Recently I have been surrounded, by what I consider, open doors to see more clearly. One of the books I am reading is “Let Your Life Speak” by Parker J Palmer. Here are some of his insights on depression, which he suffers from and calls his deepest wound:
“Depression is the ultimate state of disconnection, not just between people but between one’s own mind and one’s feelings.” He goes on to say his therapist suggested that “instead of looking at depression as an enemy trying to crush you, do you think you could see it as a friend, pressing you to the ground on which it is safe to stand?” He began to understand he was living an ungrounded life. He was trained as an intellectual, to think and live largely in his head. He has embraced a Christian faith devoted less to the experience of God than to abstractions about God, confused as how that has happened with a commitment to “The Word becomes flesh”. He says he had an inflated ego that led him to think more of himself than was warranted, in order to mask a fear that he was less than he should’ve been. And then a distorted ethic that led him to live by images of who he ought to be, and what he ought to do, than by insight into what was true and life-giving. The “oughts” had been a driving force in his life. When he couldn’t live up to the “ought’s”, he saw himself as a weak and faithless person.
He discovered it was safe to stand on his own truth, his own nature, to live within his own limits and gifts, and see darkness and light. He believes the discovery of his “true self” released him from his depression. Not ego self, that wanted to inflate/deflate. Not intellectual self, hovering above the mess of life in clear and ungrounded ideas/thoughts. Not the ethical self that wants to live by some abstract moral code. ” It is the self planted in us by God, who made us in His own image – the self that wants nothing more, or less, than for us to be what we were created to be.”
It is so convicting to me, that this ranch, the horses, and the peace, all truly can help us find our true selves. This author describes how freeing it is to be empowered by connecting to yourself, in order to connect with others. I have watched friends and clients deeply connect to their true self… often freeing themselves from painful feelings, anxiety and depression.