Tonight I’m remembering the year I worked as a legal secretary for a divorce attorney. His income was seasonal. Before the Christmas, business was slack. He shrugged it of philosophically. He knew he’d make up the difference and then some after New Year’s.
Then, people who’d gone into the holiday season with unrealistic expectations crashed with opposite and equal disappointment. After all the anticipation, a let down was sure to follow. That’s when they decided to call it quits, in droves.
Sometimes, calling it quits takes an even more drastic form. This is when Rethinking Survival becomes a must. Here are relevant sections.
RETHINKING SURVIVAL – Excerpts
Stability in the Midst of Change
Working with the Positive Paradigm of Change gives the thoughtful person a realistic perspective on what changes and what doesn’t, of what to depend on and what not. The eternal center, deeper than change, is impervious to time. It’s changeless.
In stark contrast, on the surface, natural elements are continuously combining, separating and recombining. Matter is continuously composing and decomposing. Human organizations are inherently unstable.
Human relationships are continuously evolving. Only the power of higher love and disciplined long-term commitments override the natural process of death and decay.
For those securely established at the hub, the center holds eternal. With a correct and complete model of change, survivors are able to the maintain inner stability necessary to cope with unstable circumstances. But when people forget, they get stuck on the surface and then complain that “the center does not hold.”
Those attuned to the center don’t identify with surface changes. They know better than to take them personally. They don’t kill themselves when the stock market crashes. They adjust. They don’t kill others to revenge themselves on outrageous fortune. For the sake of their own sanity, they simply forgive and remain open to new opportunities.
From a limited human perspective, experience sometimes seems just, the logical consequence of past behavior. Other times, life seems to make no sense whatsoever. Most unjust. But that’s life as we know it on Planet Earth. “Shit happens.”
TO BE OR NOT TO BE: Beliefs and Information Make the Difference
“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
The specter of suicidal thoughts haunted my up-bringing. It’s taken me over fifty years to track this demon to its lair and tame it. In retrospect, in simplest terms, I was raised in a family, reinforced by a culture, which disconfirmed my very existence.
A girl who in no way matched demeaning stereotypes — who had no desire to either cynically exploit or fearfully cave into them — was simply a non-being. She could not and should not exist. The tacit message: “Make yourself gone.”
At first I coped with less catastrophic compliance — denial. I reasoned like this: “Women are stupid, fickle and helpless. If I’m not stupid, fickle and helpless, then I’m not a woman.” I disowned the labels associated with gender and escaped into music and books.
Only later, a yogic energy understanding of the difference between feminine essence and cultural molds allowed me to rescue the baby from the bath water, reestablish an identity in harmony with the facts.
Shakespeare studies as well as reading and re-reading Faulkner’s masterpiece, The Sound and the Fury, helped clarify my dilemma.
So did Ph.D. dissertation research that explained the scarcity of women in school administration. It brought to my awareness the programmed stereotypes, antithetical to competent behavior, that I had to root out of my unconscious mind.
In Europe, I clicked with an “A-ha!” moment when a boyfriend put me down with the cliché, “Es gibt nicht so was,” which translates roughly as, “You’re impossible.” Literally, the words mean, “There is no such thing,” or “You don’t exist.” My angry answer was immediate. “Hier bin ich!” I pointed to myself with the literal retort, “Here I am!”
Surely no one intended by such mindless language to harm me, or Marilyn Maraffe either. Yet she is still dead and the lives of those affected by her suicide changed forever. This gifted young cellist, belittled and pushed to the sidelines by condescending males who knew not what they did, dropped out of Oberlin’s Music Conservatory.
She fell into depression, closed herself in her garage and turned on the ignition of her black VW Bug. She left a copy of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on the passenger seat beside her, opened to the death scene.
She didn’t intend to die. It was cry for help. But crying wolf can backfire.
By an unfortunate quirk of fate, the neighbor who arrived home from work punctually at the same time every night, who should have opened garage doors in time to rescue her, had an errand to run that night. He didn’t find her in time.
. . . In an inhospitable world that continues to disconfirm my true identity, pushes to wipe me off the map, cram me into the narrow molds of other people’s convenience, I practice the positive phoenix response that’s open to everyone, everywhere. When outrageous misfortune impels to suicide, I die to the old, but only to continuously recreate myself new and better.
“Hier bin ich!” I am here still yet!
Einstein’s Energy Variable
. . . Those denied access to material and social resources are often forced inside. Of necessity, turning inward, they depend for survival on strengths drawn from the middle and center of the wheel. At times, deprivation and hardships yield the opposite and equal blessings of in-sight and emotional fortitude.
At other times, however, excessive investment at the middle level results in delusions, latent with the potential for erupting into violence. In any case, making a virtue of necessity by rejecting the material world prevents completion of the pattern. It can’t correctly be equated with spirituality.
Societies which enforce an exclusively materialistic worldview that denies the experience of everything not tangible and measurable place severe hardship on those whose inner lives are especially active. Denying high energy people’s drive and failing to provide practical methods for articulating and harnessing inner energies creatively can literally drive people crazy, to suicide, or at best, underground.
Many “sensitives” survive by channeling socially banned, unacceptable awareness into the arts: music and literature, including romance, murder mysteries and science fiction.
Humor provides another outlet for releasing the pent-up emotional tensions which cause illness. The Positive Paradigm gives credence to the Norman Cousin’s belief that “laughter is the best medicine.”It validates the healing wisdom of Patch Adams, the paradigm-breaking physician who’s earned international fame for clowning with patients.
The Danger: Programmed assumptions too often drive our decisions, actions and ultimately, survival options. Even with the best of intentions, misinformed people operating on conflicting beliefs destroy themselves and others.
Sometimes the process is quick. Murder. Suicide. Usually it’s slower — atrophy and self-sabotage.
This is why it’s imperative to recognize and root out the assumptions based on dysfunctional paradigms that tie us in knots. They tear us apart. They drive us crazy.
To survive intact, we must cleave to the essence of the perennial philosophy. The Positive Paradigm of Change is a snapshot of the essential truth which the world’s great religions share in common. It offers us a way out of global madness. It gives us a means for restoring sanity to our world outlook.
Alien invaders delight in cheating. They stack the deck, gumming up the works with false information driven by dysfunctional paradigms.
If you accept the game and its rules as alien agents define them and proceed to rebel against uncivil authorities, mindlessly hating and resisting, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)
. . . The only chance of winning — ultimately, surviving — is to demand a new, clean, unmarked deck — one with all the cards. In other words, make a fresh start based on an accurate, complete Positive Paradigm.
LET THE NEW YEAR BE THE TIME OF YOUR START FRESH.
All best! Pat West