Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I see me in this picture. I haven't really changed in this respect, all my life. If you had the chance to view pictures of me at that age, you would see the resemblance too. I have always wanted a way out but also not to lose my way back. I'm pretty good at it.

"Seeing our moment-to-moment automatic conditioned reactions is crucial. Without that we will just continue the mess we are creating in our world, in our loveless relationships. Without clarity, the self-pitying or self-aggrandizing soliloquy takes up all the space; then there is just this little stage for the actor, the victim, the hero, the star. If that isn't seen, self-pitying and self-promoting proceeds and makes oneself and others miserable."
-Toni Packer

"Whenever we find fault with others, whether through anger, contemptuous certainty, self-righteousness, or gossip, it is often based in fear. We may not be aware of our fears, but when we look deeply, we may discover the fear of rejection, loss of control, of unworthiness, or the fear of disconnection. But refraining alone is not enough-by itself it is just behavior modification-and it is neither healing nor transformative. Only through uncovering and consciously entering into the deep hole inside, welcoming the fear with curiosity and compassion, can we ultimately reconnect with the basic wholeness of our true nature."
-Ezra Bayda

"Gratitude, the simple and profound feeling of being thankful, is the foundation of all generosity. I am generous when I believe that right now, right here, in this form and this place, I am myself being given what I need. Generosity requires that we relinquish something, and this is impossible if we are not glad for what we have. Otherwise the giving hand closes into a fist and won't let go."
-Sallie Jiko Tisdale

Now my turn:
Cognitive depression (not chemically forced and based) arises when a thread of anger is married to the meaninglessness of things. It is difficult to break depression because the meaninglessness is actually undeniable in a certain way and in certain circumstances also permits positive responses, based in the freedom from constraints that follows. Thus the depressed person battles with a partial truth which justifies the depression. Depression is embedded in a dark fear that one lacks sufficient power to change things and that nothing will ever change because that is so. In other words, depression arises when one feels terribly alone, fearful and lacking, realizing that nothing means anything and one is angry at the only person present, which is oneself.

The key to unravelling a depression may be to find that meaning is possible and thus to find an answering thread of hope for change. It is necessary to find a source of power. Hope may provide it, or else provide a way to crack the depression open enough to allow power from elsewhere to take a useful and visible shape and to stream in.

When I was overseas, in 1967-1969, the whole time, I was prescribed a low dose of Triavil, a drug used to treat anxiety and depression. This was in the aftermath of a four month stay in a facility called Alum Rock Hospital that treated mental conditions. I was in this facility for a mental disability brought about by the high fever I suffered during a meningitis I contracted in military basic training in 1964. I nearly died of this disease and it took a full month and a half to recover and be released from medical supervision. I was considered depressed in 1967although the outward expression of my depression was more active and angry than the more common kinds of symptoms depressions display. It was connected to brain damage.

I still have the journals I wrote during that period. I don't remember ever feeling depressed. I had begun using marijuana and LSD before I went into Alum Rock Hospital and it was in the intense use of these drugs that I was intervened on while living on the street, starving. I was arguably anorexic but more certainly broke and homeless. It is interesting how a guy can be broke and homeless and still find all the dope he needs, maybe more than that. I continued using marijuana (ganja) and hashish (charras) during my stay overseas. However, as I read the journals today, they read depressed. My favorite saying to this day, f*ck the world. I don't feel depressed now either. I find it remarkable that there is such a disconnect between outward signs and inner states. That same disconnect arises in alcoholism and addictions when people who are alcoholics or addicts insist that they are not afflicted with those conditions.


It is really hard
to take this unending dinge,
this life, all the drudge
of it fumbling for
purpose without the success
that comes with finding,
looking for the key
as if there was light to shine,
as if it mattered.

July 17, 2009 11:49 AM


  1. Completely deflated. Each sentence more lifeless than the one before.

    I had brief periods of sadness, I think, in my life, with one grander period of depression. It was a calm depression. I simply wanted to cease. I didn't want to actively stop living, I just wanted to disappear. More truthfully, I wanted to get on a train and never get off, feel that motion forever, and not ever really formulate a whole thought again, just groan on as energy. There was a recklessness then. A real freedom. I really didn't care if I lived or died. I just did - one event and then the next. It was during one of these events, a summer home drinking, that I met my (ex)husband. He probably saved my life, in a way. I was going to drink, be wild, and then take off to Korea. Didn't care if I ever came home after that. Was just getting on a train...

    I owe him a great deal.

    You have lived lives, Christopher. I wonder how you think back on it all? Do you see it as tragic? Lost times? Or simply a journey that has taught you so much? I know there are great sadnesses. I'm just pretty sure that there must be a reason for them. (Great beauties, too, I imagine.)


  2. Erin, one thing is sure. There is grief and there is depression. They are close and can be connected but they are not the same.

    At least one difference is the depth at which the anger appears in depression and often its invisibility because it is so deep that it never surfaces. Anger in this sense starts depression.

    Grief connects up to a real loss but depression can be free of any current situation and still be highly active. That is another distinguishing feature. Depression can go on and on but grief will quiet itself.

    And of course grief is essential.

  3. Gratitude, the simple and profound feeling of being thankful, is the foundation of all generosity

    Does it make me an optimist, because this was the phrase that resonated most with me? LOL :)

  4. It is a powerful truth indeed. Life has not actually depressed me, not like what I have seen in others, but I am also wary. I love generosity, and try for it myself in many arenas, however I am too wary to sit easily in gratitude, always alert for what comes next.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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