Personally, this blog is a way of responding to the question what is a life worth living? I became a psychologist five years ago, and over that time, my focus has been on my professional career. Everything else in my life was put on cruise control and it was comfortable to not think about my life and problems when I spent so much time thinking about others. Over the years, I put a lot on the backburner: my health, my relationship, my passions, and my spiritual practice. Work was challenging, rewarding, and it had a sustaining effect. Needless to say, I didn’t notice the check engine sign of my life blinking constantly and just kept driving along. Without going into details, there was a breaking point, and although painful, it came with the realization that I had nothing to lose. It was the only thing that was clear and I knew that I couldn’t really go back to how things were. I had changed. I didn’t really know what I had to do, I just knew how to do it, get out of my comfort zone and into life. Another way of saying it would be that I realized to never turn my back too long on what I love.
Professionally, this blog is about how people choose life-affirming actions even in front of incredible adversity. My clients have always been a source of challenge and inspiration. I spend a lot of time working with people who have debilitating chronic pain. They often come see me, depressed, anxious, helpless, and powerless. Step by step, with courage and determination, they learn about their condition and develop skills to get back up on their feet. What I find inspiring is the exact moment when change occurs. The first one happens when they realize that they have more control over their condition than they believed. Often, when therapy is successful, they will tell me that it was all worth it, and they wouldn’t change a thing about what happened to them because of what they learned in the process. It is often bitter sweet because it is about living with pain, grieving what you once had while at the same time connecting with what you need and value.
Socially, this blog is about finding a new way to digesting the promises of the free world and its consequences on our health and our environment. How can we have a sustainable society when it is run by boards of men whose sole purpose is making short-term profit and whose greed control more money than all the governments in the world? The system keeps churning because it continues to make profit, but everyone knows, deep down, that one day, it will crack. And the cracks are already showing. In 2001, the World Health Organization estimated that in 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability. According to a recent report by the Global Burden of Disease Study, we’re already there and have been for four years. We can speak of depression, but the same can be said about the rise of anxiety disorders. More and more people are suffering from depression and anxiety than ever before, and all of this at a younger age.
All in all, this blog is fueled by a desire to articulate a new way of being in this world. It is not enough to point the finger at others for the causes of our misfortune. We are not fully responsible for our lives but we are responsible for our choices. How do we know when we have lost our way? How do we get back on track? As I write these words, I hear Zen Master Mumon’s warning said with a stern urgency: “Now tell me, what will you do? You must make the utmost effort to come to awakening in this life, lest you have eternal regret”.