“I’m not afraid of dying. Sometimes I’m more afraid of living.”
I am reading a book called “In The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts” by Gabor Maté. The quote above is from one of his clients. It makes my mind race with words: Addiction. Suicide. Depression. Self-harm. We all suffer. Perhaps some just hide it better then others.
I read a line by Dr.Maté “… people’s brain physiology doesn’t develop separately from their life events and their emotions.” My mind races again: Abuse. Rape. Neglect. Hunger. Cold. Abandonment.
We are born so fragile, yet programmed to survive. As babies we are 100% exposed and plunged into a world completely out of our control. Whatever our parents choose for us, becomes our reality. Fear. Anxiety. Darkness. Joy. Elation. Peace. Worthlessness. Hopelessness. Life or Death.
That quote, by Doctor Maté’s client haunts me at a level that resonates much too real for me. Not real in the sense that I want to die, but real in the sense that people do choose death.
I have had two people close to me die by suicide. I have witnessed many struggle with depression, bi-polar, self-harm and a deep sense of worthlessness. Drug addiction and alcoholism circle me to this day. Although I have avoided harmful addictions in my life, the wrath it carries with others is damaging enough.
I have had to learn to stay grounded in the chaos of other’s demons. I have had to let go of my own suffering in order to create stability for my son. I have learned the hardest lesson of my life: love does not heal anyone, if they are unwilling to love themselves or receive it from others.
I have learned that although I may have avoided personal addiction, my personality swung in the opposite direction. I became a slave to ‘saving’ others. A pointless cause I now know. I saved no one. Maybe myself, from that absurd vision I once held.
The truth to me now is this: We all have a path to walk. We invite people along, and some stay and some go. Some try to trip us on our paths, or lead us off of them. Sometimes we fall, sometimes we stray, and sometimes we strive ahead in bounds. Each path is what it is. No judgement of self or others is necessary.
And we have to make choices, often very hard choices. Sometimes we choose things that at the time don’t even seem like a choice, like our lives are out of our control and we become impulsive to our moods or over-reactive to our traumas. But at some point in our lives, we have windows of opportunity where clarity shines through, and we can make choices from a stronger place within us, and create the change we need to. Not easy. But not impossible either.
“… no human being is ever beyond redemption. The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists. How to support that possibility in others and ourselves is the ultimate question.”
I read this book, and am drawn back to the yoga philosophies again and again. I reflect and think how lucky I am that I found my peace. That I was disciplined enough to teach myself the art of yoga. That my mind and heart was open enough to receive the wisdom of the sutras.
One day I hope those living with their demons will find their peace and strength. No one can exorcise those demons but them. So strongly I believe, there is peace within each of us. We just need to be willing to peel back the layers of darkness to let the light shine through. To recognize that same light shines in all of us. We need to be willing to see the love within us, we need to be willing to receive that same love from others.
No human being is worthless.