assign the same degree of importance to your problems, too. And that in turn will make them seem cataclysmic. The laws of physics tell us that objects close by appear larger, and objects farther away appear smaller. Sometimes, the farther away we are from God, the more it seems like He has no place in the world, that He’s negligible. Yeah, right… about as negligible as the Sun – from where we stand, that’s also just a “small” ball of fire in the sky, and yet it inexorably lights and warms up our lives. And just because it’s hidden behind some clouds, you don’t have to give up trusting that it exists. Or that it makes life possible.

So forget your worries.  The sun will shine again. (Even though, in some parts of Germany, that is hard to believe 🙂 ).

Everything is taken care of on a higher level.